[su_dropcap] D [/ su_dropcap] among the national production of passenger cars, the appearance in 1965 of the Dodge Dart was striking. Compact in the United States and huge here, these models were privileged to ride in Villaverde at the same time as Detroit.
Sales of the Dodge Dart started well, with 9.200 units built until the end of 1966. But in 1967 it was seen that Eduardo Barreiros had bet heavily 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 revamped Dodge Dart included the 3700 GT model, which came with higher features.
A POSITIVE EFFECT
The aesthetic changes of the Dodge "Line 69" also added a slightly modified design of the rear area. There, two parallel chrome bars visually linked the light clusters, along with a matte black background with the lettering Dodge.
Also, the entire range premiered a stabilizer bar associated with the front suspension. Thanks to this component, the Dodge were more settled and notably improved its behavior when cornering.
On the other hand, the all-new Dodge 3700 GT had more horsepower, achieved through the use of a dual-body Carter carburetor and a faster camshaft. With it, the 3.686 cc six-cylinder engine produced 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.
In reality, this model was designed for comfortable trips and a comfortable ride. And in this, its best assets were a silent engine and a cabin as spacious as it is comfortable, plus a trunk in which there was even excess volume.
And it was not by chance that Eduardo Barreiros decided to mount this car under license. As a clever businessman, he knew that a representative sedan was needed in the Spanish market, a task that this model could take on better than a Seat 1500.
The Dodge 3700 GT
With a price of 271.360 pesetas, in the absence of paying 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 had an air conditioning system 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 discs, equipped with four-piston calipers, the 3700 GT had a braking commensurate with its weight and performance.
As if that were not enough, the 3700 GT was fitted with 5 x 14 size wheels as standard. Still a little scarce for such a large car, they were more suitable than the 4,75 x 13 wheels of the other Dodge Dart models.
Taking advantage of the occasion, this so-called sports car left the factory with 185 SR 14 radial tires. Its grip was clearly superior to that of the already outdated bias tires, 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 Veronica Red or Almadén Silver body colors. And they also had tinted windows, which reduced the entry of heat into the cabin 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.
After having been without moving for almost a month, Pablo - its 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 idle accelerated by the action of the choke, the condensed water comes out in the exhaust pipe, which has been transformed into whitish vapor.
As several minutes go by, one notable quality of the Slant Six engine is appreciated, which is its balanced operation and low noise.
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.
Sharpening the eye, details related to the Chrysler company and Barreiros are discovered. For example, in the lower area of the front fins there are two golden Pentastars, the characteristic pentagons of the American multinational.
And as if everyone wanted to appear separately, the five Dodge letters and a traditional molding coexist remotely on the trunk lid, that of the vehicles made by Barreiros Diesel SA
On the contrary, when you move away from the Dodge and contemplate it in profile, the short length of the doors is surprising. Above all, compared to the exaggerated length of the rear wheel arches.
On the plain
Still not hitting the road, the Dodge 3700 GT seems too long when viewed from the side and at some distance. They are almost 5 meters of body, which leads 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 to the rear, as well as a glazed surface that cannot be considered generous.
However, access to the cabin is easy. And once settled back, you have the assurance that there is much more space than you might believe from the outside.
With Pablo as the driver and I in the back seat, we began a journey at a leisurely pace. A good connoisseur of his Dodge, Pablo showed the smooth running that characterizes this car, for which he changed to the following ratio at about 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 mechanical silence make the trips especially relaxed.
1- Taste for glitter. In the Dodge Gart “Line 69”, the indicators of the front wings have chrome trims
2- Surrounded by chrome parts. The rear light clusters, which kept the same style, are accompanied by shiny accessories
We raise the hood
We stop at an esplanade near the road where we can open the hood with ease. Once on top, he holds himself up thanks to practical torsion bars.
The air filter bowl stands out at the top, which covers the view of the double-body Carter BBD carburettor. On the other hand, the long intake and exhaust manifolds are visible, all twelve with outlet from the same side.
The engine compartment has loose volume for the mechanics, in which part of the components are well visible. On the contrary, the distributor and the oil filter are more hidden, on the right side of the engine tilted 30 degrees.
Anyway, the GLE version will have a bit 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 C-65 mechanics of 2.007 cc and 65 CV of maximum power.
