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History of the 1969-1973 Dodge Polara
The 1969 Dodge Polara was given a complete redesign to feature the company’s new “fuselage” styling. This treatment smoothed over the sculpted sides of the previous edition and presaged the smooth look of the 1970s. The Polara was Dodge’s basic full-size offering, and was available as the base edition or the mid-level Polara 500. Polara shared its body, chassis and manufacturing line with the more upscale Monaco.
The Polara was available as a four-door sedan and hardtop, two-door hardtop and convertible, and as a 6- or 9-passenger four-door station wagon. The Polara 500 was offered as a two-door hardtop and convertible.
The 1969 Polara received Dodge’s 318-cid V-8 engine rated at 230 hp. A variety of engine options were available, including two 383-cid V-8 engines offering 290 or 300 hp, and the Magnum 440 with 375 hp, or the 426-cid Hemi at 425 hp. A three-speed manual transmission was standard, with four-speed manual or three-speed TorqueFlite automatic as options.
Hard changes were minimal for 1970, including a light restyle of the bumpers and bodywork, but the standard features and option list was extensively shuffled. A new base model Polara Special was introduced, mainly for taxi and police fleet use, with an inline 225-cid “Slant 6” six-cylinder engine offering 145 hp and no luxury features. Intermediate Polara models received the 318 again, while the Polara Custom received the 383 engine with a two-barrel carburetor allowing for 290 horsepower. Engine upgrade options were still available.
Body styles for the 1970 Polara Special included a four-door sedan and four-door station wagon, while the standard Polara was again offered in a four-door sedan and hardtop, two-door hardtop and convertible, and the four-door wagon. The upscale Polara Custom was offered as a four-door sedan and hardtop, or a two-door hardtop.
Unique to the 1969 and 1970 Polara was the Super-Light option, which placed an additional blue-tinged headlight on the driver’s side of the front grille. The Super-Light was fixed in its aim, offering better road illumination without blinding oncoming drivers.
Another reshuffle of the line ensued in 1971, leaving the Polara as the base model with a choice between the 225-cid six-cylinder engine and the 318. An intermediate Polara Custom line came in with the 318 V-8, and a new premium Polara Brougham line consisted of two- or four-door hardtops with the 383 engine offering 290 hp. The convertible was dropped from the body style lineup for 1971.
A mid-life revision for Polara came in 1972, along with the shift to net horsepower ratings that cost the line a lot of horsepower on paper. The bodywork redeemed some sculpture, and the 225 six-cylinder engine was once again relegated to fleet models. The 318 remained the standard engine for public sales, and trim lines were reduced to simply Polara and Polara Custom. Advertised power for the 225 slant-six dropped to 110 hp and down to 150 for the 318 V-8. The 440-cid V-8 was still an option with 280 hp. For 1973, few changes were made with the exception of dropping the optional 440-cid engine from the line.
Collectors will want to seek out well-optioned models that included the higher horsepower 383- and 440-cid engine options. Especially valuable and rare are 1969 models with the Hemi engine.
1971 Dodge Polara Info
2dr Hardtop Coupe
4dr Hardtop Sedan
8-cyl. 383cid/300hp 4bbl Hi-Perf
8-cyl. 318cid/230hp 2bbl
8-cyl. 440cid/335hp 4bbl
6-cyl. Special Order
6-cyl. 225cid/145hp 1bbl
8-cyl. 383cid/275hp 2bbl
8-cyl. 360cid/255hp 2bbl
8-cyl. Special Order
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