Lili Yacub stands by her baby

Hot Car: 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger

This week's Swinger reminds us of what compact coupes used to be like back in the day.

At any classic car show, it’s easy to get lost in the yesteryear automotive beauty and obsessively-polished chrome. All nostalgic and deliciously intoxicated by leaking benzene and rich carbs, one gets a sense of disappointment upon realizing many of these antique machines are purely museum pieces that only see sunny skies and nothing else.

Not everyone caresses their “baby” with gloves in a dry garage though; some owners prefer to drive their classics to their full potential. Local Sookie Lili Yacub is such an example, who drives her 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger pretty much every day.

Introduced in 1967, the Dodge Dart remained in production until 1976 as Chrysler’s “compact” sedan, which, using the same platform, helped spawn the Dart’s other sibling, the Plymouth Valiant. Scamps and Swingers were coupes only, as were their more aggressively-styled cousins, the Demon and Duster. Powertrains ranged from several variants of the slant-six (inline-six-cylinder) to the full enchalada, a 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8.

Yacub said she was always a fan of cars from the late 1960’s and late 1970’s era.

“I love the lines and simplicity,” she said. “To me, the Dart was the working class muscle car; it was mean and fast, and that’s all that really matters.”

This particular model is a Swinger from the land of Illinois in sky-blue metallic and white vinyl roof. It also comes equipped with a beefed-up 318 V8 and twin exhausts, allowing that guttural, classic American-muscle sound resonate through your soul. And it’s not just sound and no go; there’s enough torque to swing this Swinger ’round in a jiffy, should the driver’s right foot suddenly become too heavy.

In the long run, Yacub, who plans to do a lot of the work on the car herself, hopes to restore the Swinger to the same shininess and glory it had when it rolled out Chrysler’s doors in 1972.

Dodge Dart Fun Fact Sheet

• At the time of its unveiling, the Dart was clasiffied as a “compact” even though it eclipses a modern compact car by a significant margin.

• Chrysler’s A-Body platform (which the Dart is based on) spawned many other siblings, such as the Demon, Plymouth Duster, the Scamp, Barracuda and the Valiant.

• The “Swinger 340” was the Dart’s performance model until 1971, when it was replaced by the 340 Demon. Though the same underneath, the Demon featured a “fastback” style rear end design.

• In 1969, the top-line performance Dart GTS model featured a “big block” 440 V8 (7.2L) pumping out 375 bhp. Pretty big cojones for a car nearly half the size of a typical American land yacht.

• The Dart name was brought back in 2012 under Chrysler-Fiat’s Alfa-Romeo Giuletta platform.

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