Exner Designed Wagon: 1960 Dodge Matador

Mopar offered some interesting and unique styling in the early 1960’s like this ’60 Dodge Matador wagon. With space for the whole family, and fins that would catch the eye of any Cadillac fan, this wagon has a lot going on in the styling department. This rare wagon was parked in 1971 not to move again until 2012 when the current owner began his adventure with this neat wagon project. Very clean with a lot of maintenance, this unique beauty is currently bid up to $7,200. Take a look at it here on ebay out of North Salt Lake, Utah. Thanks are in order to Matt Williams for submitting this wildly stylish mopar!

The 361 V8 looks to have been spray bombed but as a whole the engine compartment is quite tidy. Little surface rust can be seen, and the seller has performed a fair amount of maintenance on this wagon. While nothing major was rebuilt, it took little to revive this wagon, and some general maintenance has been preformed to polish out its ability to be driven. This wagon hasn’t undergone a restoration, instead it would seem this wagon was a fairly solid survivor that received paint and body work, and needed maintenance as necessary to make the car a trustworthy driver.

Impressive and green, the interior has been reupholstered in its original fashion, and shows very nicely with its rare swiveling front seats. How many times have you gotten out of a car and wished for swiveling seats? Well this Matador could be that chance! Also this classic wagon is equipped with power windows making it a breeze to draw in all the air you desire. The dash, door panels, and steering wheel appear as original acceptable condition. The door panels do reflect some age with some slight discoloration, and a few “sun burned” areas as well. Overall the interior is complete, and many original aspects still lie within in this wagon.

Virgil Exner deserves a pat on the back for the unique rear end treatment on this wagon. The taillights, fins, and louvers on the rear fenders really scream space age. It is easy to see how so many people of the time would have been proud driving this heavily styled wagon. Having received a “quick paint job” I am not exactly sure what the seller means by that comment. Some surface rust and dirt can be seen on the tailgate, but with it closed, the rust is hidden. I am guessing that similar instances can be found elsewhere on this wagon. The seller has described this wagon as rust free, and that the right rear quarter was repaired due to previous rot. No other rot appears to have been found, making this wagon safe and ready to be enjoyed. The paint has a lovely luster to it, and the car as a whole is quite stunning in its condition appearance, as well as its styling. Do you like the styling on this Matador wagon?


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  1. Thomas

    The swivel seat! Why didn’t these become standard? This car’s a beaut! And that engine really made them move.

    Like 2
  2. Chuck

    It looks like the Millennium Falcon. I love it.

    Like 1
  3. chad

    wonder what’s the wheel base?

    Like 1
    • Phil

      122 inches 1960 Dodge Matador Station Wagon Super Red Ram 361 V-8

      Dodge Matador Station Wagon Super Red Ram 361 V-8, model year 1960, version for North America U.S. (up to September)
      5-door wagon body type
      RWD (rear-wheel drive), manual 3-speed gearbox
      petrol (gasoline) engine with displacement: 5913 cm3 / 360.8 cui, advertised power: 220 kW / 295 hp / 299 PS ( SAE gross ), torque: 529 Nm / 390 lb-ft
      characteristic dimensions: outside length: 5499 mm / 216.5 in, width: 1981 mm / 78 in, wheelbase: 3099 mm / 122 in
      reference weights: shipping weight 1835 kg / 4045 lbs estimated curb weight: 1910 kg / 4210 lbs
      how fast is this car ? top speed: 186 km/h (116 mph) (theoretical);
      accelerations: 0- 60 mph 9.1 s; 0- 100 km/h 9.6 s (simulation ©automobile-catalog.com); 1/4 mile drag time (402 m) 17 s (simulation ©automobile-catalog.com)
      fuel consumption and mileage: average estimated by a-c: 19.6 l/100km / 14.4 mpg (imp.) / 12 mpg (U.S.) / 5.1 km/l

  4. Peter S.R. Member

    “So THAT’s a Matador… “

    • Charles G. Van De Sampel

      We had two…………….

      This is also the “master” for the rest of the Dart line from Dodge. From the older dealers that I worked for on the side back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and the old man that owned “Swangler’s Wrecking Yard” outside of Grand Forks, ND., when it became apparent that forms wouldn’t be ready in time for the smaller Dart line, the decision was made to use the same body, but bob the fenders, make minor changes to the grills, taillights and interior.

      Like 1
  5. Dick Johnson

    BMW and Porsche drivers would flash their lights at you if they thought that you weren’t going fast enough on THEIR turnpike. Instant Karma; the face of a Matador wagon with the factory power mods didn’t need flashing headlights to get the foo-foo driver’s out of it’s way. Just a quick look in the rear view mirror would cause reflex reactions backi to the slow lane.

    The amount of air that a Sonoramic induction system would inhalewas enough for a Matador driver to suffer hypoxia during a banzai pass.

