- Written by webmin
Here in los Estados Unidos, I don’t think we cared enough about the Dodge Dart to warrant coachbuilt versions of it. Special versions abounded over the years to move that metal – Demon, Swinger, Hang Ten – but those didn’t require substantial alterations to the basic design of the car.
Over in Spain, however, they viewed the Dart in a different light. To get around the protectionist rules preventing the export of cars to Spain, Chrysler formed an agreement with Barreiros Diesel, a Madrid-based truck and engine builder, to build the Dodge Dart in Spain. Starting in 1965, Chrysler would supply the Darts as knockdown kits, and Barreiros would assemble and market them. With its slant six engine, the Dart would quickly become a premium car in Spain, leaving the mass market to the Simca 1000. By 1971, Barreiros introduced several alterations to the car, including an optional diesel engine and cosmetic modifications, and even dropped the Dart name, instead calling it the 3700.
Meanwhile, Pedro Serra was entering the twilight of his career as a coachbuilder. He rebodied his first car, an Amilcar, in 1949, and for the next decade and a half he grew to become “one of the most creative and active designers in Spain,” according to Georgano, rebodying everything from MGs to Bugattis to Pegasos and Seats. His success can be attributed to the same factors that led Chrysler to shack up with Barreiros: With imports restricted, wealthy Spaniards desiring modern and fashionable cars increasingly turned to Serra to have him rebody older cars in more contemporary styles.
Though he had earlier built a convertible body for the Barreiros Dart, Serra first attempted to rebody a Dart in 1968, resulting in the Serra Specter (sometimes referred to as the Spectro) that he exhibited at the Barcelona Motor Show. The fastback Specter caught the eye of Eduardo Barreiros and his daughter Mariluz, but remained a one-off and was sold shortly after the show. It is alleged to remain extant in Spain. Four years later, Serro returned to the Barcelona show with another Dart-based (now a 3700-based) car, which he called the 3700 Dodge Boulevard.
Unlike the Specter, the Boulevard discarded the entire original Dart chassis and body. Using a design from engineer Michele Liprandi (whose LMX influenced Serra to build the Boulevard), Serra fabricated a tubular chassis into which he placed the 3700’s slant-six drivetrain and suspension, along with a muscular fiberglass 2+2 two-door body into which he placed the 3700’s dash, instruments and other interior bits. Though Serra planned to build as many as 40 or 50 Boulevards, he built just 18 examples over the next two years, partly due to difficulties registering individual Boulevards with the Spanish government. As many as 12 or 14 of those 18 still exist, including the one that COPOS shared with us on My Hemmings.
Serra retired from coachbuilding shortly afterward. Barreiros continued production of the 3700 through 1977.