Oh, admit it. You can’t resist this quirky, dorky, adorable little wagon. Can you? Anyone? OK, so I’m still trying to justify shipping this thing from Sandy, OR, to my Michigan home back in November. It’s the first car I’ve ever bought sight unseen, because I’m normally smarter than that. However, the Dart showed up looking pretty much how the seller (a salvage yard, by the way) described it, so maybe there’s some hope yet, I hope.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had much of a chance to drive my new ’65 Dart 170 wagon. Winter is upon us in Michigan, and it’s been a bad one, so before the snows came, I strengthened the antifreeze, started her up and drove up and down the block a few times. The clutch chattered; the exhaust was a little steamy, even for an ambient temperature of 35 degrees and undoubtedly a copious amount of time sitting; and I thought I noticed the unmistakable aroma of 15W-40 in the cloud that intermittently wafted from the tailpipe.
It needed a new positive battery cable before I could even get it cranking without a jump box, and the steady 13.0 volts I measured at the battery with the engine idling doesn’t exactly fill me with high hopes for a healthy alternator.
On the plus side, the old 170 slant six has a pretty good reputation for toughness, so a few miles under her belt might be all it takes; that’s what I’m telling myself until the other foot comes down, anyway. The good news is that, unlike Michigan cars, the Dart seems to have minimal rust. The “trunk” floor is like new, the subframes are perfectly solid, and other than two spots around the rear drains, so are the floors. The quarters have been poorly patched, but I plan to get this thing operational before I make it pretty.
Well, I don’t know if it will ever be “pretty,” but I like it. The week I bought it, my tastes ran along the lines of a mid-60s compact wagon. I’d have taken another Corvair, maybe a Nova, and I love Comets. A Rambler would have made my year. However, this Dart popped up on Ebay one Sunday morning, and I decided to keep an eye on it. As the sale date grew nearer, and the price wasn’t climbing, I took a step I rarely take–I decided to bid on something I’d never seen in person.
After I emailed the salvage yard that was offering it for sale, they sent me some undercarriage pictures and assured me they’d been driving it around and it ran well. I figured that at my max price, I wouldn’t be out much if it wasn’t what I hoped it would be, whatever that was.
When the auction ended with “You won this item,” I was a little shocked, assuming someone would outbid me at the last minute, which is what often happens on Ebay. Apparently, people aren’t as excited about Dart wagons as I am. The final sale price was $1525, which was probably about right, but the $850 shipping fee is what turned this into an underwater venture immediately. Man, I’m stupid sometimes.
Oh well, I’ve done dumb things before. A ’65 Dart wagon may not be traditionally cool, but it’s genuinely weird, so I dig it. There’s a touch of buyer’s remorse in my talk, but deep down, I’m pretty excited about my new adventure. I just love buying beaters and fixing them up over time. It spreads out my investment, and I have lots of fun.
Oh, I know there will be some heartbreak involved, too; there always is. There is already a list of things the Dart needs just to be driveable sitting on my kitchen counter right now, so I know this will be a $5000/$12,000 car someday soon. In other words, it’ll be worth $5000, but I’ll have $12,000 in it.
So, without further adieu, there it is: Chapter One of a hopefully happy tale about a man and his Dart wagon. After getting a few bugs worked out, my first step is to install new carpet and seatbelts, and have my bodyshop friends paint the interior metal so my better half doesn’t feel like she has to take a shower when we emerge from a cocoon of filth. She’s taking it pretty well, actually. In fact, when the Dart arrived on the trailer, she gave me a present, the brochure for ’65 Dodge Wagons.
Now that I have the brochure, I’m going to HAVE to keep it, aren’t I? Life’s conundrums…
I like it!
Thanks for saving and salvaging such a cool vehicle.
Keep it that color. It is so 1965.
I know you’re the dude who has to live with this wagon’s expensive realities, but I respect you for saving it.
You did fine. Thats a $2500 car all day long. And you COULD pull the 170 and sell it to me, and replace it with a 225….I got to do something with that Hyper-Pak kit I got….
I may pull it yet! We’ll see how it goes! Thanks for the pep talk on price…. 🙂
225 really was the best slant 6. BTW, minus the shipping, I would have definitely gone for that wagon myself as well. I love old Darts.
