Glacier Blue “Forward Look” Beauty: 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix Hardtop Coupe

  • April 12, 2021
The Rundown
  • Highly Original, Well-Preserved Condition
  • Eye-Catching Glacier Blue Paint & Nice Body
  • Joe Gibbs Racing-Rebuilt 225ci ‘Slant Six” Engine
  • Desirable Torqueflite 3-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Fascinating Early-1960s Styling Cues
  • Unique Semi-Fastback Roof & High Rear Window
Why We Like It

As one of the final expressions of famed stylist Virgil Exner’s long running and massively successful “Forward Look” design theme of 1955-63 for the Chrysler Corporation, the original Dart was the Dodge Division’s mainstay big car line for 1960-‘61. Positioned below the high-end Polara, the Dart line was heavily facelifted for 1961, a model year that continued to include the Phoenix Hardtop Coupe, featuring a sleek semi-fastback roofline and huge sloping rear window. The 1961 Dodge line also remains significant as the last to feature now-passé tailfins.


glacier-blue-forward-look-beauty-1961-dodge-dart-phoenix-hardtop-coupe78587309-770-0@2XOur subject car was acquired by the seller in 2008 from a friend who had just purchased the car out of a Wyoming-based car collection. The factory 225ci ‘Slant Six’ was a bit tired, so our seller installed a new engine rebuilt by NASCAR’s Joe Gibbs Racing and fully serviced the chassis with everything either new, rebuilt, or replaced. As the seller advises, the car has plenty of power and is a pleasure to drive with its Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission. A super rare, one-year-only “wide-spaced fin” alternator charges the battery and was professionally rebuilt. The solid, mostly rust-free body looks very nice overall and proper care has stopped some bubbling on the right rear-wheel arch. Glass is stated “excellent,” including the signature rear window of the Phoenix, and the Glacier Blue paint finish is estimated at 80% original. Sold only to thin the seller’s herd down to a more manageable size, this 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix is a fun and very nicely preserved example indeed.


Valuation Verdict

American cars of the late-1950s/early-1960s have been criticized for their stylistic excesses, but they have an undeniable “Space Age” charm with futuristic design cues, dashing color schemes, growing amenities, and robust powertrain combinations. This Dart Phoenix Hardtop Coupe is a wonderful, well-preserved example of the breed and its ‘Slant Six’/Torqueflite powertrain should deliver many miles of “Fabulous ‘50s” fun. Taking Hagerty’s 5% deduction for the thrifty six under the hood, a good #3 Dart Phoenix Hardtop Coupe should bring about $12,500 and an excellent #2 should draw $16,600. Our subject example seems to be ready to enjoy and show off with pride and while the asking price is a bit over #2 money, we think it’ll represent ‘Fair Market’ value at just below the advertised price for a buyer who appreciates preservation over restoration and is seeking a nice American cruiser with plenty of space for friends and family to come along for the ride.

People reacted to this car
Don't know where the estimated values attributed to Hagerty for this 1961 Phoenix came from. Hagerty's Online Valuation Tool has not posted any estimated values for a 1961 Phoenix 2dr hardtop since April 12th through May 24th. Using the NADA/J.D. Power Pricing Guides, the estimated Average Retail value for a six cylinder 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix 2dr hardtop with automatic transmission in good condition is $14,400 (a "20-footer"). The estimated High Retail value is $20,900. That value is for a similarly equipped Phoenix 2dr hardtop in excellent condition overall. It is not a 100-point #1 car. Also, please note that the listed Phoenix has the optional 3 speed Torqueflite automatic transmission, not the more common 2 speed. Frank R...
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