In 1964, Dodge first began production of marginal performance variants of its second-generation Dart economy car, when powered by a 273 CID / 180 HP V8 into the Dart GT. In 1965, a 235 horsepower GT followed, remaining the top engine through the Dart's 1967 restyling. In 1966, the high-performance GTS model appeared. It was set off from other Darts with a power bulge hood and GTS identification on the hood, front fenders and trunk. Bumblebee stripes were optional. The GTS was available as a two-door hardtop or convertible. Since the GTS was the top of the line Dart it came with an upgraded interior trim and standard bucket seats standard on the hardtop and an option with the convertible. The standard engine was the 340 ci small block V-8 with the three speed Torque Flight automatic transmission. The Dodge Dart GSS was a 440-ci powered Dart. Only a small number were built by Mr. Norms Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago, Illinois.
Dodge really turned things up in 1968, when they introduced the 340 CID and 383 CID versions of the new GTS built to compete with Chevrolet's SS machines.
In February of 1968, Chrysler announced the availability of the purpose-built factory drag-racing version of its A-body platform Plymouth 'Cuda and Dodge Dart powered by the 426/425 HP Race HEMI engine.
1969 also witnessed the introduction of the famous Six-Pac option on the 340 and 440 CID V-8s. Three Holley two barrel carburetors mounted on a Edlebrock aluminum intake manifold provide a 15 hp boost in power.
The 1969 Dart GTS had the same body style as the previous year but was given a new grill and headlight and taillight panel. The hood had side facing simulated scoops which indicated engine size. The GTS's bumblebee stripe was changed to a different single band design. Engine choices expanded with the availability of the 357 horsepower 440 CID V8 during the latter part of the model year. This engine was indicated by the engine code M as the fifth symbol in the serial number.
The 1969 Dodge Dart was availability as a base 4-door sedan, 2-door Swinger coupe, Swinger hardtop coupe, Custom Sedan and Custom Hardtop coupe, and the GT and GTS trim levels. Standard equipment on the base level included mandatory safety equipment, defroster, heater, and a six-cylinder engine.
The Swinger trim level was an economy sports performance two-door hardtop that had a base price of $2,840. They could be fitted with the standard six to 383 Magnum V8 engines. For those seeking more, a special package called the Swinger 340 was available which came with the 340 CID V8, Firm Ride shocks, Rallye suspension, chrome dual exhaust outlets, Bumblebee stripes, 'Power Bulge' hood, larger tires, carpeting, and a four-speed manual transmission. Buyers could switch the manual gearbox for a TorqueFlite automatic.
The Dart Custom trim level was an intermediate offering that came with all the basic Dart standard features and added a cigarette lighter, a three-spoke steering wheel, bodyside chrome strip, and carpeting. Bodystyles included a sedan and a hardtop coupe with pricing beginning at $2,550 for the sedan. The hardtop had vinyl bench seats while the sedan featured cloth and vinyl seats.
The top trip level continued to be the Dart GT model. Both the GT and GTS were available as a hardtop coupe or a convertible. The GT had blacked-out grilles with center horizontal divider bar and Dart GT insignia. GTS trim levels had all the features found on the GT plus a 340-CID V8 engine backed by a TorqueFlite automatic transmission. They also had E70-14 Red line tires, a three-spoke steering wheel, carpeting, engine dress-up kit, and dual exhaust. They had the Bumblebee stripe across the trunk lid and down the sides of the body.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016