Revell 1/25 1968 Dodge Dart Hemi
|Scott Van Aken
|Reissue with new sprues.
The Dodge Dart is an automobile built by the Dodge division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1960-1976 in North America, with production extended to later years in various other markets. The Dart was introduced as a lower-priced, shorter wheelbase, full-size Dodge in 1960 and 1961, became a mid-size car for 1962, and finally was a compact from 1963-1976. Chrysler had previously applied the "Dart" name to a Ghia-built show car in 1956.
The project planners proposed the name Dart, only to have executives demand an expensive research program which produced the name Zipp. This was promptly rejected in favor of Dart. The name found favor as the market had been recently introduced to a new military aircraft called the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, commonly known as the "Delta Dart", in a marketing attempt to appeal to the excitement surrounding the Space Race during the early 1960s.
The Dart and its sister model — the Plymouth Valiant — were significantly redesigned for the 1967 model year. In addition to new styling, the cars received revised steering systems, wider front track (and wider spaced rails) and redesigned K-members capable of accepting physically larger engines. The Dart would keep this basic form, with a facelift consisting of revised front and rear end styling and interior trim, until the end of A-body production in 1976 (U.S./Canada/Mexico) and 1981 (South America). Over the course of U.S. production, the Dart/Valiant line would go from two distinct models based on the same platform, to parallel badge-engineered models.
The restyled Dart for 1967 featured a rear window with compound inverse curves. This created a unique appearance at the rear of the greenhouse, but tended to collect snow and created thick C-pillars that looked formal but created blindspots for drivers. Curved side glass was used for the first time on a Chrysler compact. Up front, there was a new dual-plane front end contour: the center section of the grille, bumper and leading edge of the hood were recessed from the front plane of the car. The single headlamps were placed forward of the recessed center section, defining the front plane. Park/turn lamps were set into the grille, in the corners formed by the transition area between the recessed and forward sections. This same front end treatment, with minor cosmetic changes to the grille and the park/turn lamps relocated to the front bumper, was also used by Chrysler Australia for their 1967 VE-model Valiant.
With the new design, changes were made to the Dart line-up, beginning with the elimination of its station wagons and the base model's "170" designation. The only body styles were the 2- and 4-door sedans, the hardtop, and the convertible. The base 170 model was now badged simply as Dart. The 270 and GT versions carried on unchanged for the most part. In late 1967, the GTS model debuted but was built in limited quantities due to its lateness in the model year; the 1968 GTS would be, arguably, improved by fitting the new high-output 340 cu in (5.6 L) V8 engine as standard equipment.
The 2-door sedan was dropped at the end of 1968 and replaced with the Swinger 2-door hardtop for 1969. Also added was the Swinger 340.
The 170 cu in (2.8 L) Slant-6 engine remained standard equipment, though its power rating rose from 101 bhp (75 kW) to 115 bhp (86 kW) for 1967, owing to the installation of the 225 engine's larger carburetor and the revised camshaft the bigger engine had received in 1965. For North American domestic-market vehicles, the base 170 engine was replaced for 1970 with a stronger new 198 cu in (3.2 L) version of the slant-6. This new base engine was also less costly to make, for unlike the previous 170 engine, the 198 used the same block as the 225. The smaller displacement was achieved with a new crankshaft (3.64 in (92 mm) stroke vs. the 4.125 in (104.8 mm) stroke of the 225 crank) and connecting rods (7.006 in (178.0 mm) long vs. the 6.67 in rods in the 225). Nevertheless, the 225 remained a very popular and inexpensive upgrade option. The 2-barrel 273 cu in (4.5 L) small-block V8 was replaced on the option list in 1968 by a 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2-barrel engine. The 318 was rated at 230 bhp (170 kW) versus the 2-barrel carbureted 273's 180 bhp (130 kW). at the same time the 4-barrel carbureted 273 235 bhp (175 kW) was replaced on the options list by the 275 bhp (205 kW) 4-barrel carbureted 340 cu in (5.6 L) available only in the hottest Dart, the performance-oriented GTS model. The Dart GTS came standard with the 340 cu in (5.6 L) V8. A 300 hp (220 kW) 383 cu in (6.3 L) big-block was optional. The light weight and high power ratio of the 340-equipped cars, together with the excellent handling for which the Dart had become renowned, made them a favorite of drag racers. The big-block Darts were difficult to steer and stop, due to the very heavy engines and unavailability of power brakes or steering—the large engine left no room for a brake booster or power steering equipment. So the functional use of the relatively rare big block equipped cars was effectively limited to straight-line drag races. Furthermore, the large engines scarcely left space for even the small, restrictive exhaust manifolds fitted to the big-block Darts. Road tests of the day generally recommended the 340 over the 383 or the 1969-only 440 cu in (7.2 L) engines.
