I have done a lot of posts/articles regarding this little car. And to the possible annoyance of some CTzens, I’m doing another article. However, this article is a little different.
In this article I will be explaining something of a broken legacy if you will. It’s a problem the Dart and the Dart alone has. (In this instance anyway).
Without further delay. Lets get into it.
You see, Dodge has made many many many (many ) small cars. Shadow, Colt, Spirit, Neon, Aries and so on just to name a few. All of the vehicles listed are within about 27 years of each other. All of them are Front Wheel Drive (except for the very first Colt). And they’re all light weight cars.
Most importantly, they’re part of a legacy. One that Chrysler (somewhat) dug themselves into. They may not know it, but they’ve made a huge mistake. One that will be known as “the car that never came” (I’m not kidding, at all).
Before you get too confused, I need to explain what I’m on about. Boring history lesson incoming! Keep food next to you at all times!
OK! Dodge (with the exception of the Avenger and it’s badge-engineered Mexican offerings as well as the Aries.) has always made a properly fast small car. You want a fast Spirit? Buy the Spirit R/T! In need of a more potent Shadow? Buy the ES or get the CSX!
Tired of your grandparents Omni? Buy the GLH…….. or if you’re feeling really naughty, go for the GLHS. Want a fast Charger? Shelby has you covered! See what I’m getting at?
Even the Colt got a Turbo version in the mid to late 80’s. You need another example? Dodge Neon ACR. Yep, that was a thing.
This was one of the best handling Front Wheel Drive vehicles of the 90’s. Dodge even went racing with it in the SCCA. Many people still regard this as one of the best handling Front Wheel Drive cars this side of an Integra.
As you can tell. Dodge is no stranger to fast small cars. I mean for the love of all that is fast and small- they even made a Caliber SRT-4 for crying out loud.
Now, whether or not you think the Caliber is a small car or not isn’t up to me.
So what does all of this have to do with the Dart you may ask. I’ll tell you.
The Dart is one of many small Dodge compacts (even though it’s on the edge of being called a mid-size). It was the first (arguably) compact from Dodge in almost a decade at the time it came out.
Some people know of a little something called the Dart SRT-4. This was supposed to be the properly fast version of the Dart. Continuing the (semi) tradition of making a fast small car. But it hasn’t happened.
Even though it was in the 5-year plan and some signs of it coming……… it never saw the light of day. While the Dart hasn’t been fully killed of yet, there is no signs of the magical (and mythical) Dart SRT-4. The legacy Chrysler (or Dodge) had been building up has been shattered.
While it was probably unintentional. You can’t deny the facts. This can even be traced back to the 68 Dodge Dart.
Back in the late 60’s to early 70’s. Many Mopar fans wanted a Hemi in the Dart. Chrysler said it couldn’t be done, but Mr.Norm (some of you may know who he is) and his buddies got a hold of a Dart and got a Hemi in it.
When the Chrysler execs came over. One of them said “how come they could do it and you couldn’t?”
They did have to move a few things around but it still proved that it was possible. So even back then, Dodge was making fast versions of it’s small cars (albeit with a little outside help).
So as you see. Even with history saying Dodge should (and almost did) make a fast version of the Dart…………. they didn’t do it.
While the Dart was a first for Chrysler (and indeed Dodge) in a few ways. This shouldn’t have been one of them…..
The picture above was right around the time when I was looking for my first car. When I first saw this picture. I was amazed and incredibly happy. They didn’t muck it up (seemingly). It looked like something I would drive and would be proud to own.
This picture symbolized a few things for me: Promise, a new direction, something different from the norm. Those are the things I saw in that very photo you see above (yeah, talk about overthinking it lol).
But I feel the same way even though it’s 4 years later. It’s just the biggest shame that this car would fall victim to more then just a broken legacy……… but that’s a story for another time ;).
I hope you all enjoyed reading what I found out about 1-2 months ago while overthinking about the DSRT-4 (Dart SRT-4).