Even with shipping, I think that you did great! Of course, my daily driver is a 1965 Plymouth Valiant 100. It has the little 170 /6 in it. A very peppy little powerplant, and it does alright on the interstate, considering it has the manual 3 speed tranny. Your wagon looks close to the same color as my Valiant, inside and out. I love it, you did good!
Thanks to all who like it…
I like it, too, and without much rust, I’m already time and money ahead, but I really do it because I love cars. If I had all that money back, you know what I’d do with it. 🙂
I sympathize. I know how you feel about buying a car off eBay and it being not as good as hoped, and about spending more than double the resale value of the car on a restoration. It’s a “hobby”, not an investment, right? 🙂
At least it sounds like your new toy has “good bones”. I will not buy another Chrysler from the rustbelt without thoroughly inspecting the undercarriage. Mechanical work and welding I can do myself in my garage. Exterior bodywork and paint not so much, at least not if I want it to actually look good and last. And bodywork is expensive, especially for a vehicle that the aftermarket doesn’t make repair panels for.
Congrats on the purchase. Hopefully you feel better about it in the spring, once you roll up your sleeves and dig into it.
You did very well here ! .
A nice little car , it will be fun to drive as well as economical , I Like MoPar A Bodies .
13 VDC @ idle is *perfect* , few get over 12 at idle speeds .
I was wondering about that…The voltmeter rises as I rev the engine. My GMs and Ford seem pretty steady at about 13.5-14.5V most of the time, but I’ve never had an old Chrysler.
You have an ammeter, not a voltmeter. That ammeter is very sensitive and will show both current draw and rate of charge. In fact, other than the starter, the positive wire from the battery goes straight to that ammeter, and everything else in the car is downstream from that. You might want to pull it out of the dash and make sure that the connections are tight, as when it shorts out, it is not pretty. A master shutoff between the battery and ammeter might not be a bad idea for extended sitting.
If this generation of A body used firewall plugs to get power from the engine compartment into the body, these are probably where you are losing some voltage. BOC will know more about this.
These had 9volt ignition with a 12 volt system theres a regulator somewhere that can be removed and the ignition upgraded, improves starting dramatically.
I was about to say anything above 12.8 usually means the alternators at least trying to do something. I would n;t worry about it.
Yes, at idle the (35A?) alternator is putting out maybe only 5-10A. Hold the engine at 1500rpm and take the voltage reading – it should be a tad bit higher at that speed.
I’ll check it out…
That’s how little time I’ve spent with the car; I didn’t know if it had a voltmeter or an ammeter!
If the ammeter swings to the +/C side when you rev the engine and doesn’t swing too far to the -/D side at idle except for when you have the heater on high and the lights on you are OK. The big thing is that after a short period of running at speed it needs to return to the center and stay there until you idle for an extended period again.
What a neat wagon. Very solid and complete looking so I don’t think you are too far off money wise. The mechanical bits should be straightforward. Thanks for saving it from a scrapyard!
Boy, that reminds me of the 1965 Dart 270 2-door sedan I had. Exactly the same interior, but the exterior was dark metallic turquoise.
You might try rubbing out and waxing some of the interior painted metal surfaces – maybe you can avoid the mess associated with painting them.
The metal’s pretty beaten up, scratched, surface rusted. That’s why I’m having the body shop handle it instead of doing it myself. They can make the mess! I’m going to replace the carpet anyway, so I’ll put an old tarp down or something. We’ll see how it goes when I can get it out to mess with it some more.
That is one cool wagon. Enjoy!
Great wagon, I always liked these. I have never driven one with a 170, but I understand that it is a lot more of a revver than the 225 is. I wonder if you could fit an overdrive unit to it?
I have always loved the A body wagons of the first two generations. I look forward to more reports. Hopefully it is fairly sound and you won’t have to break the bank on the mechanicals.
My father had a ’68 Dart with the 170 and 3 on the tree. It is a revver; in good (stock) shape,they can turn 6000 rpm; a very eager little mill. But what it needs more than an overdrive is a proper “third” gear; the gap between second and third is too big; a real hole in spirited driving or in hilly country, because of its modest torque down low (not so much an issue with the 225). But realistically, that may not be an issue in your part of the world or your driving style.
Obviously, a four speed stick would solve the missing gear, but if one was to change transmissions, a five speed would be the way to go, to get an overdrive too.