Changes for 1968 were more subtle. The park/turn lights in the grille were moved slightly inboard and made round. Sidemarker lights were added to the front fenders and rear quarter panels, to comply with newly introduced Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108. Other changes to comply with new federal safety laws included collapsible steering columns, additional padding on the dashboard and sunvisors, a brake system fault warning light, shoulder harnesses (separate, this year and until 1973, from the lap belts) and non-glare matte finish on the windshield wiper arms. Chrysler's "Clean Air Package" emission control system became standard equipment on cars sold in all 50 states. The steering linkage was revised again, as were the windshield and rear window gaskets and trim-lock strips, leaving the 1967 pieces as one-year-only items. The standard rear axle ratio was dropped from 2.93 to 2.76 with all standard-performance engines and automatic transmission. Part-throttle downshift functionality was added as a refinement to the TorqueFlite automatic transmission in 6-cylinder cars, to retain acceptable city performance with the taller rear axle ratio.
For 1969, the Dart received trim updates including another minor revision of the grille, and a return to rectangular park/turn lights. The 1968 round sidemarker lights were replaced with rectangular reflectors. Head restraints were optional equipment until January 1, 1969, when their installation became mandatory under federal law. The 6-cylinder models received a carburetor anti-ice system borrowed from Canadian-market Chrysler 6-cylinder engines, and the drum brake automatic adjusters were revised for more consistent operation. Also, the 2-door pillared sedan was deleted from the lineup. At the top of the Dart performance range for 1969, there was limited availability of the 440 V8 in the Dart GTS model and a very few 426 Hemi models in the "Hurst" edition Dart.
Valom hThose of you more into cars than I can verify or not that this kit is not a totally new mold. Even if it isn't a totally new kit, the molding has held up very well without any flash or sink areas. The molding is crisp and clean, something we have come to expect from Revell-Monogram car kits.
What is new are several sprues that allow one to build this as a Hemi-powered dragster. In with these new sprues are a new interior pan without the molded in rear seats and attachments for the roll bar. A new hood with a large opening for the equally large hood scoop, larger rear springs and a larger differential are also included. A complete 426 Hemi engine is also part of the new bits as is a new non-chrome rear fascia and a roll bar mentioned earlier. The new bits extends to the chrome sprue which has new engine parts, the Cragar mag wheels and a new rear bumper/tail lights section. Of course, a pair or M&H Racemaster drag slicks is also part of the Hemi package.
The rest of the car is pretty much standard 1968 Dart. From what I've read in the historical section, it seems as if the 440 engine that is included for the stock version, was not available as a 1968 option, being part of the 1969 options package. This means that the body will have to be modded with rectangular side marker lights in place of the round ones molded on the body. Or one could just blow off that little inaccuracy. The kit includes the GTS package with individual bucket seats for the front. There are vinyl tires for both options. Interestingly, there is no raised detail name for the standard tires, though red line decals are provided. Guess Revell decided not to pay royalties for the honor of using either the Goodyear or Firestone name. I've seen this same omission on their recent slot cars.
Instructions are very well done as one expects from Revell-Monogram. Color information is provided throughout the build and any differences when it comes to building either the 440 or 426 version of the car are clearly noted. for instance, one will have to radius the rear wheel arches to accommodate the slicks. A very nicely done decal sheet is included with the lion's share of the markings going to the Super Stock racing version. A set of period California plates as well as the usual GTS ID badges/stripes are included for the street car.
Those who have a penchant for Mopar cars will surely embrace this one. One thing I have noticed is the ever escalating price of car kits as this one retails for $25.00, quite a jump from even ten years ago. Nevertheless, you are getting a superb kit that will easily build into a very nice model.
September 2010 Thanks to me for this one. Perhaps
I'll even get around to building it! If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please
me or see other details in the
Contributors. Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page
Thanks to me for this one. Perhaps I'll even get around to building it!
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page