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As 1968 dawned, more and more muscle cars were appearing on the scene, and Chrysler did not want to be left behind. Although the 68 Dart, style-wise, was a very modest evolution, there were big changes under the hood.

Note the subtle styling differences in the taillights; the 3-unit design places the backup lights in the center of the pod. The 68s were the only year to use this taillight arrangement.

The front grille sports round marker lights instead of the 67's oblong lights--another subtle styling cue.

Note, too, that there are side marker lights on the 68 but not on the 67.

The biggest changes in 68 came under the hood: although the venerable 170 and 225 6-cylinder engines soldiered on, the now-familiar 318 and 340 V8s were offered in Darts. In addition, a monster 383 was available in the Dart GTS. There were now 4 Dart trim lines: the Dart, the 270, the GT, and the top-line GTS.

1968 Dodge Dart At A Glance

GTS
  • Top-line model
  • 2-door or convertible; no 4-door
  • Distinguishing marks: bumblebee stripes on tail; hood bulges
  • 340 V8 or optional 383 V8
  • 3-speed or 4-speed manual transmission
  • 3-speed automatic
  • Rallye suspension is standard
  • Published 0-60 times of 6 seconds with 340
  • List price of $3163 for hardtop and $3383 for convertible
GT
  • Luxury level
  • 2-door or convertible; no 4-door
  • 170 slant-6, optional 225 slant-6 or 273 V8, optional 318 V8
  • 3-speed column-shift manual; 4-speed manual with V8s
  • 3-speed automatic
  • List price of $2611 for hardtop; $2831 for convertible.
Dart 270
  • Mid-range level
  • 2-door or 4-door; no convertible
  • 170 slant-6, optional 225 slant-6 or 273 V8, optional 318 V8
  • 3-speed column-shift manual; 4-speed manual with V8s
  • 3-speed automatic
Dart Sedan
  • Economy level
  • 2-door or 4-door; no convertible
  • Sometimes called the post car
  • 170 slant-6, optional 225 slant-6 or 273 V8, optional 318 V8
  • 3-speed column-shift manual; 4-speed manual with V8s
  • 3-speed automatic
  • Limited color selections; limited options; no chrome trim
Dartography: How To Spot Em
The 68 was the only model year to employ the round front marker lights
The 68 was the only model year to employ the 3-pod taillights (girl in go-go boots optional)
Safety Equipment
Lapbelts only. Some late-model 68s sport shoulder belts. Collapsible steering column, according to Chrysler literature. Padded dashboards. Headrests, which will become mandatory on all 69 models, are shown in some Chrysler literature and are available as options. Side-marker lights.
What Changed Since Previous Year
  • 318, 340 and 383 engines available
  • Trim line expands to 4 models: new is the GTS (performance) trim level

The GTS--distinguishable by its bumble-bee stripes across the trunk and rear quarters--was the bad boy of the Dart family. It offered a standard 340 with the optional 383; both were available with a revised Hurst 4-speed manual. The GTS also featured Rallye suspension, heavier shocks, and E70x14 tires. There were GTS badges on the hood, trunk and fenders.

Note that there was a mid-pack GT, not to be confused with the GTS. The GT did not sport the bumble-bee stripes. It offered the pedestrian slant sixes, as well as the 318. It also did not have the GTS's hood bulge.



Here's the 68's instrument cluster. It is more or less a carryover from 67. Note that the ignition key is still in the dashboard rather than on the steering column.
Is this a transmission, or what? Often nicknamed the knuckle-buster, the manual transmissions of the day were sometimes crude affairs. Like everyone else, Chrysler offered low-buck column-shift 3-speed manuals and also offered 4-on-the-floors as an up-market option. Unlike today's manuals, these transmissions did not feature overdrives, and, although fun, took some skill to drive smoothly.


Federal safety laws started kicking in during these model years. Some 68 Darts are shown in the Chrysler literature with headrests. According to Chrysler literature, 68 Darts featured federally mandated collapsible steering columns. Wikipedia claims that 68 models featured shoulder harnesses, but Chrysler literature for that year does not mention them and most cars of that model year do not have them; perhaps they were mandated very late in the model year. It is also possible that the mounts for the shoulder harnesses were incorporated into the bodies but the actual belts were not yet installed. Either way, shoulder harnesses do appear in the 69 model year.
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The Coolest Car Detroit Ever Built: The Dodge Dart
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