I stumbled into these by accident, but they do make a nice follow-up to my “Who Killed the Big American Car” article the other day. As I’m sure you all know, Chrysler responded to the sharp drop in big car sales starting in 1958 with a massive project to right-size the full-size car. The result was objectively the best American car since the 1955 Chevy: taut, lithe, efficient, powerful, and yet roomy. But it was not a big success; too small and too exotic to the typical buyer. So in response to its screaming dealers, Dodge cobbled up a borrowed ’62 Chrysler body with an old ’61 Dodge front end and rushed it into production, and its target demographic was all-too obvious.
No hinting around or subtlety here.
Not surprisingly, it was a very big dud; all of 18k sold in the second half of 1962, 28k in 1963, and 32k in 1964.
I was hoping to find a ’62 Dodge Dart ad targeted to women. No such luck, but the body language dynamics in this one are decidedly different than the 880 images: he’s now passively laying down in her lap. Wouldn’t see a Dodge 880 BIG car man doing that, eh?