    • Dick Johnson

      I hate this yo-pad. Better start using the stylus again.

  6. Rick

    Bring a windshield and a good bodyman….

  7. memikeyounot

    If I could bid on this, I would but circumstances prevent that. I notice that it’s in Bountiful, UT, about 5 miles north of me. I wonder if he’d mind if I just dropped by for a look?

    The seller mentions that it’s a suburb of Salt Lake City…I hope that no Bountiful residents read this because they are adamant that they’re not a suburb of Salt Lake City and would prefer NOT to be associated with it, although many of them work here. :)

    Regardless, I loved this style back then and probably built an AMT model of it at some point.

  8. the one

    cool car

  9. Wade Anderson

    The engine would have been silver anyway Chrysler engines were silver in the fifties and sixties

    • Dick Johnson

      Uhhhh… mebbe I should paint the valve covers silver on my Golden Commando… Air cleaner lids as well.

      • Charles G Van De Sampel

        If I recall, the Golden Commando’s valve covers and air cleaner came from the factory painted GOLD. Saw plenty of them in the DeSoto Adventurer’s.

  10. the one

    correct, my 61 dodge 361 was silver

    • Charles G Van De Sampel

      In both of our 61 Newport’s, the blocks were black with blue valve covers.

      • Miguel

        Same with my 1963 361.

      • Dick Johnson

        How do I get silver paint off of my gold valve covers and air cleaner lids? I got all excited that they were the wrong color. Same for my early HEMIs. Some clown (my son-in-law) said that a 56 354 should be HEMI Orange with crinkle black valve covers.. I still can’t figure out how to mount the distributor to the front of the block. Maybe I’ll stick it into the crankcase breather pipe….kids

  11. Charles G Van De Sampel

    My mother had a 60 Matador 4dr with a 318 – 2 bbl. According to two old Dodge dealers (Ollie Birkeland of Birkeland Dodge in Rock Island, IL. and Bob Drysdale of Drysdale Dodge in Streator, IL ), the DART line evolved from the 1960 Matador’s when the DART’s body panel molds weren’t finished in time for the 1960 introduction. The Darts were to be a smaller mid-size vehicle about the size of the Coronet, so Chrysler decided that with some minor changes, the Dart line would now be based on the full sized Matador. Minor differences were cosmetic, such as rounded fins, grille work and side trim. And like the Matadors, they could be had as 2drs; 4drs or wagons. But there was also something that was exposed from the 1960 model year. Mis-cast 318 engine blocks. Their flaw was excessive over-heating. My mother’s car had one. Our local Plymouth dealership (Learner’s Chrysler / Plymouth, closed since the mid-80’s) mechanics called it the “Frankllin Block” after the Chrysler engineer that found the flaw in 1962 after numerous complaints.

    • Dick Johnson

      Charles, I was unaware of the mis-cast 318s. I have a spare 318 slated for 340 mods. Any info on serial numbers? The 340 mod engines are pulling up to 400 hp.

      We’ve had so many Chry products in our family with so few problems.* Never in the 318. Your help is appreciated.

      *Early Chrysler up to 69.

      • Brad

        The 1960 318 is an A series engine made up to 1966. The LA series 318 was produced from 1967 forward. Not the same engines at all so you have no worries.

      • Charles G Van De Sampel

        Brads right. If you’re using the LA 318’s , you have no worries. As to the A’s having the mis-cast block issue, there weren’t that many. From what one of the old mechanics by the name of Terrance Epler at another dealership said, it figured out to about 600 blocks nationwide. Growing up in an all MOPAR family, and then hanging around with the kids who’s dad’s owned the Mopar dealerships in our area, I was exposed to almost everything from the parts bins and inventory to the sales department.

      • Dick Johnson

        Thanks Brad and Charles. But my 318 is an A built in the1960 time line. It is a scalloped valve cover engine.

        Tex Smith’s mods are impressive for a boat anchor engine. Had a lot of enjoyment building them. Thanks to Charles, I’m looking for problems before they develop. Can’t find the ref through AllPar.

      • Dick Johnson

        Forgot to ask. What was the problem area root cause for the overheat issue? If only 600 were afflicted the chances with my luck are quite high. I would have hoped that the culprit blocks were recycled in the furnace.

      • Charles G Van De Sampel

        Dick, if I recall what Terrance said, it was found that in the initial blueprints / drawings, the water passages surrounding two of the cylinders were never fully completed, which led to the improper casting and let minimal water through the area. I wished these old guys were still around. They’d be able to tell you more about this and other MOPAR problems that were never published or put out there like it is today.

        You remember how the Torqueflite’s would fail at about 75K on the odometer? Dick Bremms of Tom Tague Dodge showed a 1977 TSB that Chrysler put out there that showed the had been using the wrong settings for the bands for more than 16 years. After they posted the new settings, the tranny’s were lasting way longer into the 150K or better benchmark.

