The 1974 Dodge Dart "Hang 10" – A Groovy Blend of Swimsuit Material and Plush Shag Carpet

Amidst the whirlwind of 1974, Richard Nixon's turbulent resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal sent shockwaves through the nation. This was a year further marred by a devastating onslaught of tornadoes, claiming over 300 lives and injuring more than 5,000.

The global recession and rampant inflation led to the introduction of a new 55-mph (89-kph) speed limit, aiming to conserve precious fuel during these trying times.

During this period, the U.S. automotive market faced its own set of challenges. As new fuel consumption and emission regulations emerged, they marked the end of the road for high-power big-block V8 engines and high-performance vehicles.

The once-powerful Ford Mustang, which had boasted over 300 horsepower, transformed into a stylish Pinto, lacking a V8 option in its debut year. However, not all hope was lost.

As muscle cars fell out of favor, compact vehicles surged in popularity. Mopar's A-Body cars, for example, sold a staggering 550,000 units in 1974. To boost Dart sales and compete with Plymouth's popularity, Dodge introduced a range of limited-edition models and special packages in the mid-1970s.

The Dart SE offered a more luxurious take on the compact, while the innovative Convertriple package featured a fold-down rear seat and security panel, extending the trunk area to an impressive 77.2 inches (two meters) in length.

This ingenuity gave rise to the Dart "Hang 10," a car specifically designed with surfers in mind and a creative way for Dodge to gauge consumer preferences. As one might expect, the Convertriple option provided ample space for a surfboard to be loaded through the trunk, epitomizing the marriage of style and functionality in the automotive world.

The "Hang 10" stood out with its eye-catching stripe package, featuring red and blue stripes running the full length of the beltline and culminating in wave-riding surfer graphics on the quarter panels. The rear fascia showcased a similar design with "Hang 10" lettering, while the front hood was adorned with surfboard-shaped graphics in patriotic red, white, and blue.

Inside the cabin, the surf-inspired theme persisted with vibrant orange shag carpeting, orange accents on the dashboard and center console, and striped swimsuit fabric gracing the seats and door panels.

Although a strikingly unique offering for its time, the Dart "Hang 10" saw limited sales, with only around 700 units produced in 1974 and early 1975—a mere fraction of the total Dart production that year. The majority were equipped with 225-cubic-inch (3.7-liter) inline-six and 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) V8 engines.

Fast forward to 2023, and the "Hang 10" has become one of the rarest Mopars from the mid-1970s. While not particularly expensive when they do appear for sale, finding one in good condition requires a stroke of luck.

The pristine example showcased here, though not for sale, is one such fortunate unit, meticulously restored to its original specifications. Complete with shag carpeting, swimsuit upholstery, and even a matching surfboard in the trunk, this gem of a restoration took an incredible five years to complete.

While this might be longer than most enthusiasts would dedicate to a Malaise-era Dart, the result is undeniably stunning. This "Hang 10" is likely one of only a handful in such impeccable condition. Get a closer look at this beauty in the video below.

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