Within the national production of passenger cars, the appearance in 1965 of the Dodge Dart. Compact in the United States and huge here, these models had the privilege of being assembled in Villaverde at the same time as in Detroit.
Dodge Dart sales started well, with 9.200 units built through the end of 1966. But in 1967 it was seen that Eduardo Barreiros He had bet big and that in Spain there was no market to absorb 15.000 Dodge Dart just like that.
To facilitate the departure of the 4.000 bodies hired and not yet sold, in September 1968 a redesign was carried out. Baptized "Line 69", The renewed Dodge Dart included the 3700 GT model, which we put to the test and which included more features.
A POSITIVE EFFECT
The aesthetic changes of the Dodge “Line 69” they also added a slightly modified design of the rear area. There, two parallel chrome bars visually joined the optical groups, together with a matte black background with the letters Dodge.
Also, the entire range premiered a stabilizer bar associated with the front suspension. Thanks to this component, the Dodge were more established and significantly improved its behavior in curve.
On the other hand, the new Dodge 3700 GT had more horsepower, achieved through the use of a Carter double-barrel carburetor and a faster camshaft. With it, the 6 cc 3.686-cylinder engine achieved a power of 165 SAE hp at 4.200 laps.
But between the fact that they are SAE horses and that the car weighs 1.380 kg empty, this sedan of almost 5 meters in length It could hardly be described as a GT. We'd better leave that name for Ferrari 250s and the like.
Actually, this model was Designed for comfortable trips and easy walking. And in this, the best assets of him were a silent engine and a cabin as spacious as it was comfortable, plus a trunk in which there was even plenty of volume.
And it was not by chance that Eduardo Barreiros decided to build this car under license. As a skilled businessman, he knew that the Spanish market needed a dealership sedan, a task that this model could assume better than a SEAT 1500.
THE DODGE 3700GT
With a price of 271.360 pesetasIn the absence of paying the 20% Luxury Tax, the Dodge 3700 GT was the powerful version of the range. On the other hand, the Dodge Dart GLE cost more, since for its 291.840 pesetas it came with an air conditioning unit as standard.
Although it could not boast of being the most expensive car of the Spanish production, a second place was not bad either. And anyway, our protagonist arrived with a detail of greater interest: Kelsey-Haynes front disc brakes.
Thanks to these powerful ventilated discsEquipped with four-piston calipers, the 3700 GT had braking in line with its weight and performance.
As if that were not enough, the 3700 GT fitted as standard with 5 x 14 size tires. Still a bit short for such a large car, they were better suited than the 4,75 x 13's on the other Dodge Dart models.
Taking advantage of the occasion, this supposed sports car left the factory with radial tires 185 SR 14. Its grip was clearly superior to that of the already outdated bias tyres, still standard on most Spanish cars.
Standard equipped with a vinyl roof and stereo, this Dodge "sporty" it only admitted five occupants. The loss of a seat was due to the fact that the gear lever was in the center console, more in line with European tastes.
Dodge 3700 GTs were offered exclusively in the body colors Verónica Red or Almadén Silver. And they also had tinted windows, which reduced the entry of heat into the passenger compartment and provided a certain distinction.
Another hidden component supplied as standard, but reserved only for this version, was the adoption of a self-locking differential. Thanks to him, the reactions of the rear axle on slippery road surfaces were easier to control.
Before putting this Dodge 3700 GT to the test and after having been without moving for almost a month, Pablo -his owner- had to insist on the starter motor. Something logical, because the gasoline in the carburetor had already evaporated and new fuel had to come from the rear tank.
Already stopped in the deserted street and with the idling accelerated by the action of the choke, the condensed water is emerging in the exhaust pipe, which has been transformed into whitish steam. As several minutes pass, a remarkable quality of the slant six engine, which is its balanced and low-noise operation.
A look at the wheels, where they shine the specific hubcaps of this series. And another to the rear pillar lined with vinyl, where again I find another molding with the initials GT, to remember it in case I was forgetting.
Straining the eye, details related to the company are discovered Chrysler and Barreiros. For example, in the lower area of the front wings there are two Pentastars golden, the characteristic pentagons of the American multinational. And as if each one wanted to appear separately, on the trunk lid the five letters of Dodge and a traditional molding coexist, that of the vehicles made by Barreiros Diesel S.A.
