Cheap Family Car: 1966 Dodge Dart 270 Wagon

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After experimenting with “Dart” concept cars in the late 1950s, Chrysler introduced the Dodge Dart as a production car in 1960. The model ranged from full-sized to mid-sized, finally settling out as a compact starting in 1963. Even at that, Chrysler had grown the wheelbase of its “compact” platform from 106.5″ to 111″, providing more legroom for rear seat inhabitants. The Dart comprised at least half of Dodge production for the model’s first few years. A conservative restyle in 1962 – an attempt to shed the controversial looks of Virgil Exner’s 1961 design – set the pace for the next two generations of Darts. Three trim levels were available – the base 170, the mid-range 270, and the high-class GT. Here on craigslist is a 1966 Dodge Dart 270 wagon, with an asking price of $4000. Road-trip her home from Sebastopol, California. Thanks to Tony Primo for finding this honest people-hauler for us!

The venerable tall-block, 145 hp 225 cu. in. slant six occupies the engine bay. Tough as nails, the 225 has been known to outlast families; here’s a slant six that was going strong at 430,000 miles in 2018, owned by a third-generation family member. This car’s odometer reads 95,000 miles so it’s just getting started!  A column-shift three-speed manual brings the power to the road. For a few more bucks, Dart buyers could opt for a V8 starting in ’64, but the six was the most popular configuration.

The 270 trim level bought a sporty two-spoke steering wheel, a horn ring, carpet, and a wider set of optional equipment versus the 170. Badging and exterior trim were flashier on the 270 as well. This car begs for new upholstery and seat cushions. A new carpet/mat set wouldn’t hurt either. As usual, the rear seats are in near-new condition, and though the photos aren’t very sharp, the door panels are respectable. Remediation of surface rust around the tailgate opening, a new door seal, and a thorough scrubbing would improve the cargo area.

The distinctive greenhouse, faint fins, and handsome trim set the Dart wagon apart. It doesn’t try to be a woodie. It doesn’t try to be a muscle car. It is a middle-market family hauler that outsold many more established competitors. This honest old wagon with its few flaws, straight body, and bright chrome, offers an affordable way into vintage car ownership. I sure wouldn’t kick it out of my garage – what do you think?

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  1. alphasudMember

    Looks like the original owner checked all the frugal options on this one. I can’t remember if I have ever seen this body style in a wagon. I can’t imagine more than a handful remain. This car looks pretty plain Jane compared to the Exner era. Then again anything would look plain next to a Exner’s creations. I recently saw some of his future sketches and I must say Chrysler management was probably in full panic mode. Personally I think some of early designs are quite interesting. Kind of it’s so bad it’s cool.

    Like 7
    • MrBZ

      As a kid that grew up in the back of a 61 Plymouth suburban wagon, even the plain Jane look of the mid 60’s was a huge improvement.

      Like 6
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    I like seeing low-optioned, grocery-getter, regular cars of their day. This is a great example. I can visualize the original owners: a family of modest means, or perhaps someone who couldn’t mentally get past the Great Depression, or perhaps just frugal to the core. Love the dog dishes and the three-on-the-tree.

    Like 26
    • Frog Man


      Like 2
  3. Herbert

    The SS will easily go a million miles if properly cared for. Possibly the greatest engine ever made for the average man.

    Like 24
  4. Paul Martin

    Like you, I enjoy what I would call the traditional family station wagon, mum, dad and kids with the camping gear in the back for holidays, shopping/hardware store on weekends. Reminds me of my Dads VE Valiant wagon here in Aus

    Like 2
  5. Dans

    Cool, would make a terrific beater, and then parts for my ’66 GT in the long run.. why do people beef about options?? This was 66. There weren’t any, this car would be lucky to do 55 up a hill. And then the breaking distance, everyone cuts in front of you thinking you can stop.. remember these were the good old days, People still think bugs were cool, they. Don’t trust me

    Like 0
  6. JS

    Back in 1964 my family bought a brand new 270 wagon. I still have dreams from time to time that somehow the car survived all these years and we were reunited. Boy do I wish I could buy this one, slightly different body details than the ’64 but the closest I’ve seen to what we had. Talk about nostalgia!

    Like 3
  7. RMac

    Exact replica of a buddies car in high school handed down from his dad to his mom to him
    The back bumper mounts rusted and the bumper fell off so we made a wooden bumper in shop and routed “Wonder Wagon” into it and mounted it so the car could pass NJ inspection that thing ran forever and was a ton of fun

    Like 5
  8. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. This is a car I can see myself driving. While two doors and convertibles are nice, I’ve always liked 4 doors and wagons have always been my favourites. If only more pics were posted. I’ve always loved the 1964-66 Dodge Dart, particularly when powered by the slant six engine.

    Like 4
  9. Troy

    Wow, you don’t see a lot of the wagons around and the price on this isn’t stupid high 3 on the tree means factory anti theft this would make a fun little cruising toy

    Like 4
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      That’s another thing I’ve always loved about cars of this vintage. They could be had with either torqueflyte automatic, 4 on the floor manual, or a 3 on the tree manual gearbox.

      Like 0
  10. Dale L

    The first time I’ve seen a Dart wagon of this era. I would have remembered that neat rear-end! Those dog dishes have to go. How much more would a full set of hubcaps have cost the owner? $5, or $6 more a wheel? I would have negotiated for them with the dealership.

    Like 0
  11. Dg

    I bought one of these last summer wish mine was this clean, did get a little upgrade v8 and automatic

    Like 0
  12. Steve Mehl

    Love the styling that looks so much like a Valiant. So tired of seeing so many SUVs, even though I am forced to own one because of kids. I keep yearning for someone to create a retro station wagon. I guess that was sort of the idea of the Dodge Magnum which did not sell well.

    Like 3
  13. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Sweet X2…..

    Like 0
  14. David Ulrey

    Do I love it? Yes. Am I fairly close? Yes. Can I afford it? Again the answer is yes. SHOULD I buy it? That’s the only fly 🪰 in the ointment. I actually wish it wasn’t so close to where I live.

    Like 0
  15. BrianT BrianTMember

    I like this one, the style, the slant six, the uniqueness. I’d take care of the little rust there is and use it as my summer daily driver.

    Like 1
  16. Fred

    This is the car you buy and road trip back to the east coast. An oil change and maybe new tires, check vital fluids and you’re off. Reminds me of a $500 Valiant I had that never broke.

    Like 1
  17. jwaltb

    Not as pretty as the E-type, but I’ve never seen one before, and I’m a wagon fan for sure.

    Like 1
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      As pretty as an E-Type Jaguar of the time was, and is, it’s not as practical. Can you imagine going on a road trip from Seattle Washington to Miami Florida in a car like an E-type? No thanks. With a Dart wagon, if nothing else, you could sleep in the back of the car with the rear seats folded down.

      Like 0
  18. Rustomodrob

    The slant six is a trooper I tell ya. Fast forward to the 77 Aspen wagon. Had two sisters living next to me in the mid to late 80s. Use to call’em the “half ton twins”. Each coming it at…what looked to me..500 lbs. That suspension was but that six lugged them around without issue.

    Like 1

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