It is a pretty rare situation when an automaker’s original concept vehicle crosses the auction block. This next Saturday, Dodge fans with enough cash in hand will get a chance to bid on one unique Dodge concept vehicle that helped build excitement for a new package for one of its popular nameplates.
This Dodge Dart Swinger 340 Concept Car was created under the direction of the Dodge division for the 1969 auto show circuit and would first appear at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show. The concept vehicle showpieces of an automaker’s display would help promote design ideas or help engineering embrace new ideas for new or future product. Once their auto show tour was completed, many automakers would either put the vehicle in storage, sell the vehicle to a private collector, or be destroyed.
With the production model Swinger debuting later that year as a “Sport” package for the compact, the car didn’t have the average concept car tour life one would expect. The Dart Swinger 340 Concept was based on the economy Dart muscle car, and then modified using the same drivetrain that would come in the production version. Its more radical design was done by the legendary Alexander Brothers firm in Detroit (the builders behind the iconic Dodge Deora). The Alexander Brothers worked closely with the Dodge design studio, to make sure that the car offered a unique appearance.
After being stored away for a number of years, famed Chrysler collector, the late Steven Juliano acquired the vehicle. It wasn’t long after that a comprehensive restoration was done using both its original components and new original stock (NOS) parts.
The restoration began with the 5.5-liter (340 cubic-inch) V8 engine, which features a 4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust with stock manifolds and bright tips, and the OEM air cleaner. Since concept cars were built primarily for image, they were mechanically equipped in a way that would prevent problems whenever possible. The Dart Swinger 340 Concept was equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission, power steering, and power brakes.
Aiming to give the car a more international flavor, the Alexander Brothers gave the Dart square Cibie headlights and a pair of inboard fog lamps located in the center of the grille. Both used a thin-line of surrounding chrome trim. There was a faux air intake added to hood, give the car a more aggressive look. At the back of the car, Alexander Brothers also gave the Dart a uniquely molded rear spoiler and custom taillights. The door handles were removed in favor for a hidden vertical-edge design. Color-coded mirrors, flip-top fuel cap from the Dodge Charger, and a 1969 “Scat Stripe” were also added to the vehicle to help add more of a sporty appearance. The car was finished in a Maroon Metallic exterior color.
Inside, the car features a mostly stock layout as well. The black bucket-seat interior and standard dash layout are complemented by the factory Hurst shifter and a radio-delete plate. Since the car was for “display only” at the time, the windshield-wash reservoir is capped off and there are no wipers. Nonetheless, the wiper engine was left in place on the firewall to eliminate the need for a custom cover.
One aspect about these show cars is that they sometimes premiered ideas from the styling studio. There is a consideration that some of this Swinger’s concepts were based on the upcoming 1970 reworking of the Dart, such as the grille framing and hood hold-down pins. Picking the final touch on any show car can be a challenge, but the now-hardened lines of the Swinger concept did not require anything delicate. A set of Ansen Sprint slotted aluminum wheels with Goodyear Wide Tread GT raised white-letter tires help complete the car’s look.
This one-off machine will cross the Mecum Kissimmee auction block this Saturday, January 15th, 2022. It is featured as Lot # S242.1 and is estimated to bring in between $130,000 to $150,000. To learn more, you can visit the Mecum website on how to bid on this piece of Mopar history.
1969 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 Concept Car Image Gallery: