1962 Dodge Polara 500

Dodge thought smaller big cars would be hot in 1962, and the 1962 Dodge Polara 500 convertible was no different. Most buyers thought otherwise, but the lighter, sportier new Darts and Polara 500s were hot on the street and unbeatable on the dragstrip.

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1962 Dodge Polara
The 1962 Dodge Polara ruled on the dragstrip.
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American car buyers were rushing to compacts by 1962, so Dodge seemed to have good reason for drastically shrinking its standard cars that year. Trouble was, size still mattered to big-car customers, so Dodge's "New Lean Breed" was a tough sell. Oddball styling didn't help. As a result, Dodge dropped 30,000 sales on top of 1961's 25-percent decline. Things would have been worse had true big Dodges not been hastily reinstated during the year.

1962 Dodge Polara
The 1962 Dodge Polara featured standard bucket seats.

Among the downsized '62 Dodges that did sell were 12,268 top-line Polara 500s: hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan, and convertible with standard bucket seats and a 305-horsepower 361 V-8. A 310-bhp version was available, along with 330- and 335-bhp 383s and -- the real excitement -- a big new 413 Ramcharger with up to 415 bhp. Though few Polaras got that thumping "wedgehead," it made the light Dart two-door a dragstrip terror, and Dodge soon ruled in quarter-mile contests. At least it was consolation for the dreary sales performance.

For more classic convertibles of the 1960s and 1970s, see:

1960 Dodge Polara
1960 Edsel Ranger
1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS
1963 Ford Falcon Futura
1963 Plymouth Sport Fury
1965 Chrysler 300L
1965 Rambler American 440
1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
1969 Plymouth Road Runner
1969 Shelby GT-500
1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7
1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale
1975 Pontiac Grand Ville
1976 Cadillac Eldorado
1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona1968 Mercury Park Lane 1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these: