While today’s Nice Price or No Dice Dart may be an updated interpretation of the Dodge Neon secret sauce, it hasn’t found the same fan base as that car. This particular one does seem to be fan-owned and operated, so let’s find out what that might all be worth.
Are you the kind of person who likes to show off your car hobby? Maybe you wear a T-shirt emblazoned with your favorite car brand or have its logo tattooed on the inside of your lower lip? Don’t worry, I won’t tell Mom.
One way to really parade your preference in public is to park a project car — on cinderblocks if at all possible — in the front yard of your house. Hell, you weren’t planning on mowing that grass anyway.
If that description fits you to a T, then you were probably among the 16 percent of voters who thought yesterday’s project 1983 Rieger-bodied BMW 320 was a good deal. The remaining 84 percent of you felt its $3,800 asking was way too high, earning the car a No Dice loss.
When it comes to automobiles, “Dart” is a storied, and surprisingly, contentious name. Dodge first introduced its Dart in 1960 and carried the name all the way through to the 1976 model year. That trademark gave the Mopar brand the rights to the name in the U.S.; it also stymied Daimler when that British company decided to bring over its own Dart model, a two-seat V8-powered convertible. That car was rebadged as the SP250 and sold in fewer numbers than Dodge made Darts in a single day.
After all that, Dodge let the Dart name go dormant for nearly 40 years. Then, in the 2013 model year, it was pulled out and dusted off for a new compact model. That car was based on a platform borrowed from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a well-regarded car in the household of Fiat, Chrysler’s parent. In styling, the new Dart recalled Dodge’s previous in-house small car, the spunky ’90s Neon. It would not, however, revisit the earlier car’s enthusiasm in sales or from the tuner market.
Why was that? Primarily because the new Dart was a small sedan released into a market that vastly prefers crossovers and tall wagons. It also vied for what sales it could muster against some stellar competition from the likes of the Honda Civic and Ford Focus. Because of this, the new Dart was killed off after the 2016 model run, giving it a short four-year existence.
That’s kind of a shame because the Dart, like its Neon forebearer, was a flingable and inexpensive small car that, owing to its plethora of shared parts, was open to aftermarket updates.
This 2013 Dodge Dart is an example of what even modest work in that milieu can accomplish. It certainly looks the part, what with its Hella-good rally lights, Hellcat-aping hood and the modest but funky decal additions.
It’s not all looks here either. The car rolls on aftermarket alloys, which sit in front of a lowered coil-over suspension. To improve the shifting of its six-speed stick, both the transmission and shifter bushings have been updated to beefier units.
Power comes from Fiat’s turbocharged 1.4 liter FIRE MultiAir four. In stock guise that little-engine-that-could pumps out 160 horsepower. This one is claimed to sport a new turbo, a cat-less downpipe and an aftermarket tune, among other mods, so perhaps it makes more. At the very least it presents bragging rights at meet-ups. Not installed is another flywheel and clutch but according to the ad, those come with the car in the sale.
The car also comes with a clean title and just a few war wounds on the bodywork. Those include chips and scrapes in the big bumper caps, along with a Frankenstein stitch to hold together the left-side front valance. Along with the rally lights, some LEDs hide in the grille while out back the tiny boot lid gets bedazzled with an appropriately big wing.
We don’t get to see the interior, which is a shame; with 146,000 miles, we’d really want to know how well it’s held up.
Speaking of being held up, we now need to decide whether this Dart’s $4,500 asking price is a fair deal or highway robbery. What do you think, could this modded modern Dart cop that much cash? Or, does that price mean this Dart misses the mark?
H/T to eciweigand for the hookup!
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