Good morning, Autopians, and happy Friday! We made it, not only to the end of the week, but to the end of our voyage down Route 66 as well. (Hey, Bobby Troup mashed Kingman, Barstow, and San Bernardino together all at the end; so can I.) We’re going a little fancier and more expensive today, just to make sure we end this series on a high note. But first, let’s finish up with yesterday’s 2WD SUVs:
Huh. I’ll be damned. I expected that to go the other way. Could it be the Aztek’s time is coming around? Or is the idea of a 2WD Cherokee just that absurd? Either way, looks like we’re going car-camping.
And that brings us to the final installment of our first-anniversary trip down Route 66. Today’s route takes us out of Arizona into California, through the Mojave Desert, and on into Los Angeles. It only seems fitting that the last two cars on our journey be American classics, and both old enough to have traveled the Mother Road itself. And either one would make a statement upon arrival in LA. Let’s take a look.
Engine/drivetrain: 134 cubic inch F-head inline 4, three-speed manual with overdrive, RWD
Location: Kingman, AZ
Odometer reading: unknown
Runs/drives? Of course!
After World War II, Willys-Overland started producing Jeeps for civilian use. Wagons, panel vans, and pickup trucks quickly followed, but Willys wanted more. Enter the Jeepster, a low-slung variation on the same theme, with a more car-like interior, aimed at urban customers who weren’t exactly the Jeep demographic.
The Jeepster originally came with the same “Go-Devil” flathead inline four that served so many Jeeps so faithfully. This later model features a more advanced “Hurricane” four, with an “F-head” design; the intake valves are in the head above the pistons, but the exhaust valves are down in the block, flathead-style. Sending this little engine’s 75 horsepower to the rear wheels is a three-speed manual with overdrive.
The seller says it runs and drives well, and still operates off its original six-volt electrical system. We don’t get many details about it in the ad, but plenty of photos of the undercarriage show its condition, and it looks like an honest old car in good shape. A clean frame and a smattering of new parts make it look like you could drive this thing just about anywhere.
It isn’t cheap, but for a bona-fide classic in this kind of shape, it doesn’t seem too expensive either, when you look at what some sellers are asking for things these days. It won’t be fast, but it’s a cool convertible with a good honest face and a storied bloodline.
Engine/drivetrain: 318 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD
Location: Riverside, CA
Odometer reading: 95,000 miles
Runs/drives? Sure does!
When somebody says “Dodge Dart,” chances are you think of the slab-sided A-body sister model to the Plymouth Valiant, with a Slant Six under the hood and vinyl on the roof. This is not that car. The ’62 Dart rode on Chrysler’s larger B platform, and featured, shall we say, unique styling.
The ’62 Dart is one of those cars that has a front end with another, smaller front end inside it, a styling curiosity that I know Torch has written about before, but I can’t find the link right now [Editor’s Note: Google harder, man! It’s right here! – JT]. You would call it over-styled, except that compared to the ornate creations of Virgil Exner that graced Dodge showrooms only a couple years prior, this car is almost boring. Almost.
And you won’t find a Slant Six under this hood. This is a 318, but not the 318 you’re thinking of; this is the earlier A-series “poly” V8, so named for its polyspherical combustion chambers. This was originally a Plymouth design, back when Chrysler’s divisions produced their own engines, but Dodge started using it in 1960 as well. Here, it’s topped with a four-barrel carb and backed by a pushbutton Torqueflite automatic.
The seller says this Dart runs and drives very well, and has newer tires. Its overall condition is perfectly presentable, but the front seat upholstery could stand to be redone, and the seller says there is a little rust creeping in along the bottom of the fenders. Neither of those are anything that would prevent you from cruising around in this stylish machine, however.
Well, thanks for coming along with me on this little voyage down Route 66. On Monday we’ll be back to business as usual, with a couple more cheap old beaters to look at. See you then! Have a great weekend.
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)