Dodge Phoenix

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Dodge Phoenix

1960 - 1973
5.2 litres / 5191cc
230 bhp
3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
108 mph
Number Built:
3 star
Dodge Phoenix
Dodge Phoenix
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3


The Phoenix was introduced in May 1960 as an Australian assembled version of the American Dodge Dart, positioned above the locally developed Chrysler Royal as Chrysler Australia’s luxury model. It borrowed its name from the top Dart, the Dodge Dart Phoenix, but unlike its American namesake it was offered only as a four door sedan and only with a 318 cubic inch V8 engine. The Dart represented a then new American category between "compacts" and full-sized sedans and that was what appealed to Australian motorists - who wanted a large but not gigantic luxury car with lots of power.

The Phoenix was restyled each year in line with revisions to American Dodge models (initially the Dart and later the Polara) until a change of policy for 1965 saw the Phoenix based on the American Plymouth Fury for the first time. Arguably the most collectable today was the 1962 Phoenix, with its two hundred and thirty "horses" on tap to propel the shorter, narrower and lighter Phoenix from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 11.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 108.

There were of course plenty of mechanicals carried over from the massive 1961 model, however the "sharing" of components was not sufficient to prevent the motoring press from declaring the '62 car an all-new model. The motor in the Phoenix was similar to that used in the Australian-built Chrysler Royal. Its bore was slightly larger, giving five more cubic inches capacity and resulting in 10 more brake-horsepower being available at slightly higher revs.

Actual dimensions were 99.3 mm and 84 mm respectively for bore and stroke and the capacity was a lusty 5.2 litres. Power output was 230 brake-horsepower at 4400 rpm and 340/18 ft. of torque at 2400 rpm. The '62 model also featured twin headlights within the grille, whilst the other pair were set low on the front fenders. The glass area in the canopy was large. The rear was is almost vee-shaped at its centre and resembled the 1947 Studebaker window.

The front bench seat had a high squab which had, according to car reviews of the time, plenty of support to the torso and large centre armrest which stopped lateral movement on winding roads - although we doubt they would be saying this if judging against todays standards. Apparently thigh support was also good. The leading edge of the front seat was nearly a foot from the floor. One of the strong points of the Phoenix was its handling, and unlike many other American cars that found their way onto Australian roads, the car managed to handle the coarse and rough surfaces with ease.

When fully extended the Phoenix was capable of a top speed in excess of 108 mph and the brakes could pull the car up without too much difficulty - they were not great and certainly not class leading, but they were better than many others then on the market. The Phoenix would happily cruise at around 90 miles per hour, and even at the upper end of the speedo the cabin remained relatively quiet - something the Americans were always very good at. Road testers noted that the Phoenix would accelerate hard to 50 mph, and there was still ample on tap to allow effortless passing at highway speed. And of course it was the highway where the Phoenix was at its best, soaking up the miles along Australia's long (and poorly surfaced) roads.

Maximum torque in high gear was at 60 mph. Up-changes under maximum acceleration were at 34 mph (first to second) and 68 mp. (second to top), but the lower ratios could be "held" by pushing their respective control buttons. One nifty feature was that the parking brake was automatically released by selecting neutral. Chrysler also reduced maintenance costs by requiring less frequent engine oil changes and 32,000-mile chassis lubrication periods.

Inside the Phoenix

The front seat travel was four inches and the seat rose as it is moved forward. Instruments and controls were directly ahead of the wheel, where they were easy to read or reach. The speedo was of the clock-face type with black figures on a silver base. Tenths were recorded in with the total miles. The twin sun visors were unpadded and the glove box was pretty small for such a large car, and was also badly designed as it would always drop the contents onto the passenger floor when opened. The '62s boot capacity was smaller than the '61, at 28 cubic feet capacity, and though not over-deep, it was reasonably spacious.

The brakes were self-adjusting, hydraulically-operated drum brakes with duo-servo action. The drums were 10 inches in diameter and 2½ inches wide. The lining area was a reasonably healthy 195 square inches, thus ample stopping power was available. Australian assembled - from imported components, the 1962 Dodge Phoenix retailed at £2595 including sales tax. The 1965 Fury was slightly revised, and most noteably featured vertically stacked headlamps. A four-door hardtop body style joined the sedan in 1967. The new model was fitted with a 383 cubic inch V8 engine while the sedan continued with the smaller 318 cubic inch V8. The two body styles continued to be offered until the final Australian Phoenix was built in 1973. The Australian developed Chrysler by Chrysler then inherited the role of the top level luxury model in Chrysler’s Australian range.

The 1962 Australian Dodge Phoenix was based on the American Dodge Dart
The 1962 Australian Dodge Phoenix was based on the American Dodge Dart.

1962 Dodge Phoenix Quick Specifications:

Engine: V8. Bore: 99.3 mm. Stroke: 84 mm. Capacity: 5191cc. Compression ratio: 9.0:1. Valve gear: C.H.V. (pushrod). Carburetter: Two-barrel. Oil filter: External. Battery: 12 v. Maximum power: 230 b.h.p. at 4400 rpm. Maximum torque: 340 lb.ft. at 2400 rpm. R.A.C. h.p.: 48.9.
Transmission: Torquefiyte three-speed fullv automatic. Ratios: 1st. 2.45; 2nd 1.45:' drive. 1.0. Final drive: hypoid. Ratio: 3.23. Top gear mph at 1000 r.p.m.: 24.5.
Suspension: Front: Independent by torsion bars. Rear: Semi-elliptic leaf springs.
Steering: Re-circulating ball. Turning cycle: 40.3 ft. Turns lock to lock: 5.3.
Brakes: Hydraulic. Drum diameter: 10 in. Lining area: 195 sq. ins.
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 9 ft. 8 in. Length: 16 ft. 10 in. Width: 6 ft.  4½ in. Height 4 ft. 6 ill. (loaded). Ground clearance: 5 in. Wheels: 14 in. Tyres: 7.00 x 14. Petrol tank: 16.6 gallons. Track: Front 4 ft. 11½ in.; Rear., 4 ft. 9½ in. Weight: 30 cwt. Luggage trunk capacity: 28 cubic ft.
Interior: Door-actuated courtesy lights. Door pulls. Glovebox. Twin sun-visors. Heating/De¬misting/Fresh air. Ashtrays front and rear. Armrests, Front and Rear. Cigarette lighter. Fascia padding. Windscreen washer. Night driving mirror. Luggage trunk light.
Performance: Low. 34 mph.; intermediate, 66 mph.; high, 108 mph. Acceleration times from rest; 0-30 mph. 3.8 seconds.: 0-40 mph, 5.5 seconds.; 0-50 mph, 8.4 seconds.; 0-60 mph, 11.3 seconds.; 0-70 mph, 14.5 seconds.; 0-80 mph, 19.0 seconds. Acceleration times from constant speeds: 20-40 mph. 4.0 seconds.; 30-50 mph, 5.2 seconds.; 40-60 mph, 5.6 seconds.: 50-70 mph, 5.9 seconds. Standing Quarter Mile: 19.2 seconds. Overall Fuel Consumption: 15.7 mpg. Touring Range: 260 miles.

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Also see:

Dodge Brochures
Dodge Specifications
Dodge Car Commercials
The History of Dodge (USA Edition)
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