Replacement For Plymouths: 1960 Dodge Dart

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The 1960 Dodge Dart Seneca was a product of some brand rearranging at Chrysler. Since Dodge dealers would no longer be able to sell Plymouths, they needed a smaller, less expensive car to complete their lineup. The Dart was the answer. Maybe it’s your classic car fulfillment answer too! It’s located in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, and is being sold here on eBay at no reserve, with bidding well under $1,000 as I write.

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The car looks remarkably complete from the rear, with even the vulnerable tail lights and housings looking to be in serviceable condition. There’s a lot of rust, though, as the seller states in the advertisement. I really like the wraparound rear window and the way it echoes the windshield.

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I’m not really sure what’s going on around the headlights, but the seller does state that there are some parts in the trunk, which I hope include the headlight components that are missing in this photo. The bumper is kinked a little as well, but right now it’s going for only a little more than it would bring as scrap metal–not that I’d ever recommend scrapping the car!

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The interior is rough, and the seller tells us the entire floor will have to be replaced. While that’s certainly a labor-intensive job, it can be done by a home restorer if the panel is available. I wasn’t able to find one, but perhaps I was looking in the wrong places. Does anyone know if you can get a replacement floor panel for this Dart? If you can’t, it’s possible to locally fabricate and patch things, but it will be considerably more difficult.

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The seller tells us that this is the first year for the famous slant six inline engine, but unfortunately this one is seized from lack of use. Hopefully it can be freed up through the use of penetrating oil or diesel fuel. Overall, I would call this a challenging project, but it can be done with a lot of work. Are you up to it?

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Comments

  1. JayGryph

    Neat, just sold one and a hardtop. Cool engine, that 318 poly. Floor pans can be bought for these. Unique looking car.

    • Dave Wright

      That poly 318 slant 6?

      • JayGryph

        Nah, mine had the poly. This one has the slant. Just noting that the Poly these optionally had is a neat engine. Cool valve covers.

  2. Rick

    Not sure what you get for scrap where you are, but in my neck of the woods it’s only $20 ton, so with bidding currently at $800 it’s selling for way more than scrap. But nice bondo sculpture work on the front fenders.

    • Jason Houston

      Hey, give this poor old girl a break. It’s far better than a 1960 PLYMOUTH!!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Rick, my info is probably out of date–about a year and a half ago I scrapped a car and got almost $375 for it (big old Chrysler LHS).

  3. Ed P

    I wonder what the officials at Chrysler were thinking when they made this car. It was direct competition to Plymouth. It even used the same body with a different (and more appealing) front and rear clip. Schizophrenia must have been rampant in the Ivory Tower. I think this car would be useful as a parts car.

    • Jason Houston

      Indeed, schizophrenia was running rampant at Chrysler!

  4. Charlie G

    I’d like to know where the author of this information gets it from. The fenders are probably filled with so much Bondo that they weight more now than when new. The pockets over the top of the headlamps were notorious for getting filled wet dirt and road sand causing the damage you see here (the same amount of damage could be found on almost the complete Chrysler line of cars – Dart, Fury, Newport, New Yorkers, Imperials, etc. That Slant 6 has had work done it. The original color of the engine was a metallic blue green. The valve cover is from another 6. The engines never, ever came in two opposing colors. The original body color looks to have been Gunmetal Gray by the looks of the dash and door panels ( my mothers’ 1960 Matador was of the same color, while my grandfathers 1960 ‘SENECA’ Dart was Spruce Green Metallic, and my great uncles 1960 Pioneer was an Eggshell White (he worked for the Dodge Division at the Hampstead plant)- I eventually became owner of all three vehicles while I was in the service and on home during leave). 1960 was the FIRST year for the 225 cu.in. Slant 6, while the 170 and 190’s were carry overs from 1958/59 model years which replaced the strong but under powered ‘L’ Head Straight 6 that was in the Dodges from about 1954-1958. The worse part of any of the Chrysler designs in the early 60’s was the rear springs sagging after a few years and the drum brakes on all four corners fading after serious braking (not to mention the internals were made of soft steel).

    • Ed P

      Charlie: The 170″ and 225″ slant 6’s appeared the new 1960 model cars. The flat head 6 was used until the end of production on the ’59 models. The 190 you are referring to may be the 198″ slant 6 that was introduced in the 1970 compacts.

