MOPAR’s 318 Part IV

Sorry MOPAR fans, I got sidetracked.  Let’s continue with the Dodge’s use of the 318.

Dodge didn’t get a V8 until 1953.  That first engine was a Hemi with 241.3 cid and only 7.1:1 compression.  They called it the 241.  It was improved upon for the next couple of years and very cool names like, Red Ram and Super Red Ram.

Approximately 1956, Dodge began using the 315 with the Polyspheric chamber. (Here is the link from my earlier post on the Polysheric head:

It wasn’t until 1960 that Dodge began using the 318.  This was, again, the Polyspheric chamber, and it came in two versions in 1960, a 2 barrel and a 4 barrel, with 230 hp and 255 hp respectively (of course) and both a 9.0:1 compression (that pretty good compression rate).  The 318 was used in the Dart Seneca, the Pioneer and the Dodge Phoenix got the larger of the two 318s.

The 318 carried on through out the ’60s with  the horsepower hovering between 230 and 260.  Of note during that time was where the 318 was used.  I was surprised to find, such as, in 1968 the Dodge 440 Coupe used the 318 (not the 440, which even non-MOPAR peeps know about that one).

The most cars sold by Dodge was the Dart throughout the 1960’s.  There were actually 3 sub-models of the Dart, the Sencea which had 3 different trim levels, the Pioneer which had 5 different trim levels and the Phoenix which was the most upscale sub-model with 4 trim levels.  The engine options were either the 225 slant six or the 318.

Here are a few pics:

1960 Dodge Dart Phoenix

1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer

1960 Dodge Dart Seneca (I love the fins!!!)

At the beginning of this series I mentioned that I had 1970 Dodge Dart and that it did have the 318 with a manual transmission.  There was only one version of the 318 for 1970 and it was has 230 hp and 9.0:1 compression with a bore and stroke of 3.91X3.31 in.  That made for a pretty quick car, as light as it was.

Well, I bet you can guess what comes next. Yes a sharp decrease horsepower. By 1972 the 318 was reduced to 150 hp and by 1975 the drop was to 145.  1976 was the last we saw of the 318 used by Dodge.  The 1976 Dodge Dart was the last year for the Dart, but it went out in a big way being offered with a Police Package Code A38.  One of the options in this package was the 318 and it regained some of its muscle to the tune of 220 hp.

This concludes the series on the MOPAR 318.   If you’d like to offer up an engine to see more information on drop me a comment here or email me at

Thanks for reading.


dodge 318 performance

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4 Responses to MOPAR’s 318 Part IV

  1. Fantastic website, I hadn’t come across before during my searches!
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Bill says:

    Not to correct you, but to correct you anyway, the Dodge Diplomat (and Plymouth Grand Fury corporate twin) used the 318 ‘Lean Burn’ package throughout the late 1970s into the mid 1980s. BTW, a Police Package Dodge Diplomat with 318 V8, Rochester 4bbl (yes, a GM carb on a MOPAR), and Torque Flite fitted with a Borg Warner sourced valve body was quite the sleeper. Two of my buddies had these in the mid 1980s and I loved driving them. Handling was quite good, and that 318 could keep up with those 305 V8 IROC Camaros of the day.

    Thanks for the good stories about my favorite cars-MOPARS! Take care, Bill

    • timsweet says:

      Well thanks for not correcting me, Bill !!! Always good to have more info. Thanks for the note on the cop package!!!!! I can tell you I was a cop back in N.Y. It was at the end of MOPAR’s run of supplying cars to police departments. We and a small fleet of Volare’s (1978-79). They were light and fast enough, but they were driven hard and abused. I recall chase where the car got hung up on railroad tracks it had no business crossing.
      Thanks Bill

  3. Randy says:

    Good information.

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