Dodge Polara

As a part of Virgil Exner 'Forward Look' design Dodge Polara first appeared in 1960. With the jet influenced tail lights, futuristic looking tail-fins, extensive use of chrome Polara was supposed to take over the market. Interior design also showed top-of-the-line impression with a number of appropriate decorations.

From the commercial standpoint, the sales were below expectation since Polara was unable to reach the average consumer. In part the failure of launch can be credited to Dodge Matador and Dodge Dart, which overshadowed the basic Polara concept.

Dodge Polara was available as a 2-door convertible, 2-door hardtop coupe, 4-door hardtop sedan, 4-door hardtop station wagon, and conventional 4-door sedan. The company tried to increase sales with various styling updates and modifications, but to no avail.

With only 14,032 units produced the sales were dismal in 1961. The design incorporated traditional Dodge styling hallmarks such as shortened tail fins with small vertical tail light lenses at the back of the fin.

Fins were made taller as they flowed toward the rear window. The main goal was to exaggerate the length of the jet pods holding the tail lights, creating again more futuristic appearance. Polara also received a chrome stone guard aft of the rear wheel housings, a full-length chrome spear, and a wide chrome base to the chrome spear atop the headlight housings.

For 1961, Dodge division dropped the Matador and Polara became the sole full size Dodge model. When Chrysler's management believed that Chevrolet's largest cars would be downsized for 1962, they jumped at the opportunity to beat them to the market. Unfortunately, it was all based upon on misunderstanding which would prove quite costly in the future.

Chrysler designers shortened the planned 1962 Dodge full-size line, making the models size closer to Ford's new intermediate Fairlane rather than competition (Chevrolet, Ford, General Motors) in full-size model market. After realizing their mistake, Dodge quickly put together a bucket-seated sporty 2-door hardtop called the Polara 500. It was also available as a convertible, and a 4-door hardtop version.

The mid-sized models were available with optional V8 engines. Even though they didn't impress the American public, most of them competed successfully as stock cars in NASCAR races. Actually it was their smaller size and lighter weight that proved an advantage over the larger cars from Ford and General Motors.

It took five years to recover the public confidence and in 1965 the Dodge Polara was again a full-size model offered as sedan, hardtop and station wagon. From 1965 through 1968 the vehicle was given regular yearly styling design updates. The rounded design was replaced with square design of the Polara.

In the front of the vehicle there were dual headlights on each side, integrated into the grill and positioned above the chrome bumper. More revisions to the interior design occurred in 1966 with the inclusion of a telescopic and tilt steering wheel and four-passenger seat belts. The automatic transmission was given a reverse lockout button while the door handles were moved to the front edge of the armrests in an effort to improve safety.

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