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Excitement is building … the Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event is drawing near. Mark your calendar for Wednesday and Thursday, October 13 and 14, 2021. Those are the dates when Spanky Assiter and his Freedom Car Auctions team will conduct an all-online, no-reserve auction of the late John Haynie’s massive collection of mostly Mopar cars and parts.
Remember, this is an online-only event so make sure your computer is warmed up and your internet connection is strong. The reason for the online-only nature – as opposed to an on-site auction with the usual gathered crowd of bidders – is the fact the massive estate is located outdoors, on a ranch in the remote Texas prairie, too far off the beaten path to expect most folks to even find it.
More specifically, the estate sits on several acres with a small house surrounded by a handful of metal sheds and garages. It’s like “The Little Mopar House on the Prairie”. The parts are stored indoors but most of the 250-plus vehicles are outside under the bright Texas sun. Staging an outdoor auction in Texas is asking for discomfort due to heat, sunburn, wind and possible rain. And there’s the rattlesnake factor. Our slithering, venomous friends populate the Texas prairie like fish do the sea, so special care must be taken when walking among the 250-plus vehicles.
Added together with the fact that few hotels and restaurants exist within the immediate vicinity of John Haynie’s former home and Mopar hoard, it was decided to use the internet to stage the auction. There is nothing new or experimental about internet auctions and every day all over the globe sellers and buyers successfully connect in this way.
But the absence of in-person vehicle bidder inspection requires as many pictures and videos as possible to best describe and identify each item being sold.
And so let’s continue that process here with another preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event!
Chrysler Corporation launched its new mid-size B-body platform in 1962 as the Dodge Dart 330, Dart 440 and Polara 500, as well as the Plymouth Savoy, Belvedere and Fury. With its combination of light yet rugged unibody construction, space-efficient torsion bar front suspension, novel 1/3 – 2/3 rear leaf spring axle location and wide choice of power plants, the mid-sized B-body set the stage for a successful decade of competition with similarly sized offerings from Ford and GM.
But there was a snag. The styling of the 1962s was somewhat bizarre. Deltoid and asymmetrical themes dominated and sales suffered. The situation was better in 1963 as more conservative styling was adopted, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the ship righted itself. This 1964 Plymouth Belvedere two-door sedan (Lot Number 89) is a great example of the sleeker, less exotic styling that helped Chrysler Corporation do its best work in the mid-sized field.
And while the top-tier Fury, with its neat inverted triangle B-pillars, used to be the most sought-after closed model (convertibles have always ruled the roost among collectors), recent years have marked a shift toward low-line Savoy and Belvedere sedans thanks to their popularity with builders of Max Wedge and Race HEMI® Super Stock clones. As such, this less-is-more sedan would be a prime candidate for Super Stock conversion except for the sad fact it spent some time on its side and roof at some point.
The accident damage isn’t terminal, but work will be required to smooth out the wrinkles. Originally equipped with extra cost luxuries like a poly 318, push button 727 small block automatic transmission, and Airtemp air conditioning, the rest of the package is austere, with manual drum brakes and steering – exactly what the Super Stock clone set desires most. Best of all is the boxy sedan roof. More commonly seen on the base model Savoy (where 21,326 two-door “posts” were built), the more expensive Belvedere series was more likely to feature the more graceful hardtop roof. As such, just 5,364 of these two-door sedans were built, compared to 16,334 hardtops. Don’t be dissuaded by the accident damage, this one is a solid core for a Max Wedge or race HEMI conversion.
Though its “just a four-door,” this 1967 Dodge Coronet 440 (Lot Number 87) is special thanks to what’s under the hood. No, it’s not a 440 Magnum, something lots of folks assume thanks to the Coronet 440 nameplate. Rather, this one has the optional 383 big block V8. The base engine was the 225 Slant Six, with the 318 two-barrel small block offered for an extra $24. These two engines made up the majority of installations in these four-door family cars. But for those needing more passing and towing power, just $81 was all it took to enter the tire-smoking big block realm with the 383 seen in this car.
Seeking to appeal to economy-minded customers, Dodge (and Plymouth) offered the big 383 with a single two-barrel carburetor (making 270 horsepower) or for $121 with a four-barrel and dual exhaust making 325 horsepower. Interestingly, the 383 two-barrel engine shared its rather plain “V8” front fender medallion with the sleepy 318 small block. Only the four-barrel 383 got a special fender emblem reading “383 Four Barrel”. Thus, drivers of 383 two-barrel Coronets enjoyed something of a sleeper legacy. Would-be contenders didn’t know if the 318 or 383 lurked under hood until the tire smoke began – or didn’t.
This extremely solid Texas-based four-door has the expected factory Airtemp air conditioning (which includes the desirable HEMI-sized 26-inch radiator seven-blade aluminum clutch fan), power steering and three-speed windshield wipers, but is odd for its manual drum brakes, which would have added a mere $16, but for reasons unknown, were not specified.
Getting back to the confusion surrounding the Coronet 440 nameplate, it stems from the Coronet marketing hierarchy which was made up of (from bottom to top) the Coronet Deluxe, Coronet 440, Coronet 500 and Coronet R/T. Following the commonly mistaken logic that would assume every Coronet 440 packs a 440-cubic-inch Magnum, the Coronet 500 would be the ultimate muscle machine, with 500 cubic inches. But it was not so. The top muscle machine for 1967 was the strictly two-door Coronet R/T series (R/T stands for Road and Track … but you knew that) that came with base 440 Magnum or optional 426 Street HEMI engine power. This 383-powered four-door may not be a HEMI engine-powered vehicle, but its 383 surely surprised many a GM 350 owner.
The fender tag reads “Special Order” and this 1967 Plymouth Fury I four-door sedan (Lot Number 86) certainly is special. Beyond the austere hub caps and special 15×5.5-inch fleet rims with their riveted retention clips, the absence of flashy trim, A-pillar mounted spotlight and Commando V8 fender emblems alert the presence of a police car. Often called “muscle cars with an extra set of doors,” police cars often – but not always – contain high-performance driveline and suspension equipment.
Here, the VIN reads PK41G74235810, the “P” confirming the police model and the “G” in the fifth spot identifying the 383 big block V8. But unlike the more typical 383 four-barrel or even 440 Super Commando power expected in a police car, the G-code 383 is the more economical unit with a single exhaust tract and small two-barrel carburetor. Regardless, it’s a big jump above the possible 225 Slant Six or 318 small block V8. Yes, these low-power engines were available for inner city patrol work where high speed wasn’t required but maximum fuel economy was.
Under the skin, as a police unit, its got heavy-duty suspension with thicker torsion bars, full-size 11-inch drum brakes – the same stuff used on 426 Street HEMI engine-powered vehicles – special zinc liners between the leaves of the rear leaf spring suspension and inside, a certified 120 mph speedometer, thick molded rubber floor mat resists the stains and wear that would have plagued a family-style carpeted interior. Though the “RXX982” license plates suggest Arizona origins, there are some rusty spots on the floors and signs of delaminating plastic filler pock mark the body. Regardless, while records show that Plymouth built 29,354 Fury I four-door sedans in 1967, a small fraction of them were PK series police units. The number remaining today is surely minute.
Chrysler Corporation made automotive – and cultural – history with the introduction of the so-called “minivan” in 1983. With its economical and practical union of front-wheel drive, great fuel economy and smart utility-minded design, the traditional American station wagon was soon rendered obsolete – and an entirely new market segment was created to serve “soccer moms” across the world. This 1967 Chrysler Newport Town and Country (Lot Number 85) is a classic example of the massive station wagons the minivan helped to dethrone.
One of 14,703 Newport Town and Country wagons built, this one has the optional 440 four-barrel, a $79.40 upcharge over the base 383 two-barrel big block V8. The legendary performance of the 440 doesn’t need retelling here, but the fact it’s still under the hood speaks to this car’s incredible luck over the past 55 years, Ever since the tall deck 440 appeared in 1966, these full-size Chryslers were targeted by Slant Six and 318 small block owners looking to snatch their hearts for Dart and Duster conversions.
Typically equipped with Airtemp air conditioning ($406), power steering ($107), power brakes ($47), power windows ($106) and add-on (non-factory) electric trailer brakes, this family mover probably hauled a large camper or fishing boat trailer. In pristine condition with minimal surface rust, this surviving 440 station wagon appears to wear its factory-applied white paint. And as always, there is a distinct possibility the rear axle contains a nifty Sure Grip surprise within its beefy 8-3/4 inch carrier. We couldn’t lift the tail to find out but as a trailer towing workhorse, its original owner likely saw the value in the $50.70 outlay for Sure Grip.
Happily, today we have several aftermarket and reproduction 440-type engine blocks and crate engines to choose from. That means this nicely preserved wagon can stop shaking in fear every time a hot rodder walks near. We hope…
The Dodge A100 wasn’t the first compact van on the scene. That designation goes to Ford’s trend-setting Falcon Econoline of 1962 – or to some minds, Chevrolet’s Americanized Volkswagen Microbus, the 1961 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Corvan. Regardless, when Dodge entered the compact van market in 1964 with the A100, it was the only one with an optional V8, the all-new 273 small block, also introduced in 1964. And let’s not forget how Jay Howell and Dick Branstner’s Little Red Wagon A/FX A100 pickup (later adopted by Bill “Maverick” Golden) helped launch the 426 Race HEMI engine to race fans late in 1964. And we do mean “launch.” When Howell couldn’t keep the front tires on the strip, Golden cultivated the “Little Red” into a single-purpose wheel-standing exhibition machine.
This amazingly original 1966 Dodge A100 Sportsman passenger van (Lot Number 84) is one of the 9,536 V8 powered A100s that year. The other 35,190 (of 44,726 total built) were motivated by the trusty Slant Six. As a Sportsman people mover, this 273 V8-powered machine has eight windows for optimum visibility and comfort on long road trips. By contrast, the more utilitarian A100 vans could be had with several possible window and door configurations, including no windows at all (one of these is part of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event and is offered as Lot Number 55). More typically, worker bee A100s had windows on only the passenger side so the delivery driver could see the curb and sidewalk for parking (and yes, one of these is also offered in the auction as Lot Number 59).
Here, a 727 TorqueFlite® automatic transmission sends power to the 3.55:1 gears within the 8-3/4 rear axle. We know it was built with the 3.55 gear ratio thanks to the metal data tag riveted atop the driver side front wheel arch – a helpful detail found on all A100s – that also spells out suspension details, the VIN and other features. Speaking of VIN tags, another A100 van in this auction (Lot Number 11) wears serial number “2000604”, which verifies it as the six hundred and fourth (604th) A100 van ever assembled! That van also happens to have the extremely rare “walk through” body – with swing out cargo doors on both sides, driver and passenger. Again, that one is Lot Number 11 and can be seen at the Steve Magnante YouTube Channel or at the Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions website (FreedomCarAuctions.com).
But getting back to this 1966 Sportsman, though the engine cover has been disassembled for some unfinished business and the rear passenger bench seats seem to be missing, the beauty here is how original and unmolested the basic structure is. They just aren’t found like this anymore.
Well, that’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. We’ll be back next week with another “bouquet” for your enjoyment. See you then! –Steve “Scat Pack” Magnante
Have you ever engaged in a street race? If so, you’re not alone. But let’s not kid ourselves, street racing is dangerous and about as illegal and socially irresponsible as it gets. But what if there was a magical place where you could choose opponents, do smoky burnouts and blast off the line without worry of harming others or getting arrested and kissing your driver’s license goodbye?
That’s what Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge is all about, and on Saturday, August 14, hundreds of street racers will let it all hang out – without risking a night in jail. Better still, the traction action runs all day, from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with lots of comfortable spectator seating.
Since the first event in 2015, the folks at MotorTrend / Roadkill and Dodge convinced the city fathers of Pontiac, Michigan, to close off a roughly half-mile section of Woodward Avenue for … you guessed it … sanctioned street racing!
And every year since then, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID restrictions, hundreds of racers and thousands of spectators – like nearly fifty thousand – have gathered at Pontiac’s M1 Concourse – and that all-important section of Woodward Avenue next to it – for street racing, Roadkill Nights style.
