Desert Dart: 1963 Dodge Dart GT

For their newly-designed smaller car in 1963, Dodge dropped the Lancer name and went with Dart. This is a 1963 Dodge Dart GT and it’s listed on eBay with quite a few bids, bringing the bid total up to over $2,000 so far, but the reserve isn’t met. You’ll have to go to Buckeye, Arizona to pick this one up. Although the body looks nice in the photos, there is some trouble lurking under the surface. Some areas have more lurking trouble than others. The trunk looks good but there’s surface rust in there to try to keep under control so it doesn’t turn into something more serious. This was originally a California car before it went to Arizona, so hopefully the rust isn’t major.

I really like these unassuming Darts. They aren’t aggressive or in-your-face with nostrils and all kinds of “pseudo design toughness”, they’re just nice looking cars. The GT part may be more of a badge identification for this one since it has a slant-six engine. A V8 wouldn’t be available in the Dart until 1964. The GT had a few things like a padded dash and bucket seats.

Speaking of bucket seats, these appear to be in great condition and they look almost more like leather to me than they look like vinyl. The backseat looks like new and the entire interior seems to be in good condition. But, like the body of the car, there is work to do if a person were interested in bringing this Dart to the next level.

The seller refers to this engine as a “270 slant-six”, but it’s either a 170 or a 225 slant-six. I’m betting that it’s a 225. “270” was a mid-level trim designation for the Dart, above the 170 and below the GT, it wasn’t an engine option. This engine and also the automatic transmission were both rebuilt at some point, according to the seller, who is listing this car for someone else. It’s a running and driving car and is being used as a daily-driver, according to the ad. Other than the rust under the paint that’ll have to be addressed at some point, this looks like a nice car. Have any of you owned a Dart with a slant-six? It’s my favorite Chrysler product engine and I would keep it, but I bet that some of you would want to put a 273 or other V8 under the hood?


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  1. flmikey

    looking at the pictures on the ebay ad, the body has been re-worked at least once…frame looks very good…very nice find….

  2. Howard A Member

    Hmmm, not really. Slant 6 is a great motor. Honestly, in an older car, I can’t think of a better motor for both world’s. The Dart, basically a Valiant, was so much nicer styling. Didn’t even seem like the same car. Kind of had the “Turbine car” look. So rare today. I agree, very nice find. If it was a wagon, I’d jump on it, pronto. (get the theme here? I’m looking for a small wagon)

    • Jim Baldwin

      I have a Montana 1964 Dart wagon for sale.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Jim, I knew I should be careful what I say here. Looks great! Just for gits and shiggles, what are you asking for it, stick, auto, if it runs and where is the car located? Please don’t say Wis.or Minn. :)

    • Jim Motavalli Staff

      I think about $12k without a new top, $13,500 with one. The current top is serviceable, but not up to the rest of the car–which needs nothing. It was a ground-up restoration in 1991, carefully kept by me inside since without many miles (though regular exercise). And it’s in Fairfield, Connecticut.

  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I’ve owned several of these, with 225s and a GT with a 273. One of the best cars of the 1960s in my opinion. Actually these Darts were nice cars into the mid-70s.

  4. redwagon

    a gt with a slant 6!!?? it may have come from the factory with a 6 but in my mind a gt (from that time period) requires a v8

    • Mike

      My brother in law had a 68 GT with the slant six. The V8 was a separate option.

  5. Fred W.

    I grew up with cars of this era and despised the 144 Falcon six, which was slow as molasses. This one is another animal entirely. At the age of 15, my brother in law took me on a hair raising ride through some backwoods trails in one of these that made me a believer. Plenty of go juice and can be hopped up, will still be running post apocalypse.

  6. dirtyharry

    Before you poo-poo the slant six in favor of the 273, 50,000 225-cid Slant Six engines were produced with an aluminum engine block.
    A Hyper-Pak was available for the 170 and 225 slant sixes. It had a radical cam, Carter AFB 3083S four-barrel carburetor on a long-ram intake manifold, steel tubing exhaust headers, higher compression pistons, and a special exhaust. Advertised at 195 hp (gross output, for the 170), Hyper-Pak engines were the rulers of the lower stock classes at the drag races, and the Hyper-Pak was available from dealers.

