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1965-1966 Dodge Polara 500/Monaco & Monaco 500

1965-1966 Dodge Polara 500, Monaco and Monaco 500
An optional black roof, as on this 1964, accented 15 color choices on the 1965 and 1966 Dodges.
An optional black roof, as on this 1964, accented 15 color choices on the 1965 and 1966 Dodges.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1965-1966 Dodge Polara 500, Monaco and Monaco 500 offered a wide range of options and some luxury touches.

Monaco for 1965 was billed as the "Limited Edition Dodge for the man with unlimited taste." This "one-of-a-kind, best-of-everything Dodge" sold only as a two-ton, two-door hardtop, with a $3,355 price tag. Riding the same 121-inch wheelbase as the Polaras, Monaco reached even further in their quest for a mix of luxury and vigor, sophistication and spirit.

Interiors earned special attention. Deep pleated bucket seats came in soft saddle-grain vinyl with a rattan wicker pattern on the backs (and matching door panels), or a combination of Dawson-pattern cloth and vinyl.

Full-length consoles could get an optional tachometer, inset in brushed aluminum. Rear passengers enjoyed integrated bucket seats, while the driver faced a three-spoke translucent steering wheel.

Appropriate ticks on the option list brought even more pleasures, from electric windows to an Auto Pilot and air conditioning. Monaco bodies, meanwhile, came in a selection of 15 colors, which could be accented by an optional grained-vinyl roof in black or white.

A healthy helping of torque permitted the Motor Trend Monaco with the 413-cubic-inch engine to blast to 60 in a sizzling 8.4 seconds -- less than a second slower than a 426-cubic-inch Polara 500 had achieved a year earlier.

That's rapid motion indeed for a car with so many pounds to haul along, and a TorqueFlite transmission. Chrysler's four-speed gearbox with the 426 engine would contribute even more prowess. Standard Monaco mill was a four-barrel edition of the 383, rated at 315 horsepower.

Tapered taillights grew much wider for 1966, reaching into "MONACO" block lettering on the rear. Monaco 500 was the top model this time, highlighted by sill moldings and paint striping. Dodge promoted Monaco's "lavish display of luxury on the inside that some people call downright sinful."

The standard 383-cubic-inch engine with TorqueFlite now wielded 325 horsepower. Both the Polara and Monaco 500 could get a 440-cubic-inch V-8 this year, rated at 350 horsepower (365 with dual exhausts). Front-disc brakes were optional on each full-size Dodge. This year's grille had the same "dumbbell" shape as 1965, but with its thin vertical bars in an evenly spaced pattern.

Not the best-remembered of Dodges today, the poshest Polara and Monaco two-doors earned a spot in history for their clever blend of formality and frivolity. They helped bring Dodge to a decade-high production total in 1966, earning fifth spot in the sales rankings.

Both names continued into the 1970s, though the cars themselves were overshadowed by the rising popularity of mid-size muscle machines.

To see specifications for the 1965-1966 Dodge Polara 500, Monaco and Monaco 500, continue to the next page.

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