No Reserve Project: 1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer

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Dodge introduced the Dart in 1960 as a smaller and more affordable offering within the company’s product range while also filling a void created by DeSoto’s demise. It offered three trim levels, with our feature car rolling off the line as the mid-spec Pioneer. Its history is unclear, and it undoubtedly needs work to recapture its former glory. However, it does appear complete, and the seller has listed it for auction with No Reserve. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Matt H. for spotting this promising Pioneer project.

Dodge had a hit with the Dart because an impressive 306,603 buyers drove one off the lot in 1960. The entry-level Seneca was the popular choice, although the Pioneer’s tally of 80,000 wasn’t shabby. The history of our feature car is unclear, and the low-quality images supplied by the seller make it challenging to assess its overall condition accurately. Time remains on the listing, and it might be worth it for interested parties to contact the seller to negotiate a possible in-person inspection. We can deduce that this classic is largely complete, with only a few minor trim pieces missing. The panels are straight, and there are no glaring signs of rust. The Red and Black paint is tired, and I suspect that if the car doesn’t have rust issues that push it beyond the point of no return, the winning bidder may choose a frame-off restoration, aiming for a high-end result.

 

The “complete but tired” theme continues inside this Pioneer, requiring TLC to achieve respectable presentation. The front seatcover is shredded, but the door trims and dash look surprisingly good. I would love to know the state of the back seat and headliner because if they are okay, a deep clean, a new seatcover, and a carpet set might be all that is required to achieve a driver-grade result. The first owner didn’t tick many boxes on the Order Form, although it does appear they selected a pushbutton radio for entertainment on the move.

 

The 1960 model year brought a significant mechanical development, with Chrysler introducing its legendary slant-six engine across various marques. The Dodge Dart range was one of the lucky recipients, and these engines proved to be giant-killers. The capacity of 225ci was modest by prevailing standards, but it produced an impressive 145hp and 215 ft/lbs of torque. The first owner teamed the six with a three-speed manual transmission, and while the car tips the scales at a relatively heavy 3,580 lbs, it should still produce a sub-20-second ¼-mile ET in its prime. The seller confirms the Pioneer isn’t roadworthy, and the suggestion is that it hasn’t been for a long time. However, hooking up a battery and pouring fuel down the carburetor brings the slant-six to life. That should give the buyer a sound foundation as they return the car to a roadworthy state.

The seller listed this 1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer here on Govdeals in Bowling Green, Virginia. It has attracted reasonable interest, with twelve bids pushing the price to $625. Plenty of time remains on this listing for interested parties to stake their claim, and with No Reserve in play, it is guaranteed to find a new home. Is this a classic you might pursue further, or would you want to perform an in-person inspection before throwing your hat into the ring?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Yblocker

    A full-size 4dr with a boring 6cyl, I believe this one is immuned from any Mopar Madness. I like these cars ok, it could be a nice cruiser, and something rarely seen, but I would have to have a little something more under the hood. But I would keep it period correct, at least a 361

    Like 1
  2. Howard A. HoAMember

    Dodge was very popular around this time, mostly because, its styling had a sense of normalcy, compared to the other Chrysler offerings of the time. A base Dart cost $2715 new, and options put it well over $3grand, almost a grand more than a Plymouth, but look what you got. Not some cornball styled car Hollywood would make fun of( Car 54), Dodge was a respected name, as if Chrysler kept it that way on purpose. Up to $925, going up in $5 increments, I’m sure, and about what most would typically pay for something like this. It’s a big car and needs to be updated with a small V8 and an automatic for best results. A neat find, for sure.

    Like 5
  3. RICK W

    Going to have to DODGE this one! Too many issues. BUT, would love to find a duplicate for family’s 61 Phoenix convertible! Probably one of Exners most polarizing designs until downsized 62 Plymouth and Chicken Wing 62 Dodge. Both were not well received 😕. But Dodge quickly brought out the Custom 880 (rebadged Newport), while Plymouth was in duck soup. None was a suitable replacement for DeSoto. But at least DeSoto went out with FINS soaring high!

