From humble beginnings in the early 1900s to being considered one of the fieriest American divisions during the sixties, and finally to modern day cooperation with Fiat – Dodge has been to hell and back. More than once. Actually, it was their parent automaker Chrysler that’s almost bankrupted a couple of times before finally merging with Fiat. Dodge did play a role in that without a doubt, though. While some classic Dodge models almost destroyed their GM and Ford counterparts, others tried to destroy their own divisions with sub-par quality. Some, like the Dodge Omni on the other hand, tried to do both. Luckily, the Omni’s strong sales not only saved Chrysler from bankruptcy, it also covered up the fact that the compact was far from ideally built.
But the Dodge Omni is a car most people might remember, and as such, is not relevant to us here. Instead, we’ll focus on some way more obscure Dodge city cars that you likely don’t remember. Or perhaps, remember vaguely. Models that, for whatever reason, remained on the market for only a short time. These forgotten Dodge models often entered the market quietly and disappeared abruptly, with most of them failing to achieve the anticipated sales. Some were fine cars and deserved better than that, while others got just what they deserved. Whatever the case, you’ll likely have to dig deep in order to remember them all.
If you consider yourself to be a genuine Mopar aficionado, feel free to take a look at these lists of the fastest and most powerful Mopars of their time and Chrysler-Mopars that probably deserved better. Furthermore, you might also be interested in the Mopar-Chrysler edition of extremely rare limited run models and special edition vehicles.
1960 Matador Wagon
The Dodge Matador itself ended up being a one year only offering. Of four body styles available – a 4-door sedan, 2 and 4-door hardtop, and 4-door station wagon – the last model was, naturally, the scarcest. It’s no wonder then why only a handful of people still remember one of Dodge’s most beautiful wagons.
The Matador was introduced in order to bridge the gap between the more premium full-size cars and smaller Darts. Although sharing the same new unibody construction, the Matador and Dart didn’t have the same wheelbase. The Matador’s wheelbase was 4 inches longer, slotting it in the new full-size base trim vehicle segment, just below the more upscale Polara. All Matadors, including wagons, came with the standard 361 cubic in “Super Red Ram” V8 engine. The 2-barrel setup raised 295 horsepower no matter the choice in transmission – either a 3-speed manual or 3-speed Torque-Flite automatic. As for the optional engine, that job was assigned to the 383 cu in “Ram Fire” V8. The regular 4-barrel models generated 325 horsepower, while the “D 500” setup with ram induction raised an additional 5 ponies. However, the latter option was only available with the automatic.
While both the Matador and the Polara were Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look” cars, the former failed to offer as much exterior chrome and plushy interior upholstery as the latter. It also failed to include a number of features that otherwise came with Polara. While 27,908 total Matadors were made, only about 4,500 of those were wagons. It’s impossible to discern how many of those are actually out and about these days, but we’d wager it’s significantly fewer now.