Is it possible to throw a vintage-accurate aftermarket overdrive on this car? Not sure what was common during the time. Sounds like that could be the solution to that particular conundrum…
I don’t think Chrysler offered overdrive on these. My quick look indicates that it was last offered in passenger cars in 1959. Ford and Studebaker seem to have been the ones that offered the Borg Warner unit the longest into the 60s. Studebaker, in particular, seemed to sell a lot of OD cars right up to the end.
On my 225, I learned a trick that really woke it up. There is a heat shield gasket under the carb that measures maybe 3/8 inch thick. I doubled that gasket. Hot starting improved A LOT. A side benefit was that I found I could increase the timing to maybe 10-12 degrees BTDC (stock is 0 degrees) without pinging. This was trial and error, I just kept advancing it until I got some pinging, then backed it off. The car would really scat then, and gas mileage improved as well. The downside was that cold-start warmup took a little longer (and driveability while cold was not as good) so I only did this from late spring to early fall, then reverted to a single gasket for colder weather.
Not sure what the effect would be on a 170, but you might give it a try.
I’ve found that most of my old stuff likes a ton of initial timing, probably because of the low-quality of gasoline now. I always modify the distributors to limit mechanical advance at the same time, so I maintain 30-35 total advance.
I understand the spacer deal, too. My Corvair and ’53 Buick (Inline 8) are terrible with heat soak, so I actually created a fuel bypass system back to the tank on the Buick to allow for expansion, which helped a lot.
The gasoline today is much higher quality than what was available back in the day, or at least much more consistent in quality so you can get away with more timing w/o having problems. With the less consistent gas of yesteryear you might have been able to get away with more timing on one tank of gas and then get serious pinging on the next tank of gas.
It might be consistent, but I don’t think it’s blended for carburetors. It seems to have a far lower percolation point, and if I run my Corvair and Skylark at factory initial advance; they run pretty terribly. My Skylark is supposed to run 2.5* initial from the factory; I run 13 initial, 30-31 total. At 2.5*, it won’t even get out of its own way, and I verified top dead center to ensure the balancer read correctly. My Corvair’s the same way, at 6*, it’s just a dog, so I recurved it to run 14* initial like a 110 model. Much better.
Old, worn distributors dont advance evenly as when they were new, if they ever did. I set the old cars at about 30 degrees max and let the idle advance fall where it may. Modern gasoline is higher quality, but contains oxygenate (ethanol) which changes combustion a bit. It also contains more alkylate, which is the key ingredient in aviation gasoline. This raises antiknock index without lead, but slows combustion, which may also be why more advance is desirable. The downside is more CO and unburned hydrocarbons at idle, but old cars dont have to pass smog checks. I verified this last point using a ’67 VW with stock carb and ignition.
CC needs to start a Buyer’s Remorse Support Group. You did good for eBay. Would Shadetree John’s Used Car Emporium have sold it to you for any less than what you have in it now once he saw you snapping at the bait? Cars like that go for stupid crazy money here, like $2999 easily. Start with the brakes and go from there until it’s reliable. Keep it out of the weather.
I don’t think you did something stupid. The body looks solid and looks to be in great shape for something that old and it runs sort of. The body alone would be worth $2500- $3000. So I think you did good. However I am a bit disappointed in you as you are using the winter to put off working on that fine car. You could have bought a junk yard Slant 6 and started rebuilding it over the winter and then when spring comes you only need to pull the old engine, replace the clutch and put the rebuilt engine in and boom you are off to the races 😉
My garage is filled to the brim with cars (I actually have to store one off site), so big jobs like engine rebuilds have to wait until I can move everything around…
AND, I’m hoping the engine is passable for the 1000-1500 a year I’ll likely put on it. You know how that will work out. 🙂
Here’s a ’65 Valiant /6 wagon that’s still a regular long-distance daily driver, with close to 500k miles on it: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1965-plymouth-valiant-daily-driver-the-ultimate-roach/
Maybe you should turn it into your DD? FWIW, a /6 A Body would be my pick if I was going to have a 60s car as a DD.
I couldn’t subject it to the salt in the winter; it would be gone in an instant! It would be fun while it lasted though…
Nice looking Dart you got there AA. In facts it’s in better shape then the ’65 two door sedan with a 225 I had back in the 70s; also had a ’61 Lancer and a couple of Valliant’s. The guy I got it from thought the motor was shot the way it clattered; but all it needed was a valve adjustment, they were out to about 100 thousands. Even then most people were so used to the V8’s having hydraulic lifters that it never occurred for him to check the valves. After I set the valves, .010 intake and .020 exhaust if I’m not mistaken, it quieted right down and I drove it for a couple years, just need to check them every 10,000 miles or so.
Nice I like it a lot,you got a good deal
I love compact wagons of this era. Except for safety, it would make a great car for me to take to Boy Scout camping trips.
As a young kid I had a Little Golden Book about a family going camping. They drove their station wagon – a generic one rather like this – to a lake to camp, and went swimming and picking blueberries. It was of course horribly sexist, as while the boys and dad went hiking and berry picking, mom and little sister stayed at camp and cooked and cleaned. I was surprised that that went right over my daughter’s head when we read it. She rather liked the book, probably both because of the subject (camping) and because it had been her dad’s book.
+1 on all of the “you done good” comments!
Keep it as long as it still makes you smile and the $ don’t get too crazy. 🙂
Very nice find-I am jealous. I was looking for a 60s Mopar compact to put a 225 in, but couldn’t find much locally. I ended up buying a 63 Corvair Monza convertible, but still don’t have it at home. (Had to replace clutch cable and a few other minor things before being able to drive it).
That little wagon is very sweet! With a rebuilt 225, Offenhauser intake and two carbs-it could really fly!
I put a new clutch cable in my ’65 Monza convert. when I redid the floors…enjoy your Corvair!
I had a 65 225 manual sedan paid $20 it had a broken rear uni joint, engine ran great they didnt use the baby motor over here, not a bad car really your is in quite good order but the rear is very ugly I’m real glad Chrysler Australia got rid of those awful taillights.
Chrysler Australia used the Plymouth Valiant wagon tail lights.
Makes sense since they used the Plymouth front end too!
Nice car Aaron, looks like a nice driver restoration project. Good luck with it.
I think an early batch of AP5 wagons had US rear lights.
Nice choice, Aaron65. I had a 64 AP5 wagon, push button, 225 and loved it. Found pretty much as a solid beater, but still registered so I was able to just turn the key and drive. Starting on cold mornings – grrrrrrrr.
The occasional great deal still pops up on E-bay amongst the cesspool of “barn-finds”, “rat rods”, and sleazy “vintage” dealers.
The Mopar slant six is SUCH a cool powerplant!! It never dies (well almost never ..lol)
Last year I took mine to the Kumeu Hot Rod Show (here in NZ) ..it’s a 3 speed manual tranny ’69 Chrysler Valiant (an Australian ‘clone’ that looks like a cross between a Plymouth Valiant and a Dodge Dart but mainly a Dart lookalike) with the slantie under the hood, in my case a ‘160hp’ 225 with a special camshaft they put in during ’68 and ’69 only with a fair amount of overlap. This cam timing combined with a smaller choked twin choke Carter carb from the 318 raised power from 145 to 160. There was another so-called ‘Pacer’ version of the Australian slantie with even more power! 175hp I seem to recall, and these are REALLY valuable cars here now..
From 1970 onwards the slantie was dropped here sadly ..and a yuck upright truck engine was used in 245 and 265 cid versions (quite grunty however with ‘hemi’ style heads..)
Anyway, sorry to divert, I was powering along the Maramarua highway on my way back to Thames, cruising along happily at 90 kms, which is the legal limit for this road due to many deadly accidents that happen on it for some unknown reason …when suddenly an amazing blue smokescreen poured out from behind the Valiant obscuring the entire road..
I thought ‘connecting rod through the block’!! …switched-off immediately ..and coasted to a stop..
The blue smoke was still pouring out from the bonnet edges and now I was thinking ‘FIRE!’
Well, after a few minutes the smoke lessened and stopped… there was no sign of any hole in the engine ..it all looked normal, except for oil EVERYWHERE…
I re-started the engine..
To my amazement FOUR streams or ‘jets’ of engine oil were ejecting like mini-fountains at 90 degree angles from the black plastic ‘head’ of the oil pressure sender switch at the top of the oil filter housing.. these were squirting copious high pressure oil EVERYWHERE…including all over the exhaust manifold header pipes
How bizarre is that???
Has anyone EVER had this happen to them?? It is a sixteen dollar screw-in sender switch..sure it’s been there since 1969, but why should exactly FOUR equi-distant ‘holes’ appear in the top of it’s housing .. .. ..
