In this edition of Muscle Car Milestones, we’ll take a look at the 1967-1969 Dodge Dart GTS. It’s been said that good things come in small packages. The same can be said about the 1967-1969 Dodge Dart GTS. This pint-sized compact packed a punch with V8 power under the hood and a long list of performance amenities. It was a formidable opponent to the Chevy Nova and the Ford Mustang. Let’s see what made the 1967-1969 Dodge Dart GTS a card carrying member of the Dodge Scat Pack.
1967: GT + 383 = New Dart GTS
The Dodge Dart received a major redesign for the 1967 model year. The new Dart sported a dual-plane front end contour with a recessed center section in the bumper, grille, and hood. The Dart’s styling cues also featured a new curved rear window and curved side glass. In addition, signal lamps were placed into the grille between the forward and recessed section of the grille.
The big news for the 1967 Dart was the new GTS package. It was available on both the two-door hardtop and convertible. This performance bundle featured heavy-duty suspension, front disc brakes, redline wide-oval tires, and dual exhaust. The package also included all-vinyl upholstery, foam-padded seats, and full carpeting.
Shoehorning big block power under the hood of a compact car was nothing new. Hot rodders had been doing it for years. So, it should come as no surprise that Dodge applied this formula to the Dart GTS. Under the hood of the Dart GTS lurked a 383 cubic-inch big block V8. It churned out 280 horsepower with 400 lb.-ft. of torque. Unfortunately, all this power came with a compromise. With little room under the hood for creature comforts, power steering and air conditioning were not available.
The 1967 Dodge Dart GTS was a decent performer. With a 0 to 60 time of 6.8 seconds and quarter mile sprints in the low 14s, this pint-sized compact was fairly quick on the street and strip.
The 1967 Dodge Dart GTS was released late in the model year so it’s no surprise its production numbers are pretty low. Approximately 457 were built for 1967.
1968: The Car with the Bumblebee Stripes
Changes were in store for the 1968 Dodge Dart GTS. The Dart GTS now featured round parking lamps in the grille, side marker lamps were added to the front and rear fenders to comply with federal safety standards, and a matte finish was also added to the windshield wipers to comply with federal safety standards.
1968 also saw the addition of a 340 cubic-inch V8 as the standard engine. This new engine featured a high performance camshaft, double-level intake manifold, and a four-barrel carburetor. This powerplant also featured dual exhaust and an unsilenced air cleaner. It was rated at 275 horsepower and 340 lb.-ft. of torque.
Car Life’s September 1968 issue put the 340-equipped Dart GTS to the test. The Dart GTS ran from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds and completed a quarter mile run in 14.68 seconds at 92.2 miles per hour. Car Life took a liking to the Dart GTS 340 declaring “We tested the Dart GTS alongside two of its in-laws, the 1968 Dodge Charger with the 426-cid Hemi V-8 and the Coronet R/T convertible with the 440 Magnum powerplant. The little Dart hardtop became our favorite immediately. While the others proved fine cars in their own rights, neither could equal the Dart’s versatility, agility, road-ability, or even its acceleration.”
The 383 cubic-inch V8 became optional on the Dart GTS for the 1968 model year. It was rated at 300 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The Dodge Dealership Book declared the Dart GTS 383 had a 0 to 60 time under seven seconds. Dodge also boasted the GTS 383 was faster than the Pontiac GTO from 0 to 60.
1969: Running with the Dodge Scat Pack
Exterior changes greeted the Dart GTS for 1969. The Dart GTS featured a black-painted aluminum grille, GT Sport lettering on the rear fenders, and bumble bee striping on the rear fenders. The 1969 Dart GTS also featured rectangular parking lamps in the grille, power bulges on the hood, and an aluminum applique on the rear deck.
The standard 340 cubic-inch V8 and optional 383 cubic-inch V8 carried over for 1969. Even though the 340 wasn’t as powerful as the 383, several members of the automotive press favored the performance of the 340. One complaint plaguing the 383 was its handling abilities due to its extra weight up front. Other drivers complained the 383’s torque was a bit excessive for such a small car.
Speaking of the automotive press, Car and Driver put a 1969 Dart GTS through its paces and clocked a 0 to 60 time of six seconds and a quarter mile time of 14.4 seconds at 99 mph. Car Life also got their hands on a Dart GTS and recorded a 0 to 60 time of 6.3 seconds and a quarter mile time of 14.68 seconds at 96.2 mph.
The Dodge Dart GTS proved that you could get big car performance in a small package. And for those wanting an alternative to the Chevrolet Nova SS, the Dodge Dart GTS proved to be a practical choice for the driving enthusiast. Today, this member of the Dodge Scat Pack is a rare sight since production was fairly low during its three year run. With big car performance, it looks like good things do come in small packages.