So, you've undoubtedly browsed the photos of this chin-checking Dodge Coronet. And you've probably formed a few thoughts and opinions. Indeed, the car is a righteously retro custom that was built to turn heads. And yes, the car IS capable of hitting the drag strip and knocking down some impressive times. However, this mighty MoPar isn't just some whipped dragster that's been wrapped in nostalgic paint. It's a bona fide street steed that's been professionally sorted for both the street and the strip. Backing 511 cubic inches of professionally built Hemi with a buff A727 3-speed, a custom chassis and killer aesthetics, this beast has been dropping jaws ever since it rolled into our showroom! And if you're the kind of enthusiast who wants a classic that poses well for judges AND kicks asphalt in the quarter, it's a chance to turn your dreams in to reality!
POLISHING THE GOLD
This magazine-featured Dodge spent most of its life as a slant-6 Coronet Deluxe sedan. That is, until vintage Funny Car enthusiast Richard LeFebvre located it in early 2004 and kicked off an intense build that, with the help of an altered wheelbase, shaved a pair of the car's doors. The new 2-door profile capped steel doors, a steel trunk and a steel hood with composite fenders and composite bumpers that were ordered directly from the pros at Fiberglass Plus, Inc. And naturally, a distinctly '60s profile looks best in '60s pigment, which is why 1965 Dodge Gold worked so well under vintage, hand-painted graphics. For the next 12 years, this MoPar roared along as a deliberately faithful tribute to moody racers of a bygone era. But then, in 2017, a professional freshening, conducted by Mike Mancini's American Muscle Car Restorations, Inc., totally refined the car into a clean, street-friendly marvel that's both sorted and reliable. Today, this Dodge rocks as a dreamy pavement pounder that's poised to claim trophies and sure to turn heads!
Thanks to an acute attention to detail, this Coronet certainly puts the "hot" in hot rod. At the front of the car, a black-trimmed grille hangs a MQQN Equipment catch can between clear parking lamps, a painted bumper and halogen headlights. Behind that grille, 15-inch, Ramcharger-style ram tubes front a stainless-trimmed greenhouse that's lightened by plastic side windows. At the sides of those tubes, a clean profile is devoid of everything but factory door handles. And at the back of the car, a Dodge-branded trunk bends around stylish taillights, a small kill switch and a second painted bumper.
REFINING THE RUSH
Gaze into this classic's fenderless engine bay and you'll find 511 cubic inches of stroked Hemi big block that turns 93-octane pump gas into stout 10.5 to 1 compression and 488 rear-wheel horsepower. Built by Richard LeFebvre, and fully overhauled by Richard LeVangie, the massive mill is currently tuned for max drivability. The foundation for that cruising is a 1965 Chrysler iron block that's filled with a billet Winberg crank, billet Manley rods, forged Ross pistons and an Indy solid roller cam. Those components spin thanks to Hilborn aluminum fuel injection, which has been modified to accept EFI bungs, fuel rails and 40lb./hr. injectors. Those stacks, commanded by a Holley electronic control module, flood aluminum Mopar Performance heads that, in addition to being machined, stack 2.25/1.94 valves under adjustable Indy rollers, chromoly pushrods and aluminum shaft stands. At the front of those stainless-capped heads, an electronic Chrysler distributor sequences spark between a hot MSD Blaster coil and MSD Super Conductor plug wires. Under those wires, quality Hooker headers feed a 3-inch exhaust system that's finished with rowdy Flowmaster mufflers. Cooling is simple, with a Mopar Performance high-volume water pump insert siphoning a 22-inch radiator. Oiling is easy thanks to a trick 7-quart pan and a high-volume Milodon pump. And cadence is kept by COMP double-roller timing components.
STREETING THE BEAST
Bottom-side, a 111-inch chassis, shortened five inches from the factory's specifications, relocates the car's front spindle centerline ten inches forward while relocating its rear spindle centerline fifteen inches forward. In addition to obvious cosmetic changes, that configuration places 55% of this Dodge's static mass on its rear tires at rest. Naturally, that massaged chassis rides a massaged suspension, which is led by a 1966 Dodge A100 front-clip that's been set on custom springs and narrowed two inches. Opposite that clip, which saves 38 pounds over traditional Coronet bones, 3,800lb MP leaf springs complement extra-length MP shocks. The Hemi twists power through a 1965 Chrysler A727 3-speed that, overhauled by American Muscle Car Restorations, follows a 2,500RPM B&M stall with a reverse manual valve body. That transmission twists torque through a tough Dana 60 axle, which spins a Sure Grip differential around buff, 4.10 gears - a street-friendly set-up that Mike Mancini's outfit used to replace the car's original 8.75-inch axle and massive 4.56 gears. Stops come courtesy of a full set of A100 drums, which are pumped by a Mancini-installed Mopar Performance dual-reservoir master cylinder. Steering remains a manual affair. Fossils are propelled through a double-pump fuel system. Everything rolls on timeless American Racing Torq Thrusts, which spin 7.75-15 BF Goodrich Silvertowns in front of 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S. And if you're feeling racy, the car's sale does include a pair of old school steelies that are shod in 10.00-15 Mickey Thompson Radir slicks.
REFORMING THE RACER
In addition to freshening its build, this Dodge's stay at Mike Mancini's American Muscle Car Restorations, Inc. focused a lot of energy on comfort and streetability. See, Richard LeFebvre made his creations as authentic as possible, which, in the case of this Coronet and many other Match Bashers, meant a 'barely there' interior that highlighted obvious race car modifications. The still sparse but tasteful cockpit kicks off with two retrofitted A100 buckets that were retained with the help of new Dodge A990 vinyl from Kramer Automotive Specialties. Those skins were part of a kit that also included fresh carpet and new door panels, which look nice contrasting a tough roll bar. Front and center, a fiberglass dash founds factory telemetry next to a Holley EFI screen, small accessory gauges and a large MQQN Equipment tachometer. There's a large fire extinguisher within reach of the driver. A "CORONET" branded steering wheel laps a factory shifter, which features rearranged gear quadrants that suit the transmission's reverse-pattern valve body. And the car's sale even includes an awesome retro helmet!
Lust worthy, fast and fully capable of cruising up and down Main Street, this awesome Dodge is an excellent combination of classic hot rod looks and incredible straight-line performance. It has the potential to rip invigorating passes and will politely cruise the show 30 minutes later. Ready to hit the road in style? Welcome to the quixotic world of owning a first-class collector car!