      • Charlie G

        Thanks for correcting my history on the engines. While I grew up in an ALL Mopar family, I didn’t pay as much attention to the history of an engines showcase as I should have. When my grandfather told me that the 225 came out in 60, he made it sound like it came out after the 170 had been on the market awhile, and that the 198 came out at the same time. This was during a conversation we had back in about 1971. My )(&^ up. It was my first experience with selective hearing. And I wasn’t even dating then. I’ve had my fair share of Chrysler products over the past 45 years. Some that were given to me, while I purchased others. Everything from a 56 Coronet Royal with a 354 to my present 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 with a 360 ( I grew up here in America where I didn’t learn METRIC, I learned STANDARD) so I can give a &)# less when someone corrects me using litres. Between that 56 and the 2001 there were a total of 31 Mopars, plus a 1963 Impala, that sat in my driveway. And I mean ‘sat’ literally for a few of those. From the time my dad threw a wrench in my hand at the age of 8, until a few years ago, I just worked on them. I rebuilt the engines, transmissions (both automatics and manuals), and 3rd members. Did the body work with the dolly’s, hammer, fiberglass and on the more serious ones, steel patches or total replacement. When parts stores started to ask for VIN #’s and engine sizes in litres, I knew I was out of my comfort zone. The question I asked myself was what made a 360 in this truck that much different from the 360 in another truck built in the same year require a VIN#? And that was just for a carb intake gasket. And when a Dodge dealership tells you that the majority of engine parts are no longer available for your 1996 LHS, you pack it in. I scrapped it back in October of last year. I still like looking at the older vehicles. Occasionally, I run into the guy that bought my 69 Road Runner for $500 bucks back in 1986 (they weren’t going for much back then, my union was on strike and I needed to buy groceries for the family). As of 2014, he’s got a price tag on it asking $48K. And he didn’t have to do much with it since I had kept it garaged. But if you ever run into a guy at a car show that’s bitching about how he and his mechanic can’t figure out why his 1960 318 constantly overheats no matter what they have tried, refer him to a late 1968, early 1969 TSB that Chrysler put out concerning the internal casting error of the 1960 and 1961 version. My mother’s Matador had such an engine. The guys at the local Chrysler /Plymouth dealership (Learner’s Sales and Service. Closed since about 1985) years ago called it the ‘Franklin’ block, after the engineer who discovered the flaw. Once again, thanks for the correction. I needed it.

  5. GOPAR

    I currently own a two door 1960 Seneca which started out a bit better than this one. I bought mine 8 years ago for the princely sum of $700 and drove it home (about 40 miles). It is also a slant six with a three on the tree. Mine is now restored and is a beautiful car and a joy to drive, but it wasn’t cheap to get it from where it was to where it is now. These are pretty scarce. The mechanical parts are readily available, but replacement body parts are hard to come by. The vintage car salvage yards which have anything for these are are extremely “proud” of their parts.

  6. Pfk1106

    My dad had a 60 desoto adventurer. He loved that car. Interesting that this dodge has the same 5 button panel to the left of the steering wheel. On the desoto it was the push button transmission. It’s just blank here.

  7. Ben T Spanner

    My father bought a new 1960 Phoenix Convertible with 318 four barrel. A guy remarked that his sister had a 1960 Dart slant six and was getting 18 MPG. He told his sister not to let the dealer mess it up, as the mileage was so good.

    The car was special ordered. There was a factory strike, and the car arrived shortly after the strike was settled. Lots of loose ends. The speedometer was certified, as in a cop car. The right rear turn signal blinked when the left front was on. No parts available, so the dealer cracked a junction block apart and taped it together. The build quality was below even the 1958 Plymouth Belvedere convertible; which was its stable mate

  8. TLouisJ

    http://portland.craigslist.org/clc/cto/5377840039.html Here’s another one….nicer but more $$$ in Oregon. If you just gotta have one…….. Terry J

  9. Dennis M

    Best thing on this beast would be the tail lights. They fit perfectly as a bolt-on conversion for ’55-’56 Fords. Had a pair on my ’55 back in the day.

  10. Ed Williams

    Try Desert Valley Auto Parts in Phoenix, Az. They may have body parts for this one.

  11. Slickimp

    An old friend of mine just after high school bought a 60 phoenix convert it was a father and son project . but dad did most of the work car looked real nice when it was done back in mid 80s .think he still has it . baby blue with white top he even put a set of ster horns on the font lol it was a very unusual car there are not many of them. Last summer went to look at a car and a guy had a senica on the property that he had just gotten needed work but looked in good shape.

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