Real Wheels: 1969 Dodge Dart brings back high school memories

·2 min read

Jan. 28—FINDLAY — Owning a classic car is a lot like traveling down memory lane ... literally! Ask classic owners why they purchased the car they have and usually, their eyes widen, a smile appears on their face and you know you're in for a great story. Plus, there's a thrill in driving an older vehicle without all the creature comforts the new vehicles offer. Makes people yearn for the hot summers when they were younger cruising the streets.

John Curtis, of Findlay, brought his 1969 Dodge Dart to the Downtown Lima Cruise-In and BBQ. He has owned this car for eight years.

The Dodge Dart was introduced in 1960 and went through transformations from full-size to mid-size to compact car.

"The Dart was one of the most successful compact cars ever introduced in the American automobile marketplace," said R.D. McLaughlin, then vice president of Chrysler's Automotive sales division.

It was true, the mighty dollar was the reason the Dodge Dart sold so well. The print advertising for the 1969 Dodge Dart read, "6,000 RPM for less than $3,000 ..."

"I had one in high school and had to sell it, so 40 years later, I rebuilt pretty much what I had," said Curtis.

Curtis purchased this car from an owner in Michigan.

"I tore it down completely and rebuilt it," said Curtis.

Probably the best year to buy a Dart in terms of performance was 1969, as buyers had options for engine size. The buyer could get the car with an engine size of a Slant Six, to a 340 small-block or even a 440 HP big-block.

His car features a 440 V-8 engine and includes a manual four-speed transmission.

"I probably put 1,500 miles on it this year. I drive it whenever I can," said Curtis.