I’ve had several sending units over the years start leaking at the junction of the plastic and metal, but never one this catastrophically. Your lucky it didn’t burst into flame, all it takes for hot oil is a spark, have had that happen.
After reading about the hot-rodded slant sixes available down under I wish Dodge had made the parts available here in the states; it would have made getting along with my wife’s cousin and his 2 barrel equipped Rambler six easier, he could beat me in a drag.
Mate o mine had a 69 Pacer it was then a $300 car but it had a 4 barrell inlet manifold and carb with headers went like hell full instrumentation and 3 speed floor shift fat tyres and KMac suspension, Worth gold now but back in 80s Aussie it was just an old Wog wagon and worthless, Kiwis always appreciated Valiants much more than the Aussies ever did. Check the cohort I shot an immaculate 69 VF Val for sale for 16K here in napierwith 160hp slant 225.
…a 225 Pacer would be a brilliant car to own now ..they seemed mainly to be in bright yellow or bright orange livery with black highlightings very smart and sporty looking.. did you know the ‘160hps’ shared the identical camshaft, but the compression was raised from 8.4:1 in the 160’s to 9.2:1 in the Pacer (which also had a different exhaust set-up) …this tech info is in the spec pages of my current VF’s owner’s handbook
I loved your story on the Corvair convertible, and I look forward to hearing more about this Dart. But hey, “dirty?” Like Paul’s grandfather in A Hard Day’s Night, it looks rather clean to me.
I think even with shipping you got it for a fair price. I would just go paint, mechanical refresh and carpet and call it good. I haven’t seen a car like that in years, nice to see it go to a good home. Simple and tough drivetrain, if you can do most of the mechanical parts are cheap and you will have a cool little gem.
That is an awesome ride! I think the 4-door and wagon versions of the more popular coupes are cooler due to their rarity and cheapness… and it’s easier to haul a kid and all of his gear. I paid very little for my Slant 6 Belvedere and kept it fairly stock except for some ‘Cuda hubcaps and a slight lowering job to get rid of the “nose in the air” look. I have driven a lot of classics and muscle cars but this thing seems to get the most reaction.
Nick, you must not have gotten the Mopar Memo – all 1962-65 B body Mopars MUST be modified in some way, with a minimum engine displacement of 413 cubic inches and super expensive wheels to make the car look like a real racer. And it must be red. You need to get on this, Nick. With cars like yours still around, people might somehow get the idea that Plymouth and Dodge actually made 6 cylinder old maid specials back in the day, which is bad for Barrett-Jackson showings. 🙂
I’m planning it out now. I’m thinking purple instead of red, I can tub the rear for the big wheels and switch to a Mustang II front end. As far as the engine goes, 413+ is a bit unrealistic. If I want to complete the Barrett-Jackson package, I’ll need the 350sbc/ turbo 350 combination. It’s easier and requires no imagination.
Super-clean old 4-door cars are the ultimate bang-for-the-buck. It’s the only real means for average schmoes like me to fully experience Old Car Euphoria. Seeing one on the road puts a smile on my face.
As the proud owner of a ’64 Valiant V-200 Station Wagon, 225, stick. . . .
I congratulate you and wish you a long and happy relationship.
Congratulations! Great wagon! I’ll put my vote in too that you have done nothing stupid. If it’s not rusty and can be on the road and enjoyed for less than $10k then you’re already home free, depreciation on a new car in this range takes anywhere from 10 minutes to a year, depending on the manufacturer.
Looking forward to an update.
Aaron, congrats! That is such a cool little wagon! Lose the buyers remorse, even with the shipping, that’s a deal especially given how solid it is. I kinda want one now.
Your ammeter readings are normal for an old Mopar. The alternator is externally regulated and its perfectly normal to show a voltage drop below 12 if the engine is at idle and you are running accessories. As long as it returns to the + side as you drive, its fine. Since it is a 50 year old car, I would put a meter on it if you haven’t done that already.
People will give you a hard time about the factory 9″ drum brakes. Ignore them and just keep them in good working order; they will be fine unless you are commuting in 5 PM rush hour traffic every day or going around an SCCA course. A front sway bar would really help with handling though.
The /6 is cool and all but a 5.7 Hemi would be much cooler. It bolts right in. Just putting it out there 😉
a 5.7 Hemi would be much cooler. It would be grossly overpowered, but not cooler, by along shot.
As far as the drum brakes go, I have five old cars, 20 drum brakes total…they’re staying!
