1968 Dodge Polara:

Two door hardtop. 318 engine and auto transmission. It was sitting in a junk yard for the last five years (and according to my wife, should have STAYED there). I had to repaint it and make new upholstery for the interior. It needed minor engine work and the usual replaceable items like tires, battery, exhaust system, and wipers, etc.. It drives very nice and is now in daily use.
picture of 1968 Polara

The 1968 Polara looked a lot like the 1967 model. The major difference was the rear lights as seen in the following pictures.
Polara rear end



The front end styling remained almost unchanged. There is a minor difference in the grille as you can see in the following:
Polara front end



Also changed for 1968 was the trim on the side of the car. The chrome strip was moved from the beltline to the top of the fenders and doors. This gives the car an illusion of being very low to the ground, which in actuality, it is. The tires are 14 inches in diameter which helps to keep the car low. The car is so low, in fact, that it makes a very poor car to drive on bad roads. The exhaust system hits the ground frequently, and the rear end bangs the ground on any steep driveway. I had to add air shocks to mine to keep it from dragging it's butt on the ground when anything is put in the trunk. The 33 year old springs probably have something to do with it sagging!
Polara picture

The 1967 Polara was the first year to offer the 318 engine as optional equipment, but in 1968, the 230 HP 318 engine became the standard. This is the same "LA" engine that powers modern (up to 2000) Durango SUV's (with some changes, of course). This engine delivers less than neck-snapping performance in a car this big, but the car accelerates in a adequate manner and the fuel economy is decent. The two door hardtop will reach 60 mph in about 12 seconds and the fuel economy could be over 20mpg. Dodge did not recommend towing with this engine, but I have pulled a 4500 pound Airstream trailer with sucess. I was surprised how well this engine works.

Polara camping

My opinion of using an old Chrysler product (Dodge, Plymouth or Chrysler) for towing is a positive one. Although mine has a 318 engine, it is capable of towing an easy to tow camping trailer such as an Airstream. Most likely, a better choice for towing would be the 383 V-8, with 2 barrel carb (low performance version). In either case, a good equalizer hitch and good trailer brakes are a must. Also, I installed a transmission cooler and had the transmission "tuned up" (new fluid, band adjustment, and pressure check). The full sized Dodge makes a good tow vehicle because it is a heavy, well-built car. The ride is good and the handling with a trailer attached is good. The last trip I used this car on (fall of 2002), I towed my Airstream trailer from western Pennsylvania to costal Virginia. There were some hills to contend with, but the Dodge worked well. The axle ratio is not meant for towing, so I manually shifted it to second gear whenever I got to a hill. At 60 MPH the engine is turning just below 3500RPM in second gear. The water temperature stayed within safe limits and the transmission temperature gauge I installed never indicated an overheating problem. I averaged 13.3 miles per gallon while towing.

The 318 and the 383 engine were both designed to use "regular" gas in 1968. In 2003, however, we have to use "premium" 92 octane fuel to make them run properly when towing. My 318 engine tolerates 89 octane when not towing. Your engine will run hotter when towing, so a better grade of fuel is usually necessary. The higher performance 383 with 4 barrel carb and the 440 engine needed "premium" fuel in 1968 and WILL NOT RUN properly on today's fuel. I doubt one of these high performance engines could be used for towing without some modifications to either the spark advance or by lowering the compression ratio (with a thicker head gasket). Using a 35 year old car to tow a trailer comes with certain risks, but so does towing with any tow vehicle. Whatever you use to tow with, you have to use your equipment wisely. That means taking it easy on the highway. In my opinion, no travel trailer should be towed at speeds over 60 MPH (though I have hit 85MPH briefly with mine and it felt very stable). There is an amazing increase in how much strain the tow vehicle experiences between a speed of 55MPH and 65MPH. The temperature gauge shows an increase in temperature and the fuel gauge goes down a lot faster. If you take it easy, however, a 35 year old Dodge can be an excellent tow car.