    • Smittydog

      A friend had a slant 6 in a challenger with a cam, 4 barrel, and headers. It was pretty hairy!

  7. Ben T. Spanner

    My fraternity brother had a convertible with the larger six and a four speed manual. It was a very nice car. My wife’s first car was a 1967 Barracuda with the 273 and Torqueflite. That was another nice combination, but in this Dart the bigger six is fine, and capable of easily keeping up with modern traffic.

  8. Wade Treadway

    I never owned a Dart but well recall that in the 60’s, 70’s and into the 80’s that these cars were sought after by the “back to the land” crowd due to their dependability and no frills reputation. Many a hippie rejoiced in being the recipient of their grandmothers Dart.

  9. Gunner

    Harry, never knew of the Hyper-Pak option. I have seen the Six with the long ram 4-Barrel, but did not know of the aluminum block. Very cool. Thanks for the info!

    • bill green

      PLEASE!! I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

  10. 8banger Dave Member

    OK, I’ve gotta be the first one to say it:
    Chrysler’s Leaning Tower of Power – love them.

  11. bowtiecarguy

    Don’t overlook the push button automatic transmission

    Tom Magliozzi (of Tom and Ray on Car Talk) loved his “Sleek Black Beauty”

  12. Jim Motavalli Staff

    As a blogger for Car Talk at NPR, I can confirm that Tom Magliozzi had a Slant Six ’63 Dart convertible–and so do I! Mine is a 270 in baby blue, which I bought way back in 1991–fully restored, for $2,700. They are indeed incredibly robust, and you don’t need a V-8 in an old Dart.

    • Scotty Staff

      That’s a beauty, Jim!
      Tom was an absolute jewel, it was a huge loss.

    • David Wilk Member

      Jim – Nice car – and great to see you are with us on Barn Finds!!!

  13. Robert White

    My father bought a brand new Plymouth Fury Slant Six in 1963, and by 1971 the chrome on the bumpers was literally peeling off the chrome bumpers both front & back. The engine stalled when doing left turns, and I will never forget how it often stalled right in the middle of intersections with major traffic all around. Clearly, I am no fan of these cars, and I would never own a car with a slant six due to the amount of times my life was put in mortal danger when the engine stalled in intersections.


    • Howard A Member

      Well, Bob, I don’t think that’s a fair shake, there was clearly something wrong, and dad kept driving it. My old man wasn’t any better. I can’t think of a more versatile engine. It powered everything from cars to trucks to stationary pumps.

      • Robert White

        Actually, my father was all thumbs when it came to anything mechanical. That’s what turned me into a Mechanical Engineering Technician with a specialization in Tool Making & Tool Design. Frankly, before I turned 16 I was advising him on car repairs, and makes that were essentially trouble free from these kinds of defects in engineering. In brief, I agree that something was wrong with the engine, and he should have taken it in for a checkup with a skilled mechanic. Moreover, his idea of maintaining a car was to buy a new one when the old one started to cost him more money in repairs. He was afraid of car mechanics charging him for repairs, and that’s why he never maintained the car as most would periodically. Further, he did not even wash and polish the car after the first couple of years of owning it. Clearly, you are correct in your assessment overall, Howard. Today I agree with you, but still to this day I will hang on to my bias with regard to the Slant Six. Additionally, when my father purchased a new Ford Maverick in 1971, he sold the old Plymouth Fury Slant Six to our neighbourhood auto mechanic for $100.00 as is. He told us that the mechanic was very happy to get it so cheap. ;)

    • fordfan

      I had 2 slant six cars a 67 valiant and a 76 aspen only time it would stall is if the automatic choke was released too soon when the engine was cold.this was done by gooseing the gas pedal

    • patty

      I had an 83 Suburban that I absolutely loved but it had a stalling problem too and that is quite scarey. It would stall literally with no warning on a straight away road. After it sat a few minutes it would start right up though. I learned later that I could drive 45 minutes before it would do this so I cut my driving down to that. It wound up being an electronic part on the distributor. Nothing worse than stalling and with todays traffic it would be pure suicide.

  14. Joe Haska

    I am in Phoenix AZ, and would like to see this car, but having no luck in finding sellers info. Does anybody have it? Please contact me; Joe Haska

    P.S. Could also look for anyone else interested

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Just contact him through the ebay listing Joe.

