There's nothing all that unknown about characteristics of good non-index funds. Those that are good and last over decades all seem to have:
1) low expenses
2) low turnover (low commissions and spreads)
3) low style drift
4) Team Management
There is nothing particularly special about index funds. It's the costs of the funds that matters. That's what makes index funds so special. I might actually consider DODBX and VWELX Large value index balanced funds. After all, index funds are simply passively managed funds.
Now, let's look at the 1973-1974 bear market:
Dodge and Cox balanced returned -9.7% in 1973, and -19.3% in 1974. A combo of 60% S&P 500 and 40% 5 Yr Treasuries returned -7.0% in 1973, and -13.6% in 1974. Even if we use Long Term gov't bonds (instead of 5 yr Treasuries), we get a return of -9.2% in 1973 and -14.1% in 1974.
A 60/40 mix of Large Value and 5 Yr Treasuries returned 1.7% [positive
]in 1973, and -13.0% in 1974. If we use LT gov't bonds, we get a return of -0.6% in 1973 and -13.5% in 1974.
[** LV and bond return data curteousy of Gummy
And if we look at 2000-2002, DODBX and VWELX look to have performed a lot like mixes of LV/MV and int term bonds [like the Lehman Bros Agg index]. Granted, these two funds have beaten relevant value/bond benchmarks, but not by all that much. If you're looking for value balanced funds, either one of these should do perfectly.