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Cotton Field Find! Custom 1966 Dodge Dart

Image search nearly any car name and you’ll find at least one that’s at least somewhat “cool.” Despite pointed campaigns in drag racing and Trans Am, the Dart rarely tops someone’s list of Cars to buy after winning Powerball. Nevertheless this 1966 Dodge Dart Wagon near Lubbock, Texas proves that you don’t need a Ring Brothers or Foose style build, stretching, shrinking, and/or sectioning the body to make a third-gen Dart look cool. This one can be yours for $10,800 according to the listing here on craigslist.org. Thanks to reader Roger for the tip on this Dart. I like it!

Other than the lack of fins, the rear quarter view recalls wagons of the ’50s, and that’s just fine. The wheels and tires look OK, though somewhat incongruous with the patina look. Four-wheel disc brakes add modern stopping power. A Ford 8.8″ differential holds 3.73 cogs, a good choice to get this wagon moving without killing your motor and ear drums on the highway.

A later 318 cubic inch (5.2L) mill sits in place of the original 273 cid (4.5L) V8. Is that coolant on top of the front cover? The listing makes no mention of running condition but it seems to be well-sorted or well on the way to daily driver duty. An aluminum radiator (just out of sight) keeps things cool in the Texas sun. Rust is said to be minimal, and compliments to the seller for pictures showing problem spots circled. Well done!

The barefoot pedals lend a surf-wagon vibe to this cotton field find. Aftermarket gauges provide additional feedback. The flea-market steering wheel isn’t my favorite, but the new owner can swap that out as they wish. Other than the speedometer, the dashboard resembles the top of a vintage washer or dryer. Pull the knob on the left for “Permanent Press.” Lingering nearly a month on the market supports my assertion that this Dart’s price tag has missed the bullseye. For five digits I’d want 300 HP, air conditioning and overdrive, but not much more. How would you finish this dandy Dart?


  1. 8banger David Mika Member

    I would roof-rack this one immediately!

    Like 3
    • Rick Rothermel

      NASCAR builder Cotton Owens built a Dart wagon drag car during the Henri ban in the mid-60s. I’d dig up pics and do a clone of that one.

      Like 0
  2. Jay

    10 k for no paint and a leaky 318 ?

    I do not see it

    Like 12
  3. Poncho

    Even though i think the patina thing is about done, and how I feel about 4 doors and station wagons, there is a bit of hot rodder/surfer vibe. Just add a roof rack and surfboard, period correct steering wheel, A/C (if in the budget) and some tunes, buddy. Buy-in price is once again pretty high at almost $11k. That is gonna cut into the gas fund a bit. Not to mention the short list of upgrades. Probably would be happier with a 340 under the hood.

    Like 4
  4. Chebby Staff

    This is one dope Dart! That patina is so extreme it goes way beyond laziness, you just have to appreciate it. Ford rear is a strange touch.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      Several of my friends bought Ford 8.8” rear ends from Explorers, 3.73’s and 4.10’s posi’s we’re very common. They also share the same 5 x 4 1/2 bolt pattern as many Mopars and are cheap. The self service yards were charging right around $100 plus $25 core, it would then cost another $300-400 to shorten the axle tubes and buy inexpensive aftermarket axles, if necessary. Using an 8.8 is one of the most cost effective way to upgrade a rear end.

      Steve R

      Like 10
      • Chebby Staff

        Thanks Steve, very interesting. I guess that’s how you get the rear disc brakes too.

        Like 5
      • WH

        Just out of curiosity wouldn’t a rear diff out of a 64-66 Barracuda fit under this wagon?

        Like 1
      • moosie moosie

        @ WH, yep the Barracuda rear would fit but its not much stronger (if any) then the stock wagon one, definitely not as strong as the Ford one

        Like 0
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      It’s not patina, it’s rust. Interesting wagon only needing paint and a few odds and ends to be a fun daily driver. Price is a little steep, though.

      Like 13
      • Mikey8

        I totally agree. It’s called rushed. It doesn’t look good to me. It needs a good paint job and it would look fantastic. This rat rod flat black and patina cars just don’t do anything for me. I guess to each it’s own

        Like 7
    • don

      I know, an 8 3/4 rear would go in nicely !

      Like 1
  5. Randall M. Tremblay

    I would clear coat it, A/C it (I live in Florida), change the steering wheel and just enjoy the ride!!!

    Like 3
  6. Ronald

    Wow, This is my exact first car color and all, My parents ordered it new with the cheapest package as in 170 cid slant 6, 3 speed on the column. They gave it to me at 16 and I ran the wheels off of it hauling all my friends around sometimes 8 at a time for short distances lol, the front end was light when that happened. At about 17 I started drinking beer and hauling my drag racing friends around on weekend nights, We would go buy a case of cheap beer and drive 100 plus miles a night just talking race cars and running country roads where there were no cops. At about 110k the motor got so weak it would not start when it warmed up so my parents had a used 225 slant 6 installed, After I bought a ’57 Chevy I sold this car to a friend for 200.00, Sure wish I had kept it, It was way better than this.

    Like 4
  7. Gaspumpchas

    This wagon would look soo sweet in its original blue. Gotta wonder what the guy is thinking when he leaves anti freeze on the timing cover. 340 4 speed would be very cool. Cant say the last time I saw one of these. Good luck to the new owner. seems pricey, good inspection needed.

    Like 7
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Put paint on it and you’ve got something. Love taking the work horses and making cool cruisers out of them.