On the contrary, walking away from the Dodge and looking at it in profile surprises the short door length. Especially when compared to the exaggerated length of the rear wheel arches.
ON THE PLAIN
Not yet hitting the road, the Dodge 3700 GT seems too long when viewed from the side and from a distance. Are almost 5 meters of bodywork, which leads one to think that it will be a difficult car to drive.
This idea is also influenced by the thickness of the rear uprights, which make it difficult to see behind, as well as a glazed surface that cannot be considered generous.
However, access to the cabin is easy. And once you're settled in the back, you're sure there's a lot more space than you might think from the outside.
With Pablo as driver and me in the back seat, we began the test of the Dodge 3700 GT, in a leisurely walk. A good connoisseur of his car, Pablo showed the smooth running that characterizes this car, for which he changed to the following ratio at around 2.000 rpm.
At that quiet pace in this 3700 GT the engine is not heard and only the whistles of the air are heard when brushing against the windshield. Even at 90 km / h, the engine turns at around 2.200 laps and the spacious interior and comfort are appreciated from behind.
In short, if the driver handles the Dodge with finesse, the soft suspensions and the mechanical silence make trips especially relaxed.
WE RAISE THE BONNET
We stop at an esplanade near the road where we can open the hood quietly. Once up, it supports itself thanks to some practical torsion bars.
The bowl of the air filter stands out at the top, which blocks the view of the double-body Carter BBD carburettor. Instead, yeah long intake and exhaust manifolds are visible, all twelve exiting from the same side.
The engine compartment has roomy volume for mechanics, in which part of the components are well visible. Instead, the distributor and oil filter are more hidden, on the right side of the engine inclined 30 degrees.
In any case, the GLE version will have a little more complexity, due to its air conditioning installation. And surely in the diesel there is more than enough space, given the smaller size of the mechanical C-65 of 2.007 cc and 65 CV of maximum power.
It is also striking the scarce presence of hoses and pipes. And this is alluding to other Simca, Talbot and Peugeot produced in Villaverde, in which the plastic pipes barely allowed the engine and its accessories to be seen.
SLANT SIX, AN ELASTIC ENGINE
The inline 6-cylinder engine found in the Dodge Dart appeared in 1960. Installed at a 30-degree rake angle to the right, it helped make the front end slimmer and lower in height.
With a bore of 86,36mm and a stroke of 104,65mm, it was conceived to achieve abundant torque at low and medium regimes. In return, such a long race causes its maximum power to be obtained at 4.200 laps, which limits its ability to reach high revs.
On the other hand, the Slant Six engine has a cylinder head that in its day had an innovative conception. Together with the use of long intake manifolds, it generates waves that optimize cylinder filling at mid-range. Thanks to this, this 3.686 cc power plant obtained considerable torque and consumption that was economical for its displacement.
As weak points, They highlight how poorly it accepts constant cruises above 3.500 rpm (143,5 km / h) and the ease with which cracks appear in the exhaust manifolds.
Now it's time to change your position. Instead of the back seat, I move to the steering wheel, on an individual seat generously overstuffed and upholstered in black vinyl.
The two front seats they have more than enough breadth and are separated from each other by a central console covered in varnished wood. In turn, the console has a valid receptacle to store objects for personal use.
And in his previous area the time clock is embedded, located just a foot from the gearshift lever. By the way, the white knob of the latter, spherical in shape, is not original, since it had a black one in the shape of an inverted cone from the factory.
The same happens to the beautiful Nardi steering wheel with a wooden ring that, yes, would later come from the factory in the later generation. 3700 Dodge 1971 GT.
However, the stock steering wheel was black paste and undoubted American style. As is logical, it was accompanied by the typical concentric chrome ring that served -and still does- as a horn.
AN ABUNDANT INSTRUMENTATION
Absolutely, the instrumentation board has a sporty style. Along with a very optimistic speedometer graduated to about 220 km / h, it has a lap counter whose orange zone begins at 4.400 rpm and turns red from 5.200.
On the left side of the table, there are the oil pressure gauge, the water thermometer and the gasoline level. And to the right of the lap counter, a fourth clock that warns of the battery charge.