These brakes have to be better than my ’65 Skylark’s 9.5″ drums…unexpected yellow lights are a bit dicey in that thing!
the Buick should have a single reservoir master cylinder and I think the Dart should have a dual? Im not sure on that generation A-Bodys. That makes a big difference. I drive my 1969 Charger with 4Xdrums daily and never had a problem with them.
A 65 Dart should have still came with a single reservoir MC. Dual reservoir wasn’t mandated until 1967.
Right on. I knew the 67s had them, wasn’t sure about the earlier cars
I don’t think anyone but Cadillac and AMC used a dual chamber master cylinder until the 1967 model year, when it became mandatory.
I think you made a very nice purchase. I hope it brings you a lot of happiness.
I am impressed at how much more spacious it is than Chrysler’s next compact wagons… the Aspen/Volare.
The nice thing about the slant six is that even if it’s burning a little oil it doesn’t mind. It just keeps right on going.
My cousin had a car with an old worn out /6 that he tried to kill. Dumped the coolant, trans in neutral, brick on the gas pedal. Waaaaah! As it heated up it started to run better! He finally killed it with a shotgun.
Keep us updated on your project. That is a sweet sled man. You did good. Slant sixes forever.
My goal is to keep this updated as I get it going this year…hopefully, I’ll have good things to add!
I think you got a decent deal. It isn’t easy to find one of these with so little rust. And the vast majority of parts will be inexpensive. It’s dead simple too. I had a ’65 Barracuda with 225 for many years but it finally rusted to the point of no return.
you and I are living parallel lives it would seem, I have had one positive and one negative ebay experience. The bad: 1972 Citroen DS-21. The good: 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoner. Since then I learned to actually see the car 1st: 1973 Sedan DeVille.
You’ll have fun. I’m enjoying my Mustang even with a spring master cylinder replacement. Any car you don’t have to rely on as daily transportation can be fun.
Love it! Congratulations! The clean body, floor and subframes were worth the price.
That’s a great wagon. Well worth what you paid. I know the place you bought it from. I am surprised they didn’t cancel the sale and part it out.
My mother’s older brother inherited a 1965 Dodge Dart 270 wagon with the 273 V8 from his father-in-law. It was a very handy-sized car which could haul a surprising amount of cargo (as long as a human being could lift it, the Dart wagon could handle it). It got new paint…the same color as the Curbside Classic car…when the original Chrysler finish got dull. Over the years it developed a miss, and his sons and I did a valve job on it. A while later we took out the whole engine and had it overhauled. One day while parked in San Francisco it got hit…by then it was twenty years old and we despaired of finding a left rear quarter for it. I lucked into one at a wrecking yard in San Carlos, CA…it was a lower-line Dart 170 with the narrower trim spear, and we never did find the correct one for a Dart 270 wagon, but at least the car was straight again. The Dart lasted years longer in the family, handed down to Number Two son, until his new wife said she couldn’t stand it, and it was sold. Her problem wasn’t with the condition of the car…it was still in good shape…but that it didn’t conform with her idea of what her image should be. She didn’t want to be SEEN in or near it. Preferred something blah and commonplace like a BMW…
I LOVE IT! And for that price I think it’s a great deal. I’d sooooo love to have the space for a bunch of cars like this that I could sporadically fix up while still driving and enjoying. I vote for keeping the Slant6 and wonderfully 60s color, there can’t be too many like this left and few things you could add would make it any cooler. If I had it, I’d leave it just as it is except for cleaning up the interior and bolting on whatever vintage /6 performance stuff I could find online.
If that buyer’s remorse overwhelms you, however, let us know – I think a few of us (myself included!) would be very interested in taking it off your hands!!
” It might be consistent, but I don’t think it’s blended for carburetors. It seems to have a far lower percolation point, and if I run my Corvair and Skylark at factory initial advance; they run pretty terribly. My Skylark is supposed to run 2.5* initial from the factory; I run 13 initial, 30-31 total. At 2.5*, it won’t even get out of its own way, and I verified top dead center to ensure the balancer read correctly. My Corvair’s the same way, at 6*, it’s just a dog, so I recurved it to run 14* initial like a 110 model. Much better. ”
You have stumbled across one of those old Factory/dealer tuning tips : give it all the ignition advance it’ll take without ping or knock .
