Sports Special Sedan

Text and Photos by Chris Holley

This1968 Dodge Dart sedan, owned by Fred Suydam, started its life as a medium tan metallic colored Dodge with a white vinyl top, a tan interior with a split vinyl front bench seat, a 225 slant six, and a 904 Torqueflite transmission. The Dart was also ordered with the “Sports Special” option, which included the paint, interior color, and the slant six (or an optional V8) with the Torqueflite, but also included a bunch of chrome and front and rear carpeting. The “Sports Special” was an option only from the Los Angeles assembly plant and sold in the western states of the country.

With the mentioning of a Dodge Dart, most people will have a story to share about driving one, riding in one, or at least knowing of someone that had one. Of all the Dart’s generations, spanning from 1960-1976, it was the Dodge Dart’s 4th generation that had the longest tenure of all the generations, and was arguably the most successful grouping of the Dart series. That generation of the Dodge A-body line spanned from 1967-1976 (although some consider the 1973-1976 to be the 5th generation). The fourth generation bridged the gap from the muscle car era to the government influenced (mandated) emissions era, and remained very popular with car buyers during that transitional period in automotive history.

Taking it a step further, mention a Dodge Dart and the year 1968, and quickly witness how many true MOPAR enthusiasts stand before you. If their eyes glaze over with a twinkle and smiles break out upon their faces, you know they are recalling a long dormant memory of a day from their impressionable youth when they first encountered the sensory destroying, raw, and primal pulsation of a barely restrained pachyderm screaming down the quarter mile in a Super Stock Dodge Dart.

While the ’68 SS/B (stick car) and SS/BA (automatic car) -- later designated SS/A and SS/AA and then re-classed as SS/AH (stick & automatic Hemi) -- readily pops up in the minds of many, Dodge sold many other 1968 Darts with an offering of fourteen different models to fit the needs of the American car buying public. The offerings ranged from five two-door hardtops, two two-door sedans, three convertibles, and four four-door sedans. The engine selections for 1968 ranged from the 170 and 225 slants, to three “LA” series engines, a “B” series engine, and the 426 Hemi.

While the Hemi Darts dominated the NHRA Super Stock ranks and the 340 and 383 GTSs wreaked havoc on the street scene as well as the strip, the performance crowd generally overlooked another two-door Dart. The two-door Dart sedan did not receive one of the big race-inspired engines of the hardtop, but rather the sedans tooled around with the much more sedate slant six, 273, or a 318. The sedans, whether a two-door or four-door, shared the same roofline that was boxier in shape when compared to the hardtop models of the Dart. The sedans had a frame around the door windows and a visible b-pillar (post) regardless of the window position (up or down).