Chrysler and Dodge cars of Brazil
Dave Desmond photos. Top: Dodge Charger (left), Charger R/T. Below: Dodge Dart Gran Sedan and Dart SE.
Based on a Plymouth Bulletin article by William D. Brisbane, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, written in 1989.
In 1969, the 1966 Dodge Dart (long-wheelbase Valiant) four-door sedan was introduced as a new car. It had V8 power and a standard three-speed transmission, and was named car of the year by Auto Esporte in 1970. A two door coupe came out the next year.
The Dart competed with the Ford Galaxy for the high end of car buyers, with many becoming chaffeur driven, while the coupe appealed to younger buyers. There were Charger and Charger R/T versions, mainly Dart hardtops with the roofline extended to the trunk and speed-related items such as dual exhausts, four-on-the-floor shifter, mag wheels, and bucket seats. It was at the high end of Brazilian production performance, consistent with the Dart's relatively high price overall.
In 1972, more luxurious cars were featured at the auto show, and Dart styling moved away from its American counterparts, though the basic engineering remained the same. Production continued with few changes until the 1979 lineup, when the Dart name gave way to LeBaron for luxury and Magnum for sport (replacing Charger). Magnum was a status car according to Status magazine, partly because of covers attached to the rear side windows that hid the rear seat from view. Few Magnums were made and today they are rare.
The Dart peaked in 1972 and 1973, before the oil crisis, which changed tastes to more economical vehicles. In 1980, only 403 Darts were made, and they were halted the next year. It had been popular with a spacious interior without excessive width (the Galaxy's problem), and maintenance and durability helped. The lack of a six cylinder no doubt hurt its survival after the fuel crisis.
Dodge in Brazil: Additions
Leandro, from Brazil, owns a 1974 Charger, an A-body with a Charger front clip, and a 1978 Dodge Dart 318, which he said was sold with a LeBaron front clip. He wrote that the Charger had a modified 318 with Crane cam, 650 CFM Holley Quadrajet carburetor, Edelbrock intake, and other upgrades.
There is a section on Allpar with descriptions and pictures of the Magnum - a Plymouth Valiant/Dodge Dart with revised sheet metal.
John Predgen wrote:
The Dodge Dart of Brazil came in several models. Produced from May 1969 to 1982, the early Darts were a copy of our US Dart and looked like a 1969 car. The Dart-based Charger R/T had swept back B pillars like the US 1968 Charger. In 1975, they were available with a 2-barrel 318 providing 198 hp (except Charger R/T, which had 215 hp from the same engine, and a four speed manual transmission rather than the three speed trans on the others). Features included power brakes and, on the two-door cars, reclining bucket seats and consoles. Options included TorqueFlite automatic (floor or column shift), front sway bar, dual exhaust, air conditioning, and power steering.
Chrysler sold its interest to Volkswagen, which produced the Dart until 1982. The name was changed to LeBaron (four-door) and Magnum (two-door).
A great site run by Fernando and Ivan Resende is a good source on Brazilian Darts.
- Overview of Chrysler and Dodge in South America
- Other Chryslers, Dodges, and Plymouths of Brazil
- Allpar - something for everyone!
- The Valiant Page (A-Bodies and Friends)
- Valiants of Australia
- Valiant Chargers of New Zealand
- Other Valiant links (American, Australian, Charger, and Pacer)