My Classic Car: Frank’s 1964 Dodge Dart

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Frank's '64 Dodge Dart in front of his parents' house | Frank Adkins photos

My parents bought a new 1964 Dodge Dart 170 four-door the year before I was born. Later that year, my great aunt bought a nearly identical one.

My parents’ car served our family well but, by 1979, the body had seen better days due to its exposure to road salt. After a minor accident, my father decided its days were done.

My great aunt had passed away two years earlier and we acquired her car. I parted out my family’s Dart and we made a number of repairs to my great aunt’s car, which became my first car. It served me well until its life was cut short one stormy night two months before I graduated high school.

Fifteen years later, when I was 32, I acquired this Dart. It was a low-mileage car that had been owned by an older woman prior to her death. Over the years, I replaced the tired 170 with a healthy 225, rebuilt the transmission, installed stiffer torsion bars, and added a sway bar and disc brakes, and swapped to a more highway friendly 2.76 rear axle ratio.

Five years ago, I tackled the rust and refurbished the interior.

Now, 20 years into ownership, I am enjoying my time behind the wheel more than ever.

— Frank Adkins, Greenwood DE

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Loved your story Frank,I have owned a Canadian version ,labelled Valiant for over forty years.Ours is a 1965 version 100% Dart just labelled Valiant.I live way down in New Zealand,we are lucky no salted roads over here,so the old girl is totally rust free,ours is a convertible version factory RHD as it was bought new in Zambia (Africa),We keep it all original,still has the original leaning tower of power 225 slant six,cheers Kerry,way down under.

  2. I had a 1964 Dodge Dart Formula S GT 273 four barrel 4 speed and cannot find any reference to this car? where do I look for this car??

    • The Standard Catalog of American Cars notes a 1964 Dart GT series as the top trim level for that year. I see no mention of Formula S, but the 273 refers to the displacement of the 273cid V8 engine. According to the book, that engine came with a 2-barrel Carter carb. It also says a 3-speed manual was standard on all Darts. The Dart GT came as a 2-door hardtop or convertible with seating for 6. Only 12,500 were produced with V8 engines. Perhaps the Formula S was an upgrade option?

    • The Formula S was actually the top dog Barracuda beginning in 1965. That year, there was a 235 horsepower version of the 273 that included a hotter cam, high compression, and a Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor. The standard two-barrel 273 was rated at 180 horsepower.

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