Jay Leno explores a 1968 Dodge Dart GTS

The Dodge Dart is finest referred to as a humble economic system automobile, however the 1968 Dart GTS featured on this episode of “Jay Leno’s Storage” exhibits the compact Dodge had a sporty facet too.

As a substitute of the inline-6 engine many Darts left the manufacturing unit with, this automobile has a 383-cubic-inch V-8 with a 4-barrel carburetor. The identical engine was used within the extra in style Plymouth Highway Runner, however the Dart is smaller and lighter. Energy is distributed to the rear wheels via a 4-speed guide transmission.

The Dart was ordered new by a Wisconsin couple, and has now outlasted their marriage. It has been totally restored to inventory situation, except for period-correct aftermarket Cragar wheels and an aftermarket tachometer. Leno is barely the second proprietor, and he bought the unique construct sheet, a lifetime of upkeep information, and extra paperwork to attest to its authenticity.

This was thought-about a small automobile in 1968, and with about 325 hp, it was additionally fairly highly effective for its time. The Dart is not small or quick by trendy requirements, however its torquey V-8 means it is nonetheless decently enjoyable to drive, in accordance with Leno. Drum brakes and unassisted steering imply it is no canyon carver, nevertheless.

Dodge launched the Dart for the 1960 mannequin yr, downsizing it to a compact automobile for 1963 to compete with the Chevrolet Nova and Ford Falcon. The Dart remained in that position till manufacturing led to 1976. Twinned with the Plymouth Valiant, the platform additionally served as the premise for the unique Dodge Demon (later Dart Sport) and Plymouth Duster coupes.

The Dodge Dart returned for the 2013 mannequin yr after a decades-long hiatus, however this time as a contemporary compact automobile with front-wheel drive and 4-cylinder energy. It wasn’t as long-lived, nevertheless. Fiat Chrysler Cars (now Stellantis) killed it off a number of years later to deal with better-selling, more-profitable SUVs and pickup vehicles.