In any case, the most astute will have realized that both watches were intended for buyers to believe in purchasing a sports car. As much as the rev counter alerted of the allergy to the high regimes of this engine.
THE DRIVING STATION
For starters, the gear knob is in the right place. And at the bottom of the floor, the three pedals are spaced apart and do not lead to confusion or forced postures.
On the other hand, there are inscriptions that leave no doubt, such as one with the word brake, located on the left side of the dashboard and which corresponds to the handbrake. Those were other times and the international symbols had not yet been disseminated.
As regards the rest of the dashboard, it shows that it is a very equipped car for its time. Next to the ignition key is the electric lighter. And in the center, a car radio and the automatic antenna control, plus the glove compartment on the right.
Ultimately, an attractive dashboard, with a good finish and provided with the logical details found in cars of its category.
TEST DODGE 3700 GT: FULL RANGES
Already in the first few metres, the remarkable torque becomes apparent, which invites soft start to avoid jerks. For this reason, and in order to get to know the car better, I shift into second and slowly push up to 4.000 rpm on a straight line without traffic.
At this rate, the speedometer approaches 90 km/h and the engine makes itself heard, as if protesting such foolish use. And already put, floor to bottom to see how it goes up to the red zone.
Of course the engine continues to rev, but there is only noise without the power going to more. Pablo does know, so it is better to take advantage of a maximum torque that is achieved at 2.400 rpm and stop experimenting.
Meanwhile, I have ruffled his thing when making the changes of sense, well the steering has 5,5 turns of the steering wheel and standing still requires strength.
Imitating what he had learned from Pablo, the Dodge He thanked him with his silence and greater comfort. When you are already in third, on the flat at just over 70 km / h, the ideal is to insert the fourth and let the gas pedal take its cruise.
on the highways we will be able to shoot at the legal limit at only 2.900 rpm, a cadence that the Slant Six engine maintains stealthily. And if for any reason it is necessary to descend to less than 100 km/h, the engine torque will recover the cruise without reducing to third.
As if that weren't enough, Kelsey-Haynes-s front disc brakessimilar to those used by the Ford Mustang Shelby– provide certainly reassuring braking power.
In that same sense, the front stabilizer bar and the 14-inch spoke wheels made this Dodge easier to drive at a lightning pace. Both by reducing the roll in curve and by improving the grip, they turned it into a car that obtained respectable and pleasant averages on those national roads of the Redia Plan.
As we have verified in this dodge 3700 gt testLighter than its successor, our protagonist managed to adapt a simple American car to European taste. For this, it was enough that the frame was more refined and that the interior was more flirtatious.
BARREIROS, CHRYSLER AND DODGE
The intelligent and active Eduardo Barreiros was born in 1919 in Gundiás (Orense), and since his childhood he had worked in the family bus company. In the postwar years, he had the brilliant idea of converting the already veteran gasoline engines used in trucks to a diesel cycle. Of course, he patented it.
Thanks to this transformation, the vehicles modified by Barreiros traveled much longer distances after filling up the tank, in addition to using much cheaper fuel. With this activity he gathered an important capital, which led him to move to Madrid and create his own company that manufactures trucks, buses and tractors.
In its marvelous industrial expansion, also reached agreements with the North American multinational chrysler corporation, with the aim of manufacturing passenger cars under license and exporting its industrial vehicles worldwide. Thus began in 1965 the assembly in Villaverde (Madrid) of the Dodge Dart, modern and economical cars in the American market whose bodies and engines arrived from Detroit under CKD.
Unfortunately, in 1969 the American multinational ended up taking over the entire shareholding of Barreiros Diesel S.A..
TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS DODGE 3700 GT FROM 1969
Motor: 6 cyl. inline, four-stroke
Displacement: 3.686 cm3
Power: 165 SAE hp at 4.200 rpm
Gearbox: Manual, 4-speed
Brakes: Ventilated discs/drums
Tires: 185HR 14
Deposit capacity: 68 liters
Long wide high: 4.988/1.775/1.359mm
Curb weight1.380 kg
Maximum speed: 175 km / h
Average consumption: 16 l/100km
3700 DODGE 1969 TEST PHOTO GALLERY
Photographs: Classic Lane
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