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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1961 Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible, rare piece of...

Pick of the Day: 1961 Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible, rare piece of Dodge history

One of only 68 built with the D-500 powertrain that boasts 340 horsepower

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When Chrysler Corporation separated Dodge and Plymouth vehicles and their design in 1960, Dodge set out to create a more affordable full-size car in hopes to attract Plymouth buyers – hence the birth of the Dodge Dart.

The Dart was built on the 118-inch wheelbase borrowed from Plymouth’s unibody chassis and was offered in three levels: the entry-level Seneca, mid-range Pioneer, and more luxurious Phoenix.

The Pick of the Day is a 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible that, according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com, is one of only 68 Phoenix convertibles built with the D-500 powertrain and one of just 6 in this color combination.

Dart, Pick of the Day: 1961 Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible, rare piece of Dodge history, ClassicCars.com Journal

Chrysler design staff head Virgil Exner gave the Dart a facelift in 1961 with design elements only seen for that model year. These features included a concave front grille, quad headlights placed on the outer edge and reverse sculpted fins.

Dart, Pick of the Day: 1961 Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible, rare piece of Dodge history, ClassicCars.com Journal

“Mid-way through the year, the Dodge dealer network offered round taillights as an extra cost option to be installed for better brake light visibility, which our example has showcased here,” the dealer notes.

“The restoration continues to present remarkably well with the paint quality nothing short of exceptional,” the dealer continues. “The same can be said for the complete interior, convertible top, chrome and stainless, etc.”

The body is finished in the factory-correct Midnight paint with a matching black power convertible top over an all-red vinyl and cloth interior.

This Phoenix is equipped with an AM radio, heater and defroster and a fender-mounted rearview mirror.

Dart, Pick of the Day: 1961 Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible, rare piece of Dodge history, ClassicCars.com Journal

“Under the hood rests its original 383ci High Performance V8 with D-500 dual carburation resting on the impressive Cross Ram tuned intake system to produce 340 horsepower and 460 lb. ft of torque,” the seller ads also noting the engine is linked to a pushbutton TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission.

Dart, Pick of the Day: 1961 Dart Phoenix D-500 convertible, rare piece of Dodge history, ClassicCars.com Journal

The dealer gives us some insight into this Phoenix’s history, noting that the current owners purchased the convertible in 2012 from the “Cars From Dreams” collection in 2012 and it has remained in their collection since. 

Included in the sale are two sets of ignition keys, one truck key, one key blank, and the factory owner’s manual.

The asking price for this rare Dart Phoenix is $99,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Racheal Colbert
An experienced writer and editor, Racheal brings her enthusiasm for collector cars to her role as the Content Manager of the Collector Car Network. Former Content Writer and Marketing Manager in the tech and publishing industry, Racheal brings a fresh perspective to the Journal and the automotive world.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Couldn’t fix the dent in the radiator top for some reason. For a hundred thousand dollars, I would want that dent fixed…

    But, that’s just me.

  2. The dent in the radiator is how it left the factory. It is designed to prevent the radiator from any vapor locks. If you look close enough you will see there are no scratches & the dent is perfectly shaped.

  3. Lads —
    I’m not sure about that dent in the radiator as my ’60 Fury with the SonoRamic Commando engine (the Plymouth version of the Dart D-500 ram-inducted or “cross-ram” mill) does not have it. Also, though I can’t positively tell from the photo, that seat upholstery looks like some rather amateurish “tuck and roll” and not MoPar.
    On the other hand, I am quite sure that the 340 HP rating given by that dealer is bogus as the “official” or advertised rating for the ram 383 in 1960 and 1961 for Dart and Plymouth was 330 ponies. The actual output has long been an item of discussion as the larger, but basically very similar (same heads, cam, valve gear, compression, etc.), ram 413 was rated at 375. Thus, logic leads one to think that if the 383 is 93% the size of the larger motor, its HP should be about 93% of that of the 413 or some 350-360 horsepower. From discussions I’ve had with former Chrysler execs, old Ramchargers, and the Chrysler Historical Society, that 330 HP of the production 383 was the result of internal corporation politics — i.e., it wasn’t good for the Chrysler image if the lowly Dart and Plymouth had almost the same power as the 300F and more than the other models in the Chrysler lineup.
    Joe Godec

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