HomeCar CultureJay Leno explores a 1968 Dodge Dart GTS

Jay Leno explores a 1968 Dodge Dart GTS


The Dodge Dart is best known as a humble economy car, but the 1968 Dart GTS featured on this episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” shows the compact Dodge had a sporty side too.

Instead of the inline-6 engine many Darts left the factory with, this car has a 383-cubic-inch V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor. The same engine was used in the more popular Plymouth Road Runner, but the Dart is smaller and lighter. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission.

The Dart was ordered new by a Wisconsin couple, and has now outlasted their marriage. It’s been fully restored to stock condition, with the exception of period-correct aftermarket Cragar wheels and an aftermarket tachometer. Leno is only the second owner, and he got the original build sheet, a lifetime of maintenance records, and more paperwork to attest to its authenticity.

This was considered a small car in 1968, and with about 325 hp, it was also pretty powerful for its time. The Dart isn’t small or fast by modern standards, but its torquey V8 means it’s still decently fun to drive, according to Leno. Drum brakes and unassisted steering mean it’s no canyon carver, however.

This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com



  1. The 68 GTS was my first car . It was quick and top end was a monster . I know cause I got a drag racing ticket at 155. I lost it in a house fire before I had it a year and moved on to the 1970 dodge charger R/T which with the 440 was the fastest car in town.

  2. I had friends in HS that had these, a 383 auto GTS and a 340 4spd GT.
    In every situation, stoplight to stoplight, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Madison Avenue, the small block 340/stick ran away from the 383/auto. Weight distribution means a lot on primitive suspension systems. The 383 always sounded better, poor compensation for watching a smaller engined car walk away.

    • The 383s were somewhat weak in stock form, however. While the 1968 RR was 335 horses, the one in A-bodies was 300, then 330 horses in 1969. That may explain something?

      But, modified, I imagine the 383 would be the winner.


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