The test it : engine hot , go about 35 MPH in top gear and stamp on the throttle ~ if it pings , pull over and back it off one degree then try again ~ this takes time and most ‘ mechanics ‘ are far too lazy so they simply ignored this detail they were ALL taught .
Reason being , each engine is a little bit different and so some will take a bit more total ignition advance , typically 31° ~ 34° BTDC all in , occasionally as much as 36° like in my old 1963 356B Coupe .
Learning this really helps wake up old low compression engines and makes the run as they should and no ‘ dieseling ‘ either .
You’re correct , to – day’s Foo-Foo ” motor fuel ” _isn’t_ Gasoline , it’s crap .
For a few months in 1982, I owned a ’66 Dart 4-door with a stick…can’t remember which slant 6 it had but the stick shift rocked.
I called it “Dartface”. The heater worked and it wasn’t badly rusted so I had it made.
Have fun with that ’65. If sinking $5-12K makes it drive like a million bucks, and you actually DRIVE and ENJOY it when you can, then to me that’s money well spent.
And no one can confuse it for a Camcord toaster.
This is the VF that squirted the oil …just a cosmetic clean of the engine bay and a new sender switch screwed in ..and all good again!
..here’s a rear view
..the oil squirting ‘slantie’ (225 160hp)
..getting just slightly personal here (inside the trunk ..or ‘boot’ as NZer’s call it) lol
rt side pic
Great colour combo.
Thanks …it had one owner for 31 years… after 2 years’ of ownership he had it painted this colour combo (back about ’73) and the roof is actually a colour used on the previous push button AP5 models of ’63 ..whereas the lighter green is a ’71 HQ Holden colour …originally the was car was all white and it was shame really he didn’t keep it original.
The other thing he did was to disconnect the fuel supply at the filter and remove the carburettor. In it’s place there is just a big spout with a butterfly valve being fed LPG exclusively.. this means there is a 28 degree ignition advance to take advantage of the higher octane rating and the slower burning of the LPG.
The original cast iron exhaust manifold split at some stage and he fitted a set of very long thinnish individual header pipes which are great for torque… the exhaust system is unbaffled …so there is quite a MOPAR sound coming out of it .. :))
Those HQ metallics are awesome. I had the 225 in the AP5 and the 245 in a VG. Straight LPG I haven’t done, but the boot of the hardtop had plenty space for a tank. Mine were both white, your watermelon tonings are more succulent.
yeaaah ..specially that amazing ‘soft pink metallic’ lol ..they used it on the ’74 Sunbird too… our factory manager had a soft pink 202 LH Sunbird which was so cool as he was a big tuff guy ..we all laughed our heads off every time we saw him coming and going in it .. :)) …in those days you took what was available unless you had overseas funds and an import license.. obviously soft metallic pink wouldn’t have been his first choice ..haa
…so which engine did you like best??? :)) ..guess the 245 had more poke ..but the old 225 was very good on low down torque at around only 1600rpm.. (?) :))
I do have to say the best MOPAR donk in that ‘Dart’ body was the good old LA 318..
…remember laying rubber for 50 metres straight when I used to boot my old man’s VG Safari Regal
fuuny thing was when he got the 360 in a CJ Limo 3 years later it wasn’t the same thing ..the 318 in the VG was a lot quicker and livelier (and heaps of fun)
That soft pink rocks. Gimme a Prem wagon in that and its a keeper
Yep. 245 nicer. Spent time in Adelaide so saw all sorts of aussiepar. Best I heard of was a VE VIP Safari which I missed and a VG Pacer wagon which I verified was one of 9 out of factory. One-offs are very believable out of Chrysler Australia.
The HQ was a good machine …I think the 308 was a better engine than the little 253 …mine (’72 Kingswood 253 sedan) cut out all the lifter/cam lobe areas when it was only two years old from new …they said at the time that the 253 had a lubrication problem to the cam valley(???) ..prior to that though I had put in a hydraulic sprint cam, customised headers, a modified intake to take a 4 bbl Holley ..and that thing WENT.. .. ..(for a while) lol
maybe I should have provided more oil supply to the BIGGER lobes down there
..never saw any VIP’s here in NZ other than in the sedan form both in VF and VG ..I think the 318 was slightly detuned in the VF VIP, but back to 230hp/340ft/lbs in the VG..
one of the best home grown mopari was the AP6 Regal V8.. they were gorgeous ..and very quick (and fast) for the time with the little 273 in that light body ..dark metallic two tone green ..yum
I’m here to say congratulations on getting a good deal on a cool old car. Even with paying for shipping, I think you got a good deal, based on the condition of the car. I wonder how many like this are still around in running condition. Has to be a rather rare model of the Dart, as I can’t recall the last time I saw a Dart wagon. I think wagons are cool because they’ve nearly disappeared with the advent on minivans, SUVs, crossovers and hatchbacks. What would be tempting to me even more than this Dart would be a first generation Valiant wagon. I’ll also point out that when the all-new Valiant debuted as a 1960 model, it was NOT a Plymouth, it was just a Valiant; no Plymouth badging whatsoever.