        And to all you others that laugh about using a rock to block the old cars due to improper parking brake settings, how many of you knew that until Chrysler removed the rear trans pump back in 1964 (some into the 1966 year model), you could push start your automatic trans equipped Chrysler product by starting out in Neutral then selecting “1st” gear at 12 mph.

        Like 1
      • Dick Johnson

        Thanks Charles. I’ll borescope the passages the best that I can to see if there is a culprit.

        Yup… we had to bump start our 64 wagon aftr a dome light got left on.

        Also, I chock my 50’s MoPars even on flat ground. No parking pawl in the trans. If the Dodge wagon subject car would start to roll, not even a Chevy could stop it.

        We ‘invented’ the trans brake by forgetting to release the e-brake since, as you know, the brake drum on the trans tail shaft was actually quite good. Still is on my stuff.

    • W9BAG

      Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that those mis-cast blocks were made at the Golden foundry in Columbus, Indiana.

      • Charles G. Van De Sampel

        The old guys never said where the blocks were cast, just that they weren’t found until the issues really started to pop up.

  12. Garfon

    I’ve seen a few of these with this color scheme but they always had a reddish brown metallic/pink interior. Green doesn’t look right, hard to believe someone ordered it like this

    • Charles G Van De Sampel

      My grandfathers 60 Seneca Dart was Spruce Green with this interiors same green color. The BIG areas that anyone that owns either Matador or the Dart line of Dodges is #1- the front fender over the top of the headlamp. With no inner fenders or shells, water, dirt and anything else you can think of would get thrown up into that area (actually this problem was very prevalent on almost all of the Mopes from the mid-fifties to 1965). #2- Rocker panels #3 – back bumper and backup light buckets.

      • packrat

        Foxcraft-the company known for smaller aftermarket sheet metal stampings like fenderskirts and continental kits–made bank for many years supplying replacement eyebrows for Chrysler products. Extravagant annual model change designs meant compromised durability.

  13. Moparman Member

    My dad had a 60 Matador, pale yellow/white top/black-white-gray patterned upholstery..alas, it was a sedan; no spinner hubcaps/rear quarter trim/swivel seats/power windows, but it was a great car! I remember washing it and making sure the tunneled stop/reverse lights were cleaned. It WOULD, however, pin you against the seat when the accelerator was firmly pressed! :-)

  14. RoselandPete

    Why did they put that rock under the front wheel? To keep it from rolling down the driveway? Was a wheel chock too obvious?

    • CHRYCO Member

      Rocks are free and conveniently found just about anywhere. This Dodge is beautiful.

  15. Roger

    I used to see a green with white top ’60 Matador 2 door hardtop parked in front of our county courthouse when I was in high school in the early seventies,no idea who owned it,also my great aunt and uncle owned a ’60 Dart Phoenix 2 door hardtop,blue with white top,they owned it until 1967 when they bought a new ’67 Plymouth Satellite in silver with red interior-a beautiful car!!

  16. Motrbob

    I had the misfortune to try to rebuild one of these miscast 361 blocks in my 1960 Chrysler Newport. It seems the cam bosses were misaligned and with the std cam bearings and the cam would not go in. Chrysler’s fix was unique, they line bored the block big enough to accept cam bearings that were huge and then line bored these oversize bearings to accept the cam. Guess what happens when you boil out the block? Good bye cam bearings and then good bye block as there is no replacement bearings to insert and line bore.

  17. W9BAG

    Very nice wagon. I like the instrument cluster. Although not stated, I believe that I spy A/C vents on top of the dash. I also see that is sports power windows. And those swivel seats are the bomb. I had a ’77 Monte Carlo and the swivel seats swiveled a full 90 degrees. I can’t understand why they are no longer offered as an option on new cars. Great ride !

  18. Billy

    The demise of swivel seats are just one reflection of a society that values safe, practical solutions to every day living. A people who largely gives lip service to the unique and different, but in reality prefer the tried and true approach in their lives – witness the overwhelming numbers of black and gray vehicles and the lack of diversity across body styles. Cheers for the convertible hardtop roof, but where are the B-pillerless sedans and coupes, streamlined wheel openings, two-toned paint jobs. and fins, just to name a few. American cars ape Japanese styling, which all too closely resemble military attack vehicles these days. If Exner and those other famous designers ramed their design ideas down the throats of an unsuspecting public, I say find designer to do that again and wake America up from its emotional addiction to the banal.

  19. W9BAG

    Love to have it. Wonderful styling. Virgil was on top of his game when he designed this beauty. Swivel seats are very convenient. I had a ’77 Monte Carlo with swivel seats that turned 90 degrees. Made it very easy to enter and exit the car. I think that people with certain disabilities would really appreciate this feature.

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