Dodge’s mighty mite
GTS meant GT Sport. It was the name of a sexy new-for-’68 “sawed-off shotgun” that was a whole bunch more than a sporty compact car. “Not to take the edge off the Road Runner, the GTS might be a more sensible package,” said Hot Rod magazines’s Steve Kelly in the publication’s April 1968 issue. “The base price is higher, but you get things like carpet on the floor, fat tires, bucket seats and a few other niceties that can make Saturday night roaming more comfortable. The engine’s smaller, but that could prove an advantage for drag racing classes.”
Two hefty V-8s were available. A 340-cid small-block engine was standard. It was derived from the 273-318-cid Chrysler family of engines and had a 4.04 x 3.31-inch bore and stroke, a 10.5:1 compression ratio and a single four-barrel carburetor. The 340 engine cranked out 275 hp at 5000 rpm and 340 lbs.-ft. of torque at 3200 rpm. A 383-cid big-block engine with a four-barrel carburetor and 300 hp was optional. The 383 added 89 lbs. to the car if you got a four-speed gearbox and 136 lbs. if you got an automatic transmission. A standard 3.23:1 rear axle was supplied, but 3.55:1 and 3.91:1 ratio axles were also available as optional equipment.
Other technical enhancements included a low-restriction dual exhaust system with chrome tips, a heavy-duty Rallye suspension, 14 x 5.5-inch wheels and E70-14 Red Streak tires. Although a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission was standard, most Dart GTS models had either a four-speed manual gearbox with a Hurst floor shifter or a competition-type TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
Also identifying the GTS were hood power bulges with air vents, body side racing stripes, special GTS emblems and simulated mag wheel covers. A bumblebee stripe to decorate the car’s rear end was a no-cost option. Vinyl front bucket seats were standard in the $2,611 hardtop and optional in the $3,383 convertible.
In 1968, the production of the GTS models was lumped into the total of 24,100 Dart GT series V-8s produced. The 1968 Dart GTS hardtop with the 340-cid/270-hp power train tested out with a 0-to-60 time of 6 seconds. It did the quarter-mile in a “Scat Pack” time of 15.2 seconds. Hot Rod magazine published even better numbers for its 340-cid TorqueFlite-equipped Dart GTS, which ran down the quarter-mile in 14.38 seconds at 97 mph.
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