Dodge Wayfarer

Wayfarer was an expression used to describe a romantic traveler walking on foot. Dodge management used this image of adventure and modest traveling with style to promote their new stylish car for the masses.

Dodge Wayfarer was first introduced in 1949, when Chrysler just prepared modern model lineup for the post World War II America. It was a unique moment in time, as life in the United States slowly returned to normal. Young soldiers came home and found regular jobs, while industry produced more and more consumer goods.

National economy was growing fast and many Americans wanted something better. In late 1940s, many of them were actually earning enough money to buy a better car.

This strong demand for new vehicles put all the manufacturers under pressure to provide better models. Dodge Wayfarer was offered in two options, a two door sedan and roadster. Prices were a bit over $1,720 in 1949, which was considered affordable at the time.

People loved the true roadster features and details such as side curtains, which resulted with impressive 49,058 built units. Dodge Wayfarer was given completely modern exterior design for 1949. Very square appearance with a bright massive grille showed the key trends of the era. The public was demanding long, low, and wide cars. Front fenders were flush, while bolted rear fenders were capped by three sided taillights.

Chrysler management was more than happy to provide them with vehicles that looked low but were actually pretty comfortable from inside. The heavy Dodge Wayfarer weighed 3,145 pounds. Power performance was based on Chrysler inline 230.2 cu in six cylinder engine capable of generating 103 horsepower. It provided decent results despite the Wayfarer's weight, with top speed of 75 mph and going from 0 to 60 in 25 seconds.

But to be fair, Dodge didn't design this model for speed. It was a solid performance vehicle for young families with relatively limited budget. Floating power insulation that contained additional rubber insulators between road and the cabin secured a great quality of driving. Together with independent front suspension and excellent brakes the Dodge Wayfarer covered most important aspects.

Vehicle bodies were made by Briggs manufacturing with a front opening hood unlike the previously used side opening hoods. Quality craftsmanship earned a great reputation of toughness and rust resistance. Semi automatic fluid drive transmission had two main gear positions. Low position included first and second gear, while high position active third and fourth.

When you wanted to make a fast start, this transmission system made a unique thumping sound from shifting to the fourth gear. Actual clutch was installed, but it was only used to change between low/high gears, making Dodge Wayfarer a model that required virtually no gear shifting. Most of the collectors find Dodge Wayfarer roadster model highly desirable. Only 5,420 were built in the initial year and quite a few has been preserved or restored.

Prices naturally depend on age and condition. A mechanically correct roadster can cost more than $13,450 in comparison to more than $44,000 that sellers want for perfect overall condition samples. Dodge Wayfarer is a remarkable example of post World War II automotive history and continues to inspire car lovers to this day.

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