In a time when many American standards are being changed or obliterated, we take the time to celebrate an American that has stood the test of time. Dodge turns 100 years old this year. Along with 100th Anniversary Editions of the Challenger and Charger, Dodge gave a facelift to the existing Charger by making it look more like a Dart. That’s what happens when age catches up with you. You want to look young again. To further bolster the anniversary, Dodge launched a video at the New York show that features many centenarians spewing familiar and age-old adages. It has gone viral and is as funny and inspiring as you would expect the Betty White generation to be.
A tribute to a company that has provided us with decades of tire marks and exhaust rumbles would only seem right. It took a lot for Dodge to make the century mark; a lot or perseverance, a lot of loyalty and a lot of tire-squealing, exhaust rumbling cars that stole out hearts. In this tribute, we will briefly recap some of the cars that helped Dodge make its indelible mark.
1914 DODGE TOURER
The first Dodge was produced on November 14, 1914; it had a 110-inch wheelbase, and was powered by an L-head 4-cylinder engine so reliable it was continued until 1920. The car went for a whopping cost of $785. The company beat out 146 other makes that were established in 1914 and stands as the lone survivor.
THE ‘63-‘67 DODGE DART
The Dodge Dart started out as an economical compact car with a slant six engine. Not all Darts were dull; there was one that hit the bull’s-eye. The Dart GT was a nice blend of sensibility and fun, but it was the addition of an “S” that really put the sport in the Dart GTS (sometimes referred to as the GTSport ). The 1963-1966 Darts were decent looking, but the restyled 1967 Darts were much more handsome. One of the Dart’s main competitors was the Chevy Nova, and the restyled Dart looked as good as, if not better than, the Nova.
1964 DODGE TURBINE CAR
It’s 1963 and the Cold War is breathed in whispers throughout America. Headlines include the terms “Space Race” and “Berlin Wall”. The Dick Van Dyke ruled the television and Beatle mania overtook the radio. You had to be a top-ranking government official to get close to fighter aircraft, but the average working man could drive a jet powered car.
1967 DODGE CORONET & 1969 SUPER BEE
For 1966, Chrysler detuned the race Hemi to produce the street Hemi. The two versions were very similar, with changes to the street Hemi having to do with making it more drivable on the street. While they were more drivable, the Coronet and Super Bee proved more irresistible as well. They would go from 1960’s muscle car icons to top-dollar prizes for collectors.
1969 DODGE DAYTONA
If we need to say one more word about the wing that conquered NASCAR, I will faint. This was the equally popular, but lesser-known of the twins appropriately named after the track that it was born to conquer.
1970 DODGE CHALLENGER
Muscle car competition among the Big Three was raging in 1969. American Motors, was also cranking out fast iron in the form of the 390-powered AMX. Drag racing was the thrust of this on-track/showroom competition. Chrysler products were known for their drag strip prowess, and management wanted to maintain that reputation. Who would have thought that this small (at the time) car would become a major player? Dodge did, that’s who. They wedged (Max-Wedge pun intended) two types of powerplants into one body. Boy, we sure are glad they did.
1992- 2008 DODGE VIPER
The Viper was proof that you could turn a phenomenal concept into a cult car. Chrysler has a long history of marketing thinly veiled racecars as street cars. The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR (American Club Racer) has to be one of the most potent Mopars to ever wear a set of license plates. Even after the threat of extinction, the snake has risen again.