Photos from the Detroit Auto Show reveal a sleek, shiny red compact car masquerading under the name Dodge Dart (see it here), but the new Dart has all the earmarks of an elaborate hoax:
1. The person who officially introduced the new model is purportedly named Reid Bigland, an obviously invented name.
2. This alleged Bigland calls the new Dart is "a revolutionary car," which is preposterous. The Dodge Dart of my youth looked like the car the vicar came to tea in, the car in the gray flannel suit. You'd take a battalion of Dodge Darts into a revolution only if you wanted to bore your enemy to death.
3.Similarly preposterous is the claim that the new Dart will sell for $15,995. We sold our last Dart to a pimply young Kentuckian for $650, an appropriately Dartly price. (He paid $500 in cash and promised to bring the rest the next week--and he did, miracle number one. Miracle number two was what he had done with our stodgy old Dart: scraped off the bumper stickers, installed a new sound system, and jacked up the back end. "I'm planning to race some cops," he told us, and we would have said "TMI" if the acronym had existed back then.)
4. The alleged Reid Bigland also claims that the new Dart will get 40 miles per gallon on the highway, which is patently absurd. Our Dart got 12 miles to the gallon on a good day--when it started up at all. The most efficient way to run it was to simply leave it parked.
5. The new Dodge Dart looks nothing like a Dart. This is a Dart:
In fact, it's a pretty good stand-in for the Dart I married: a sturdy 1970 two-door in a shade that testifies to the power of true love. This is a car you can trust: it raises no expectations and is therefore unlikely to disappoint.
The new so-called Dart sparkles and glimmers and seems to promise adventure, but a car like that could break your heart without batting a windshield wiper. I don't deny that it could be a great car, but a Dart? I doubt it.