This part of the website will be about the first car I really enjoyed driving. It was a 1965 Dodge Dart 170 Station Wagon with a 170 cu.inc. Slant Six and 3 speed manual, three on the tree.
I bought the car in I think March 1981 when I was in the military, in boot camp in "Gamlebyen" in Fredrikstad. Gamlebyen means "old town", and an army boot camp was there. The old town was from
the old day, several hundred years old, and had a trench with water around to keep the enemy out. A guy who was there the same time as I had this Dart, and he had to sell it because he was starting
Fredrikstad is in southern part of Norway, not so far from Sweden, and after boot camp I was going up north to serve the rest of the year, 9 months.
I drove through the middle of Sweden up north, and the carked flawless. In the end of march it is still winter in the middle of Sweden, and it becomes more and more winter the furter north you get.
I remember I drove through a town in Sweden named Mora, where they are famous for making knives, "Mora kniven".
Roads in Sweden are wider and more straight than in Norway, and the same with Finland. Still, all these three countries have excellent winter roads, and excellent equipment for keeping the roads
clear of snow. The Swedes had even used a grader to make the surface flat and smooth. In one long left curve I got too far out, with the right front wheel outside the road, but it still looked like
a road since the grader had gone further out than the pavement was. The car lost control, and the only thing I could do was just let it go until it stopped by itself. I did not want to brake, because
I was afraid the car would sink further down and maybe hit a rock. It was deep snow, and I had no idea how it looked like under it.
It was in the middle of the day, and not a car in sight. No traffic, and far from any town or even house in the countryside. Everything was white pretty much, except for the small birch trees that was
sticking up without the leaves. The car was sunken so deep that I remember I had to crawl out the window, and then stamp with my feet outside the door until I could open it. The next thing was to open the hood to see how it looked
under there. Well, that was a surprise, it was nothing to see, just white snow, but with the markings from the underside of the hood in the snow. I had some tools in the car, and a small aluminum
showel, but I did not want to use it much because I was afraid to damage something on the engine. Or hit something electrical and shorten it.
The snow was packed very hard, so I would need something to loosen up the snow. A bit further away I broke of a couple of thin branches of a birch and was sticking them down into the snow to get it
loose. If I am not mistaken I had managed to get down to the alternator and loosened it so the fan belt was free, and also gotten a free opening around the air filter, had the top of the filter off,
and checked that the engine could get air. I also got down to the distributor and cleared the snow of there, since I was afraid of moist getting in under the distibutor cap and shorten that.
At this point a little truck from the local power company came, and stopped and wondered if I needed help. Oh yes I did. Even if the truck was not very big he had no issues hauling the Dart back on
It was nothing else to do than go out, and continue digging around the engine, and also around the front suspension. It was hard snow there too, so I had limited steering, and the car was heavy in the
front because of all the snow. And the snow packed in the suspension prevented it from moving up and down too. It was nothing else to do than turn the wheels as much as I could to either side and use
the piece of the branch and get piece after piece of the snow loose, and move the car a little forward when the pile under it got too big.
I think I used an hour to clear up the car, and put the fan belt back on and tightned the alternator. Once the engine was running the rest of the snow would melt.
Nothing more happened on the trip. I slept in the car, in a too thin sleeping bag, so it did not take long before I started freezing, and then it was up and driving again. When the night came I was
back in Norway up in the north, and I remember stopping at a gas station and back in those days the pumps took cash, so I fed it bills and could pump until the cash was used up. On this particular
gas station I remember being a bit tired, and then we get kind of cold, and it was horribly cold outside, and I have never in my life, neither before nor after felt such a cold and struggled so
filling gas. I was shaking so that I barely got the bills in the pump. But, I finaly managed, and drove a little more and closer to the coast where it was not as cold, and went to sleep.
In those days people were friendly and harmless, it was no issue driving around in the Nordic countries like that, and no one would bug you, and if they saw you needed help they would stop and
help and you did not have to worry about your life or money or anything. And the Swedes are wonderful people, not met one nasty Swede in my life.
Well, I got home, and the 1965 Dodge Dart served me well with only smaller adjustments and repairs until the year after. Then I overhauled the engine and replaced the bearings in the transmission,
and replaced the clutch and adjoining parts. When opening the engine, it had a copper only head gasket, and it had between 1/8" to 3/16" piston ring gap. It used oil, it did that, but it ran smooth,
and gave good gas mileage.
All in all I have not had a car I enjoyed so much as this old Station Wagon. I ended up selling it, and ended up with Fords for many years.
Today I feel sort of ashamed that I did not make a bigger effort in fixing the car. And, since I now am older, I really wish I had it back because it really meant a lot to me back then, and still
does. And 1965 Dodge Dart Station Wagons are kind of hard to come by.
Now I live in northern California, and moving to a new country when you are over 50 is kind of a tough thing. However, I love my wife a lot, and that is what keeps me here. But I have felt I lacked
something. So, in the middle of July this year I ended up buying a 1965 Dodge Dart 4 door sedan. I know, it is not a Station Wagon. But it is at least a 1965 Dodge Dart, and I love the car. It has a
Slant Six like I had, just the big brother, a 225 cu.in. engine with 145 horsepower instead of the 101 horsepower I was used to. It also has an automatic transmission.
This is the new 1965 Dodge Dart 4 door sedan that I bought in mid July. The picture is taken shortly after I bought the car and got it home
The story will continue, but it might take some time