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1965-1968 Dodge Monaco and 500


1968 Dodge Monaco
In 1968, the Dodge Monaco received a limited cosmetic makeover. Toned-down taillights ran the full width of the car, and a simplified three-section grille graced the front.
In 1968, the Dodge Monaco received a limited cosmetic makeover. Toned-down taillights ran the full width of the car, and a simplified three-section grille graced the front.

Predictably, 1968 was a big-Dodge facelift year -- with new federally mandated side marker lamps an easy identification point -- and the 1968 Dodge Monaco was no exception. Side trim was revised for all models, and hardtop sedan rooflines acquired tapering C-pillars and smaller backlights, although the change in appearance hardly justified the tooling expense.

Up front, the three-section grille was recast by Bob Gale, gaining recessed, full-width inserts and prominent twin vertical struts aligned with carryover hood and bumper forms. Polaras used a horizontal-bar texture; Monacos retained eggcrate, again with a central crest.

At the rear, all these "D" series cars had a new common bumper and decklid, plus full-width taillamps flared outboard into subtle wedges. Polara lamps "hid" behind closely spaced vertical chrome ribs. For Monacos, Ken Saylor reinstated wall-to-wall taillights divided into skinny quarters by a slim "cross-hair" bar. Aligned with the decklid windsplit was a vertical central backup light, the first time Chrysler had employed this trick since the 1958 Plymouth. The Dodges finally had a Pontiac-style "split grille," even if it was on the wrong end.

Monaco 500 remained a separate one-model series for 1968, but its ribbed lower side trim was newly applied to lesser Monacos, albeit in a slightly narrower form. Cornering lamps set into the lower front fenders were a new 500 standard feature, but the interior wicker was gone. Dashboards were revised once more, while engine selections remained as before, although with some added horsepower for the 383.

Despite the relative lack of change, senior Dodge sales recovered for 1968 -- except the Monaco 500, which fell off to 4,568 even though the comparable Chrysler 300 finally had a higher starting price ($4,010 vs. $3,869). No doubt many 500 prospects ended up driving away in one of the new 1968 Chargers instead, a striking car with its long snout, "double-diamond" bodysides, and distinctive "tunnelback" roof.

Find out what the future held for the Dodge Monaco in 1969 on the next page.

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