©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The 1969 Dodge Dart GTS had a lot of power, but it was somewhat lacking in the finesse department. See more muscle car pictures.
If Dodge had a muscle car to rival the energetic small-block Chevy, it was the Dart with the eager, free-revving 340-cid V-8. Underrated at 275-bhp, a 340 Dart could crack off easy mid-14-second ETs, to the embarrassment of many a big-block supercar. But this was the '60s. Balance and finesse were not the order of the day. If the 340 was good, a 383-cid Dart would be even better. Right? Not necessarily, as evidenced by the 1969 Dodge Dart GTS.
Dart had been redesigned for '67, and the two-door hardtop enjoyed pleasing, if undramatic, proportions. The 340 and 383 came on board for '68. The 340 was standard in the showcase GTSport trim level, which included bumblebee tail stripes to mark its membership in the new Dodge Scat Pack collection of performance cars.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The four-barrel, 383-cubic-inch optional V-8 in the 1969 Dodge Dart GTS was bigger than the standard 340, although that didn't improve performance.
Optional in the GTS was the 383 four-barrel. It was rated at a realistic 300 bhp. The 340, however, actually produced 300 bhp or more, and weighed 90 pounds less than the 383. Where the GTS's heavy-duty suspension was a fine match for the 340, allowing power to flow smoothly to the pavement, the 383 upset this balance. Traction off the line was poor, and ETs were no quicker.
For '69, the 383 got the full Road Runner/Super Bee treatment and horsepower climbed to 330. As in '68, Dodge made some changes to the GTS's suspension when the 383 was ordered, increasing the diameter of the front torsion bars and front sway bar. But the same heavy-duty six-leaf rear springs and E70xl4 tires were retained. Transmissions were shared, as well: either a heavy-duty four-speed or high-upshift TorqueFlite, both with 3.23:1 gears standard and 3.55:1 or 391:1 available with the optional Sure Grip diff.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. A delicate touch was needed on a the gas pedal to ease the 1969 Dodge Dart GTS into the proper RPM range.
A sensitive foot on the gas pedal still was required to get a 383 Dart off the line without wasting precious seconds simply smoking the tires. But once hooked up, the '69 car's extra power seemed finally to make this marriage work. It still wasn't the best all-around engine in this application, but what would the '60s have been without a little excess?
Return to Classic Muscle Cars Library.For more cool information on muscle cars, go to:
- Dodge muscle cars were among the fastest and wildest. See profiles, photos, and specifications of more Dodge muscle cars.
- Muscle cars came in many shapes and sizes. Here are features on more than 100 muscle cars, including photos and specifications for each model.
- Muscle cars created their own culture. To learn about it, read How Muscle Cars Work.
Check out these profiles of muscle cars, which include photos and specifications for each model:
- Cougar pulled out of Mustang's shadow with the striped and spoilered 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator.
- Beep, beep! Make way for one of the baddest muscle cars of all time, the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi.
- The 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am combined sports-car handling and muscle car power.
- An all-aluminum, race-proven V-8 defined the rare and wicked 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
For related car information, see these articles:
- The engine is what gives a muscle car its flamboyant personality. To learn everything you need to know about car engines, see How Car Engines Work.
- Muscle cars wouldn't have much muscle without horsepower -- but what exactly is horsepower? How Horsepower Works answers that question.
- NASCAR race cars embody the muscle car philosophy of power. Read How NASCAR Race Cars Work to find out what makes these charged-up racers go.
- Are you thinking of buying a 2007 muscle car, or any other car? See Consumer Guide Automotive's New-Car Reviews, Prices, and Information.