Luxury with more than a touch of sport was the key in the mid-1960s for Dodge's top-of-the-line full-size models, the 1965-1966 Dodge Polara 500, Monaco and Monaco 500. In fact, Dodge described its Polara 500 package for 1965 as just the answer "for special, sports-minded, fun-loving people."
Maybe so, but in the looks department, few would rank these as the most alluring Dodges ever -- or even of the decade. Some might even call them stodgy, perhaps ordinary. Yet they were eminently representative of their times, displaying the brand of straight-up, no-nonsense styling that was gaining favor throughout the industry. Body/chassis structures were closely allied to the redesigned Chryslers, whose square shapes were penned by Elwood Engel.
Finally distancing itself from the bonds of its excessively colorful and flamboyant recent past, Dodge could now focus on creating a distinguished -- yet youthful -- demeanor for its biggest automobiles. Juggling those two seemingly contradictory themes was a trick that each American automaker had to learn in a hurry.
If the goodies weren't tempting enough outside, a peek under the surface might convince skeptics that Dodge could build some interesting full-size excitement. Beneath that hood might lurk anything from the basic Polara 383-cubic-inch V-8 with two-barrel carburetor and 270 horsepower, right up to the big 426-cubic-inch "wedge" with 365 horses ready to gallop. In between was a four-barrel 383, as well as a 413-cubic-inch version of the Chrysler V-8.
Extras in the Polara 500 sports package, offered on hardtops and convertibles only, included all-vinyl front bucket seats with center console, a floor-shifted four-speed or three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, padded dashboard, and deluxe wheel covers. Like other Polaras, the 500 had a torsion-bar front suspension with anti-sway bar, curved side-window glass, and crank-type vent panes.
Polaras displayed a slim, full-width dumbbell-shaped grille made up of thin vertical bars, incorporating quad headlights. Outward-angled, Delta-shaped taillights rested at the rear. Fender skirts cost extra.
Read about interiors and options for the Polara and Monaco on the next page.
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