“The Dodge Story,” by Thomas A. McPherson tells that all 1965 Darts rode on a 111″ wheelbase except for wagons (106″). Says only 2 engines were offered, the 170 slant six or the 273 V-8; and the 273 could be had with a 2-barreel or 4-barrel carb. The slant six wagon had a base price of $2407.
There were 23,400 slant six Dart 170 wagons and 6000 with V-8s, according to “Standard Catalog of Chrysler 1924-1990.” Figures rounded to the nearest hundred.
Let me just echo most everybody else: you did good. That is a really neat wagon, and I love the turquoise/turquoise paint. Looking forward to hearing more about it when spring finally arrives!
Nice find, nice project.
You have piqued my interest however it was the 1970 that I found attractive so that is what I will go look for. Wonder what is out there, probably mostly V-8 versions anymore.
The bench front seat has very obvious and compelling benefits, as I remember my high school girlfriend and my mom’s 1971 at the drive-in. Same for rear bench I might add.
Those taillights are stunningly ugly. Be proud.
*VERY* nice car , Craig ! .
..thanks -Nate ! .. 🙂
..i’ve owned it since ’04 ..and picked it up off an online auction site for only $2700 ..had to have it railed up from the south island where because it is so cold and ‘dry’ there was virtually no rust whatsoever.. just a tad at the rear wheel arches which i had taken out..
these Oz mopars are known to ‘rock’ at hot idle ..apparently easing-off the rocker clearances a bit stops this.. when cold they don’t do it.. so you sit there at the red light with the car rocking from side to side (just slightly) .. it’s quite soothing actually ..lol
I still rue the day I gave up my ’64 Dart as an everyday driver.
If that is your intent, I’d recommend finding a way to switch to
electronic ignition. You used to be able to go to a junk yard
and pull the electronic ignition setup out of a ’72 or later car.
Now I suppose you have the Pertronix option. But you can’t
get the old points and the new ones I’ve found seem to lose their gap fast.
Drop your oil pan and CLEAN THE OIL PICK UP SCREEN!
With an old slant six, a large amount of sludge may be at the bottom
of the pan, and that oil pickup sits way to close to the pan. My friend
once picked up a low-mileage ’68 convertible in Chicago, but got only to
Merrilville, IN before the pick-up clogged, the oil pressure dropped and
a rebuild was required.
Finally, valves – check your clearances. Peak power is best when you don’t
hear that clatter! The 170 cu in is fine, but the 225 got better gas mileage.
Sigh. Mom traded her rusted out 1963 Ford Ranch Wagon for a ’65 Dart 4dr sedan in 1969 when I was 9. 225 /6 with the TorqueFlyte transmission. It was a lighter blue than your wagon. It was the car that my brother and I learned to drive on. Was there a more tolerant car for beginning drivers than this one? Looking at the dashboard makes me homesick, and I came to appreciate gauges and detest idiot lights on the later cars. It always started, but it could barely hold an alignment. I don’t recall seeing a wagon like yours, but the tail lights design works for the sedan (and better than the 1964 version), but they look stuck on and hideous here. It survived me hitting an orange barrel, later my brother backing over and knocking down a pine tree in our front yard (it caved the bumper trunk lid in a little, but it still closed), but didn’t survive my brother turning left into an oncoming car (the radiator and grille got stoved into the engine) in late 1979. I have pictures of it afterwards after it was towed home. Mom then got a 1978 Chevette hatchback, a poor car by any measure.
The wiper knob has two settings: low and high, and this is well before intermittent wipers came to be. However, I discovered that if you s-l-o-w-l-y turned the knob to a position between the low and high settings (which you feel a click in either) and leave it there, the wipers on mom’s car would go into hyper-speed, which was great to have when caught in a deluge.