1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix D-500 Convertible Coupe

In 1960, Dodge shifted gears, stepping away from its mid-range position and into the competitive world of economy cars. Their target? Ford, Chevrolet, and even their own entry-level brand, Plymouth.

But Dodge’s “economy” wasn’t synonymous with stripped-down or sluggish. The new Dart offered a range of trim levels and a choice of five engines, with the top-of-the-line Dodge Dart Phoenix appealing to those seeking a touch of luxury. Consumers were drawn to the Dart’s stylish design, penned by Virgil Exner. It mirrored the larger, pricier Dodges – the Matador and Polara – giving a sense of upscale without the hefty price tag.

Unibody construction, a hallmark of all 1960 Chrysler models (except Imperial), made the Dart stronger, quieter, and roomier than traditional body-on-frame designs. Three trim levels (Seneca, Pioneer, and Phoenix) catered to various budgets, while a variety of body styles – from convertibles to station wagons – ensured there was a Dart for almost any lifestyle.

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