1961 was not a banner year for Dodge car sales. Some say it was their styling which was “controversial.” (Polite way of saying no liked it but the wonk in the corner office.) Imagine this, we are told that some dealers even rejected the division's offerings for the new model year. Sales went down to just over a quarter of a million cars, falling away by over 100,000 units from the previous year. Hmmm. Who lost their job?
1961 Dodge Polara
1961 Dodge Polara
In fact, Dodge dropped three places in the group of major auto producers to ninth position. (Sounds like the New York Mets. You know what I mean if you’re a fan since Kranepool and the rest of the nut squad played. In fact, I believe this may have been the club’s first season in the bigs. Did Mrs. Payson own Dodge?)
Dodge also introduced a compact car called the Lancer which was part of a three-level model choice in 1961. The Dodge Dart was shortened and it was the Polara’s turn to shine. It was the only full-sized Dodge series offered that year. It had what was commonly known as the classic 122-inch wheelbase. In case you are wondering, six models of Dodges were offered in this product line in 1961. (Ok, are you paying attention or have you slipped into snooze mode about now? Please wake me up.)
1961 Dodge Polara
This new big car, Polara, assumed a Dart look-alike appearance. It had an identical front grille but its taillights were deeply recessed. These lights were contained in the tailfins which were described as a wraparound sweep that looked like jet plane exhausts. Hmmm. Can you picture that? No fair peeking at the pictures.
The Polara’s model trim had chrome moldings around the front windshield and rear window and there was a split chrome side strip with a contrasting aluminum insert. Oh boy! Don’t you just love chrome on a car? The car distinguished itself by having an optional trunk lid. How about them potatoes? It was described as an aerodynamic sweep pattern.
1961 Dodge Polara engine
The standard engine assigned to this car was the 265 horsepower 361-cid V- 8, with an optional 383 cid version available. The Dodge Model D-500 V-8 and Ram-Induction D-500 V-8s were also available as optional extras for the Polara. Both featured an unusual intake system with two Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors mounted on a 30- inch long intake manifold. The carburetor was mounted on the right (over the valve cover) and it actually fed the left bank of the engine and so it was with the other side of the engine. These manifolds produced an incredible low-end torque. This was known as the 'Sonoramic' long ram engine.
This dealership still has one left on the lot.
Not only did the engineers try their best to ruin the company’s sales success in 1961, but the marketing department had to submit to drug tests, too. The cars equipment names were based on David Bowie’s song, “Space Oddity, ground control to Major Tom,” with component car parts labeled as 'MirrOMatic' rear-view mirror, 'Satellite' revolving clock, 'Tower Bank' front seats and 'Astrophonic' radio. Hmmm. Maybe E.T. was in the car business before he found his way home! Funny? Come on, lighten up!
Here are the stats:
Engine: V-8 overhead valve, cast iron block
Displacement: 383 cid
Horsepower: 325 at 4800 rpm
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Weight: 3765 lbs.
Wheelbase: 122 inches
Base Price: $3,252
Number Produced: 14,032 built in 1961
Oooops! Christine?? Where's a cop when you need one???
Thanks for reading my stuff. You did read it, right? Test time. Hey, do some shopping. Call one of our advertisers and tell em you love their ad but you're still not going to buy anything from them. That'll help us out real well...maybe you should buy something. Best to ya, we love ya, JP
This is my brother. As you can see he has cool all over him.
Really interested in getting more information on the green 61 polara that you have posted pictures of, is the cross ram engine that you have pictured in this car? I don not see the D500 badge on the rear of the car so I'm assuming the engine is in another car, or it's a non original car