1968 Polara sedan

The 1968 Polara is a rather cheap looking car when you look at the way it is finished and put together, but it's outward appearance looks more expensive. In my opinion, the Polara looks better than the more expensive Monaco model. You don't get a whole lot of equipment standard on a Polara. The following is a list:

Polara Standard Equipment


318-cu.-in. V8 engine
3-speed manual transmission
cloth/vinyl interior trim in Polara hardtops and sedan
all-vinyl interior trim in Polara convertible and station wagons
front bucket seats, with center cushion /fold-down armrest, in Polara 500 models
deep-pile carpeting
2-spoke steering wheel with padded hub and partial horn ring
heater/defroster
cigarette lighter
glove box door lock
power top (Polara and Polara 500 convertibles)
foot-operated parking brake
sway bar
choice of 16 standard exterior colors
deluxe wheel covers (Polara 500 models)
crank-operated vent panes
rear seat foam cushion pad
24-gallon fuel tack (wagons, 22)


1968 Polara wagon

Specifications


Dimensions
(These are 1968 Polara 4-door-sedan dimensions. Other body styles may vary in some degree.)
Wheelbase ... 122"
Track, front/rear - . . 62.0"/60.7"
Overall length - . - 219.0"
Overall width - - - 80.0"
Overall height - - - 56.3"
1968 Polara Convertible

Brakes


Hydraulic, servo-contact, self-energizing, self-adjusting. Bonded linings. Dual Braking System. Parking brake is foot-pedal-operated, with hand-released lever - mechanically actuating shoes on each rear wheel. Master cylinder/parking brake warning light is standard on all models. Polara station wagon brakes are 11 x 3 (front), 11 x 2 1/2 (rear). All other Polara and Polara 500 models have 11 x 2 3/4 (front), 11 x 2 (rear). Heavy-duty, manually adjusted brakes (11 x 3, front and rear) are optional, all Polara models. Power brakes are also optional, as are front wheel disc brakes (front disc brakes include 15' wheels and tires).
tire

Tires


All Polara models (except wagons)....8.25 x 14 (5.5JK wheels).
Polara station wagons ......................8.55 x 14 (6.OJK wheels).
15' wheels and tires are optional on all Polara models and are included when car is equipped with front disc brakes. G70 x 15 wide-tread white sidewall or red wall tires are optional on all Polara models except station wagons.
1968 Polara 4 door hardtop

Electrical System:


Battery: 12-volt, 6-cell, 48-amp-hr, standard on Polara and Polara 500 models equipped with 318 V8. 59-amp-hr, standard with 383-cu.-in. engines. 70-amp-hr, standard with 440-cu.-in. engines and optional with other engines. Alternator: 37-amp, standard. (45-amp standard with air conditioning and optional on Polara models not so equipped.)
engine

Polara Engines:


The standard engine for all Polara and Polara 500models is the 318 cu.-in. (2-bbl.) V8.
The 383 cu.-in. (2-bbl., regular fuel), the 363-cu.-in. (4-bbl.) and the 440-cu.-in. Magnum V8 are optionaI on most Polara and Polara 500 models.
Polara station wagons offer a special 440-cu. in. (4-bbl.) V8 optional instead of the 440-Magnum V8.

The standard engine for all Monaco models and Monaco 500 is the 383-cu,-in. (2-bbl,, regular fuel).

1968 Polara 500 convertible

Polara and Monaco Transmissions:


The 3-speod manual, with column-mounted shift, is standard on ah Polara, Polara 500 and Monaco models when powered either by 318 V8 or 383 (2-bbl.) V8. (Monaco 500 comes equipped with automatic transmission, standard.) 3-speed manual is not available with other V8 engines or on Monaco 500. The 3-speed TorgueFlite automatic transmission has a column-mounted selector (console-mounted in Polara 500 and Monaco 500 models equipped with optional center console). It is water-cooled, has an aluminum housing and an internally actuated parking sprag. TorqueFlite automatic comes standard on Monaco 500 and is optional with all V8 engines on Polara, Polara 500 and Monaco models.

Two 4-speed manual transmissions are available on Polara 500 models and Monaco 500 when these cars are powered by either the 383 (4-bbl.) V8 or 440-Magnum V8 and also equipped with optional center console. 4-speed manual transmissions are not available on other Polara or Monaco models, nor with other V8 engines. A special HD 4-on-the-floor comes with the 440-Magnum V8. 1968 Polara 2 door

Polara and Monaca Suspension:

:
The standard Polara suspension features torsion bars and ball joints plus a sway bar in front, asymmetrical leaf springs in the rear, Oriflow shocks at each wheel. suspension components are rubber isolated. HD Suspension Package for Polara includes HD torsion bars, HD rear springs, HD sway bar. In addition, HD shocks are available as a separate option in all models.
1968 Polara interior

Rear Axle Ratios:


A number of rear axle ratios are offered with each Dodge engine and transmission team. Standard ratios have been carefully chosen to provide a balance of performance and economy. However, for more specialized applications, your Dodge Dealer can order your 1968 Dodge Dart, Coronet, Charger, Polara or Monaco delivered with a more suitable ratio.
1968 Polara

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