    Like 3
  9. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good writing Todd, “pull the knob on the left for Permanent Press.”

    I agree with FordGuy and Gaspumpchas and bobhess, new paint and some attention to detail would make this a cool ride. Add the surfboards and one would surely be the talk of the town in that surfing mecca of Lubbock.

    Like 4
  10. JOHN Member

    I kinda dig the steering wheel, it fit’s the look as is, but with new paint and cleanup, definitely replace it! Could be much worse, it could be a chrome chain wheel…

    Like 4

    It’s cool as it is. But not for 10k

    Like 6
  12. Chillywind

    Its cool for sure, love the Radir wheels. pretty easy to throw in a/c and go have some fun.

    Like 2
  13. robert burra

    I have been doing cars for a way long time 50+ yrs. I see 8k max, all day long. Not anymore ! It is a cute wagon ,, but PLEASE can we retire the word and lazy way of doing things called patina !!! Maybe after afew Guiness I would go 9k, then I could blame Guiness

    Like 5
  14. jim

    being that I’m a dart person my self (having a 66 wagon for the past 40 years) 10k+ for that is a bit out of line,2k tops and that would be a push, the rims are a big miss..

    Like 0
  15. Terry Bowman

    Looks like a “COOL” project, needs a lot of improvements for a keeper for me. It does have a early 318 LA, by the look of the water pump. Exhaust manifolds have to go. The coolant leak is a common hose leak. Being a wagon i’m surprise it didn’t already have a 8 3/4 rear.

    Like 1
    • don

      None of these early A bodies had beefy parts as they weren’t a performance car . I was amazed this one had the 273 in it , probably 99% of them had the slant sixes in them.

      Like 0
      • jim

        don, more than you would think, for instance, mine was a 273 4bbl motor with ps/power front disc brakes and a/c(that worked, surprisingly) most of the dart “270’s were v8 cars, granted they made a boat load of them with sixes, they hold a lot of promise..

        Like 1
  16. Stilbo

    $3800 car at best
    $6200 worth of surface rust
    $6200 would go a good ways towards refinishing the exterior and doing something with the interior
    Plus: nothing special about a leaky 318

    Like 5
  17. moosie moosie

    I dont think the 318 is leaky as much as I think that the owner or mechanic that replaced the top radiator hose & heater hoses was too lazy to drain some coolant and cause a mess. But yeah, they should have at least cleaned up the mess. The car shows a lot of potential,,,,,,,,, needs PAINT !

    Like 1
  18. Bob

    The first thing I would do is buy it for half the asking price, if not the second third or forth thing I would do would never happen.

    Like 0
  19. jimmy the orphan

    I’m with Robert Burra. I’ve been doing cars for 50 yrs. as well and can’t recall hearing the word Patina till I began watching AP.I like Mike and Frank OK but millions of people watch the show. And Mike talks about patina 50 times each show ! that’s how ideas like rusty cars are cool get started. This is a stupid fad that I hope will burn out soon. This little wagon looks like hell. paint her up and back to cool. price is not fair. To high. Anybody who likes the rusty body on this car is to high as well. Later……………………………..JIMMY

    Like 4
    • 67Firebird_Cvt 67Firebird_Cvt Member

      Hey, there’s an idea for a new drinking game. Every time Mike says patina, take a drink. If Franks does then two drinks!

      Like 4
      • Ken

        In 10 minutes, you’d be too drunk to walk.

        Like 0
  20. Ken

    As the title of the Lee Marvin/Clint Eastwood film declares: PAINT YOUR WAGON.

    Like 4
  21. TimM

    Cool car needs some work but by all means “PAINT IT!!!!!”

    Like 1
  22. Pete

    It’s a dress.if you lift up the skirt you’ll find more PATINA THAT YOU BARGIN FOR.close the doors and you won’t wind the. Windows up.look again at this car.we’re car guys?I.m 75 years old and still drink my beer .but never be disillusion d

    Like 0
  23. Little_Cars

    No horn button in the center of that metalflake aqua steering wheel. I’m out!

    No seriously, back when the wheels sold at Sears and Pep Boys, the horn button kit sold on the peg right next to them for something like $12.95. There are rat rods, there is patina, then there is just laziness not to finish the very thing you are going to stare at every time you drive this long roof.


    Like 0
  24. chrlsful

    had this ’66 Dart waggy in blue in ’72 & ur right – it did look nice. Had the same in white but ’64 1st. Got harder’n harder to get inspected (body fall off in New England @ 10 y/o? yes!). Pop riveted the chicken coop roof on when that fell down. But eventually needed the ’66. When drivin the ’66 home (Burlington, Vt 2 Grnfld, MA) the #6 cyl flew out knockin the starter off. Pulled the ’66 170 out & put the ’64 170 in. That rig got me around the perimeter states of this big ol US of A loaded dwn w/all my cast iron pots’n pans skis etc (1976 – 78) ending at grad skol in WVa w/300K n it. Never did C a 225.
    Back in the NE drivin a livery fleet of wagons for a friend – Valiants and the K-cars 1982 – 4…

    Want 1 now for a DD. Auto is best, slanty is right, wana paint job…
    The fox LTD/Marquis would do too (got one? put .aol on the back of my
    ‘name’ above…

    Like 0
  25. Little_Cars

    Uhmmm….Say what? If you talk like you write I’m guessing you are hinting that you’d want to buy a daily driver Fox platform Ford or Mercury.

    Like 0

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