Dodge Monaco

For the 1969 model year, all full-sized Dodge cars, including the Monaco, would adopt Chrysler Corporation's new "fuselage" styling. The theme of the design was to integrate the upper- and lower-body into one cohesive curved unit. Curved side glass added to the effect, as did the deletion of the "shoulder" along the rear.

Unlike the gracefully curved intermediate-sized Coronet and Charger, which had debuted the year before with very distinctive lines, the Monaco appeared clean and featureless.

The look started in the front of the car, with a nearly straight-across bumper (demanded by a Chrysler executive after a Congressional committee attacked him over the seeming inability of car bumpers to protect cars from extensive damage in low-speed collisions) and a five-segment eggcrate grille that surrounded the headlamps. When the cars failed to spark buyers' interest, Dodge executives demanded a change. By the summer of 1969, the division released new chrome trim for the front fender caps and leading edge of the hood as an option, which gave the appearance of a then-fashionable loop bumper without the tooling expense.

At the rear, continued with Dodge's signature delta-shaped taillamps, this time in a new form that required the top of the bumper to slope downward toward each end. With nicely tailored chrome moldings surrounding the lamps, the rear end was arguably more distinctive and better executed than the front.

The wheelbase of the 1969-73 Dodge was increased from 121 inches to 122 inches, and the length was increased to about 220 inches.

Available models for 1969 included a two-door hardtop coupe, four-door hardtop sedan, four-door pillared sedan, and two four-door station wagons (six- or nine-passenger). A new Brougham option package debuted, which included a vinyl roof (on sedans and hardtops) and a split-bench front seat with a reclining mechanism for the passenger's side (except on the two-door hardtops). Monaco wagons, befitting their top-of-the-line status among Dodge station wagons, received woodgrained vinyl trim along their sides and across the dual-action tailgate.

Returning for '69 was the "500" option, which in the U.S. market gave the Monaco front bucket seats and a center armrest. In Canada, the Monaco 500 was a separate series that used the side trim of the Polara 500 sold in the U.S. Canadians could also buy a Monaco convertible; U.S. Dodge full-size convertible shoppers had only the lower-end Polara and Polara 500 to choose from.

As Dodge's top-of-the-line, Monacos came standard with Chrysler's corporate 383-cubic-inch V8 B-block engine with a two-barrel carburetor, which delivered 290 horsepower (220 kW). Buyers could order their 383 with a four-barrel carb that increased power to 330 hp (250 kW), or they could go all the way and opt for the 375 horsepower (280 kW) and a 440-cubic-inch Magnum RB-block engine. Wagon buyers choosing the 440 got a 350 horsepower (260 kW) version.

Dodge topped off the new cars with a new option, which forecast the projector-beam halogen headlamps that came into use years later. It was called "Super-Lite," and consisted of a $50 optional road lamp mounted in the driver's side of the grille. The premise behind the Super-Lite was to enhance visibility at night in situations where more light than the standard low beams was needed but the high beams would cause glare to oncoming drivers.

As mentioned above, the new-look '69 big Dodges did not set the world — or the sales charts — on fire. Sales of the Polara and Monaco were off by nearly 20,000 cars compared with 1968, with the Monaco line accounting for 38,566 of the 127,252 full-size cars made by Dodge for the year.

Source: Wikipedia, 2012

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