  15. Rapid Butterfly

    Just road raced a 64 with slant 6 power with lemons at Barber in Alabama. Surprisingly good.

    Like 1
    • Josh Staff

      What a great photo!

  16. Rob

    I live out here in Buckeye and have seen this car numerous times on the road and interstate. I’ve acknowledged the driver a couple times too when i’ve been out driving my ’66 Newport. As soon as I saw the picture in the e-mail I knew right away where it was. It is a pretty nice car!!

    Like 1
  17. Caveman

    I had a 63 gt conv in 81. Slant six that was bulletproof.I worked at a dodge dealer. Put a four barrel intake and cam and headers…six in a row can go!! Put 57 mercury turnpike cruiser fender skirts on it,,they matched the rear wheel reveal exactly! Miss that car. Looking Back almost 40 years later and Many many cars later One I’d like to get back!

    • Jim Motavalli Staff

      Mine might be for sale.

  18. Skip

    Nice, Nice, Nice! I’ve mentioned here before that I had a ’63 Valiant slant-six, and I still miss that old girl! A good friend of mine from high school had a ’65 blue Dart. My Valiant had standard shift and his Dart was automatic. His Dart was replaced with a ’65 Dodge wagon that was used in his family’s funeral home business, and it eventually became their backup ambulance. He should’ve kept the Dart!

  19. Garry

    I’ve had a few Slant 6’s. 60 Dart wagon, 62 Dart 2dr, 63 Dart 4dr, 70 Dart 4dr, 72 Duster. Killed one, wounded another- No oil will let a rod knock a hole in the block, though the thing still ran. Too much 85mph with a hole in the exhaust manifold right by the head will make the valves start to sound a bit… off. :)

  20. Ed P

    Wow, that is a fancy interior for a Dart. Most had vinyl bench seats and no padded dash. In stock form, the slant six was not a fire breather, but it had a lot of potential to become one.

  21. patty

    I had a mint green 63 Dodge Dart when I was 17. I remember putting $7. bucks worth of gas in it to get me through the week. It had the push button tranny. The body and paint was in great shape, except for right behind the rear wheels where it was rotted out. My first try at repairing body damage, lol. The interrior was imaculate except for the drivers seat was beginning to wear. I was a good little runner and never let me down.

    • Howard A Member

      patty, do I know you??? (Hint, semi-retired)

      Like 1
      • patty

        Hi Howard. No, I am from Pennsylvania. Out on permanent disability but old enough to be retired, lol. I wish I knew you. I like the interest and the knowledge that you have in the older cars and trucks. :)

  22. jef ray

    I had a 77 D100 Dodge with a Slant 6 and a three on the tree. It was an old city of Dallas Parks and Rec truck, with 105k miles on it… I bought it in 1993 for $800.
    I put another 100k miles on it in the next year and a half, and sold it for $800.
    It is legendary.

  23. Rex Kahrs Member

    I almost forgot my best slant 6 story: Back around 1980 a college buddy had his Grandma’s 67 Valiant with slant 6 through high school and in to college. At some point he bought another (sexier) car, and he and his buddies decided to just blow the Valiant up.

    They drained the oil out of the Valiant and off they went…for 3 days. The thing just kept running. He then put 5 quarts back in it and sold it for $300!

    Another slant 6 story: I had a 72 Duster (we called it the Ruster), and I decided to change the oil one Saturday. The Nationwise Auto Parts store talked me into a quart of motor flush, so I bought it and went home to change the oil. I poured the motor flush in and ran the car for 10 minutes. When I drained the oil, guess how much came out? One quart. Ah youth.

  24. Jeff

    Why didn’t you turn up the idel screw so it did not stall ?don’t be saying anything bad about them old darts it was you’re lack of auto knowledge

  25. Jeff

    All cars from 1929 to 1985 had drive ability issues in random conditions and carbs required maintenance and adjustments now and then . 1985 was the last year of the carberator and in 86 Efi made those experiences obsolete .aside from that 225 6 was the best engines made .

  26. patty alexander,sr

    I had a 63 Dart and never had any drive issues with it, ever!

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