The scarce presence of sleeves and pipes is also striking. And this is alluding to other Simca, Talbot and Peugeot produced in Villaverde, in which the plastic pipes barely allowed to see the engine and its accessories.
SLANT SIX, AN ELASTIC ENGINE
The inline six-cylinder powerplant found in Dodge Darts appeared in 1960. Installed with a 30-degree lean 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 had an innovative design in its day. Together with the use of long intake manifolds, it generates waves that optimize the filling of the cylinders at medium speed.
As a result, this 3.686 cc power plant obtained considerable torque and fuel economy 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 are more than spacious and are separated from each other by a central console covered in varnished wood. In turn, the console has a valid receptacle for storing objects for personal use.
And the hour clock is embedded in its front area, located just one foot from the gear shift 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 Dodge 3700 GT from 1971.
However, the standard steering wheel was black paste and undoubtedly American style. As is logical, it was accompanied by the typical concentric chrome ring that served - and 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.
A unique touch. Even if it is not standard, this Nardi steering wheel with a wooden ring fits this Dodge well, as well as providing exceptional grip
2- Complete and neat. The 3700 GT frame has everything expected, it is easy to interpret and resembles that of the sports cars of the time
In any case, the most astute will have realized that both the watch was aimed at making buyers believe they were buying a sports car. As much as the rev counter warned of the allergy to the high speeds 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 room for doubt, such as one with the word brake, located on the left side of the dashboard and corresponding to the handbrake. They were other times and the international symbols had not yet been spread.
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.
In short, an attractive dashboard, well finished and provided with the logical details in cars of its category.
At high velocity
Already in the first few meters, the remarkable torque is evident, which invites you to start smoothly to avoid jerks. So, in order to get to know the car better, I shift to second gear and slowly stretch to 4.000 rpm on a straight without traffic.
At that speed, the speedometer approaches 90 km / h and the engine makes itself heard, as if protesting such insane use. And already put, I step to the bottom to see how it goes up to the red zone.
Of course the engine continues taking turns, but there is only noise without the power going to more. Pablo does know, so better take advantage of the maximum torque that is achieved at 2.400 rpm and stop experimenting.
Meanwhile, I have ruffled his thing when making direction changes, since the direction has 5,5 turns of the steering wheel and when stopped it continues to demand force.
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.
1- Silent march. For quiet cruises, in the Dodge 3700 GT only the gusts of air are heard when colliding with the bodywork
2- More than sports performance, the 3700 GT was content to offer comfortable trips at speeds above the ordinary
On the highways we can roll to the legal limit at just 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 were not enough, the Kelsey-Haynes front disc brakes - similar to those used by the Ford Mustang Shelby - provide certainly reassuring stopping 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.
Lighter than its successor, this primitive Dodge 3700 GT 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 post-war years, he had the brilliant idea of converting the 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 greater distances after filling the tank, in addition to using a much cheaper fuel. With this activity, he raised significant capital, which led him to move to Madrid and create his own company that manufactures trucks, buses and tractors.
In its marvelous industrial expansion, It also reached agreements with the North American multinational Chrysler Corporation, with the aim of manufacturing passenger cars under license and exporting its industrial vehicles all over the world. Thus began in 1965 the assembly in Villaverde (Madrid) of the Dodge Darts, modern and economical cars in the American market whose bodies and engines arrived from Detroit under the CKD regime.
Unfortunately, the American multinational ended up taking over the entire shareholding of Barreiros Diesel SA in 1969.
[su_youtube_advanced https = »yes» url = »https://youtube.com/watch?v=GUo4rUfm_QM»]
Barreiros climbed to the heights and descended after a poor forecast with his luxury cars. Thanks to Passion for the car
[su_spoiler title = 'TECHNICAL DATA SHEET' show = 'false']
3700 DODGE 1969 GT
• Engine: 6 cyl. online, four times.
• Displacement: 3.686 cc.
• Power: 165 hp SAE at 4.200 rpm.
• Gearbox: Manual, 4-speed.
• Traction: Rear
• Brakes: Ventilated discs / drums
• Tires: 185 HR 14
• Fuel tank capacity: 68 liters
• Length / width / height: 4,988 / 1,775 / 1,359 m
• Roads / Battle: 1,425 / 1,418 / 2,819 m.
• Weight in running order: 1.380 kg.
• Maximum speed: 175 km / h.
• Average consumption: 16 l / 100 km.