    Like 3
  4. Patrick Kennedy

    Had a Pioneer 2 door hardtop. These cars are known for rust issues. Still, this would be tempting if I didn’t have 2 projects already.

    Like 2
  5. John PrillMember

    The first photo grabbed my attention, because I remember when these cars were all over the place in the midwest. A lot of interest went away when I saw the junk on the front seat, and all the stuffing on it showing (back seat looks like it has a lot of clear plastic stuff on it). The seller can’t even clear out that junk for the photos?? Makes me wonder how well this car was maintained when it ran. At least the price is right LOL

    Like 1
  6. Phil Maniatty

    I don’t see the Dodge Dart as having filled any void left by the demise of DeSoto. I think the Chrysler Newport series filled that role.

    Like 6
    • Bostwick9

      Dart was Dodge’s player in the low priced field along with Ford Chevrolet and Plymouth.

      Chrysler stupidly brought out a car that competed in the same arena as it’s own product. It proved popular because it offered a more upscale name for a ‘low priced three’ cost. Sort of the Packard 120 effect.

      From what I have read Plymouth dealers weren’t happy about it at all.

      You are correct, Phil. Chrysler Newports were being advertised as “No Junior Editions $2964*”by 1961 pushing the Dart further into low priced three [and Plymouth] territory.

      Like 0
      • RICK W

        In the 50s-60s,my home town of about 20,000 had Dodge Plymouth, DeSoto Plymouth and Chrysler Plymouth Imperial dealerships! All seemed to thrive. Now at a much larger population, we have Mazda, Buick GMC, Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge Ram. Only Mazda is a locally owned company!

        Like 0
    • Yblocker

      DeSotos went away, because DeSotos weren’t selling, they had become too much the same as a Chrysler, no Dodge model was made to fill the “void ” left by DeSoto. Although maybe for different reasons, 30+ years later, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Plymouth received the same fate

      Like 0
      • RICK W

        IMO, all of the mentioned brands were dropped for corporate greed. Why offer variety when you can push fewer offerings at more profit? Today it’s virtually impossible to find a full size CAR. Chrysler Corp (now owned by Selantis 🤔) concentrates on Ram trucks with a few Dodge small cars. The Chrysler name itself is gone. LOYALTY? When Pontiac was axed, GM took the Buick franchise away from a long time Buick dealer and gave it to a higher volume former Pontiac, GMC dealer. Now that dealership has been sold to a company that has numerous locations and brands. IT’S ALL about the almighty dollar. Now, I’ll get off my soap box and wish all happy Barn Finding!

        Like 0
  7. David Ulrey

    Call me the odd man out I suppose. I wouldn’t spend a million dollars on a concours restoration but I’d take body and paint classes at the local college and dig in. They also have upholstery classes as well. No clue how hard it would be to locate original type material so that could go either way. My son is a mechanic. This one is interesting and honestly I’d drive it once or twice a week for the enjoyment factor.

    Like 1
    • Bostwick9

      I’m not sure original type upholstery would even be necessary for this to make it nice. Something close. Something in a retro atomic age pattern would work just fine.

      One of the objectives of the old Slant Six Club was simply to keep the cars on the road, originality was way down on the list. Clean and complete are just as satisfying as

      That’s it’s a Slant Six is a major part of it’s appeal to me. There’s a whole fan base around that engine. Far more interesting than yet another V8 conversion. It reflects the purpose of this car in the market and the times. 3 Speed on the column makes it even more eccentric and worthy of being brought back to roadworthy condition.

      BTW: no “frame off” restoration. These were unit bodies for 1960 and going forward.

      Like 0
  8. Yblocker

    I just looked through the photos again, this car has a generator, Chrysler was the first with an alternator, in 1960, except for trucks. Seems a little strange

    Like 0
  9. Yblocker

    Just noticed this car has a generator, Chrysler was the first with an alternator in 1960, except for trucks. Seems a little strange

    Like 0

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