Solid Patriot: 1976 Dodge Dart

It was 1976, and an enormous number of companies jumped on the “bicentennial bandwagon” and tapped into the naturally patriotic spirit of the American people. I mean, who could blame them? An opportunity like that only comes along every…um, 200 years. Barn Finder Pat L spotted this 1976 Dodge Dart Spirit of ’76 for us, so thank you so much for that Pat. It is located in Beto Junction, Kansas, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner of the Dart has set the asking price at $5,100.

Sometimes the planets align, and such was the case with the Dodge Dart. With 1976 marking the end of production of the Dart, there was no better time to tap into America’s patriotic fervor and release a special edition called Spirit of 76. This was a cosmetic enhancement package, featuring red and blue vinyl graphics on a white car, and interior trim that included red, white, and blue cloth striping. This particular “Spirit” still retains the majority of its striping, and the body itself looks to be quite reasonable. The photos and description are limited, but what we can see does look promising.

The interior of the Dart has survived surprisingly well, although there are a few issues to be addressed. The dash pad has collapsed, and that distinctive upholstery on the front seats has also become quite shredded. The rest of the interior looks to be original, and it seems to be in pretty acceptable condition. I think that a new dash pad, new covers for the front seats (if you can locate the material), new armrests for the doors, and a really good clean, would have the inside of the Dart looking good.

Unfortunately, there are no photos of the engine, but we know that the Dart is fitted with the venerable 225ci slant-6 engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. The owner refers to it as “all original,” but tells us nothing else. The one crumb of comfort is that those slant-6 engines are pretty tough old things, so there is every chance that it is in good health.

When it comes to limited-edition vehicles, knowing just how “limited” they really are can be key to determining just how much this can impact values. There are some pretty contradictory figures on the Spirit of 76, and these range from figures as low as 200 cars, through to figures of 1,000 cars or more. Looking at this Dart in isolation, it is not a cheap car for a Dart of this era, but nor is it particularly expensive. What I will say is that this Dart is now 43-years-old. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone buys the car and restores it to its former glory. After all, we are nearly halfway to the tricentennial, and it would be great if this old Dart was around to celebrate that.

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Comments

  1. Scot Carr

    ~ When was the last time anyone saw a SlantSix with a 4speed??

    Like 11
    • 36Packard

      All the time in those days. It was over driven in 4th, for fuel economy. Also, it never occurred to me, in 2026 it will be 250 years. man does time fly! 1976 seems like yesterday. I recall one helluva party that day. Also, I remember seeing many of these, 200 cars?1000 cars? I bet many more then that.

      Like 14
    • Fiete T.

      Bought a ’76 Aspen wagon a couple years ago for $300. Spirited the “Super 6” slant 6, the CI 4-speed OD, pedals, hump, linkage, and dash- mounted reverse light (w/wiring). Scrapped the rest, cleared about $750

      Like 7
    • Arthell64 Member

      I always like these color combo’s from the 70’s. I guess someone would be offended now.

      Like 6
    • fleet butterfield

      I had a ’76 Dart with the slant six and manual tranny. Great car!

      Like 2
  2. Miguel

    That stripe on the fender looks like a US Postal Service logo.

    Like 10
  3. Troy s

    5100 dollars for a potential street machine, it’s already got stripes on it , decent enough wheels and it’s already set up for a manual transmission, shazamm!!! …all it needs is…..

    Like 5
    • Dave
      • Troy s

        Okay, Dave, that’ll work if that’s what you like,..just educated myself on these Dart Lite cars along with the Plymouth “Feather Duster”. Interesting how they lightened these versions using aluminum brackets, intake manifold, aluminum case transmission, some other tricks I’ve already forgot about. Claims of 36 mpg’s are realistic and that was the whole point of the diet plan. Fewer than a thousand were ever built that way, only way to get that from Dodge was the Spirit. Very uncommon.

        Like 1
  4. Bob C.

    A neighbor of mine had a Duster similar to this. I believe his read Hang 10 on the side of the front fenders.

    Like 1
    • Terry Bowman

      I believe the “HANG 10” was a surfing version, where the back seat dropped down to slide the surf board inside.

      Like 3
    • bone

      The Hang 10 was a Dart Sport option , not a Duster

  5. George

    Volare had that fold down seat in 1977…had a couple of them. Handy for lumber yard trips too!

    Like 1
  6. TimM

    What a combo to have a little fun with!!! Slant 6 and a four speed!! I’ve seen a lot of darts with the 6 and a three on the tree but not many four speeds!! Cool ride to pop in a 340 or just use the way it is for a while!!!

    Like 1
  7. Terry Bowman

    Not sure on other years, but in 69′ the 340 came standard with a 3 speed on the floor. Have not see any, though. 727’s auto and 833, 23 splines 4 speeds only, as options. The 18 spline 833 was an option for the big blocks, 440 6 packs and Hemi.

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