Although the event is largely sponsored by Dodge, as Dodge Brand Chief Officer – Stellantis, Tim Kuniskis says, “The Brotherhood of Muscle spoke … and we brought it back.” Kuniskis, who built and dragged a fast Fox-body Ford Mustang 5.0 in earlier days, knows that without competition from GM, Ford and import machinery, there’s no party. So drivers of every make of go-fast vehicles are welcome at Roadkill Nights.
As an added bonus this year, the Dodge Hellcat Grudge Race puts Eric Malone, star of MotorTrend’s Fastest Cars In The Dirty South TV series in the crosshairs of teams of contenders seeking to win the $10,000 cash prize. Each team will race an SRT® Hellcat engine-powered Charger or Challenger that’s been modified in no-holds-barred, run what ya brung match race style. Horsepower isn’t the main challenge. It’ll be more about which team can stick that power to the surface of Woodward Avenue!
Beyond the exciting street racing, the M1 Concourse grounds play host to the Dodge Thrill Ride caravan where folks take shotgun-seat rides in SRT Hellcat HEMI® engine-powered vehicles on the road course and drift pad and drag fans can test their skills aboard the Demon Drag Strip Simulators. There’s also a car show – open to all makes – a manufacturer’s midway and plenty of food and drink.
Your author (that’d be me, Steve “Scat Pack” Magnante) will be hosting the all-day podcast from the side of the Woodward Avenue starting line where I’ve had the honor of calling the action since 2017. In my three years of hosting, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing – and describing to the podcast audience – the sight of NHRA Top Fuel superstar Leah Pritchett waiting in her 8,000-plus-horsepower Papa John’s Pizza / Dodge sponsored HEMI dragster as an Amtrak passenger train slowly crept through the impromptu Woodward Avenue bleach box (which is situated right next to a very active railroad crossing). I also watched warily as TV showman Richard “Fast and Loud” Rawlings inadvertently soaked his SRT Hellcat Challenger’s rear tires with water before launching on a squirrely, tire-spinning run that bounced the Challenger off the median barrier on one wheel before settling back to earth. He wasn’t hurt but the video clip went viral in seconds.
I’m looking forward to seeing – and describing – all of the cars and races that’ll take place on Saturday, August 14. You can still secure your tickets for this year’s event, but if you can’t be there in person, you can view all the action LIVE right here on DodgeGarage.com all day. Yes, we’re going street racing on Woodward Avenue! But this time there’s no need to call the bail bondsman! See you there; and until then, check out these sights from previous years.
The clock is ticking … the Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event is just ten weeks away. On Wednesday and Thursday, October 13th and 14th, the once-in-a-lifetime mostly Mopar vehicle and parts collection of the late John Haynie will be auctioned during an online-only sales marathon. The cars, vans and light trucks will go first, on Wednesday, October 13th, followed on Thursday, October 14th by a massive collection of engines, parts, tools, dealer sales and service items, toys, model cars and general automobilia.
The man in charge of it all is former Barrett-Jackson lead auctioneer Spanky Assiter, proprietor of Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions of Canyon, Texas. In this week’s installment of the auction preview series, let’s examine another handful of desirable vintage Mopar vehicles.
Though it’s been punched in the nose, this 1960 Plymouth Fury four-door sedan (Lot Number 110) is perhaps the most important car in the entire collection. This is the very car a young John Haynie – the man whose estate is being sold off in the upcoming October 13, 2021, auction – crashed in the early 1980s. This car sparked John’s interest in Mopar vehicles and was his first purchase.
After stripping away the mangled fenders, grille, bumper, hood and driver side door, the rest of the shell is very solid … including those wild, sky high rear tail fins. Born with the base 318 two-barrel and three-speed TorqueFlite® automatic transmission, it’s one of 21,292 four-door Fury sedans built in 1960. The big news for 1960 was Chrysler’s fleet-wide conversion from body-on-frame construction to semi-unitized architecture (except for the Imperial line).
If only this 1963 Dodge 440 (Lot Number 103) was a two-door. Then, the “door” would be opened for a Max Wedge clone. But as it is, this four-door – one of 44,300 440 series Dodge vehicles built in 1963) is a very solid restoration candidate. Minimal rust has afflicted its body, floors and trunk. Speaking of the trunk, it still retains the cardboard “modesty panels” installed by the factory to cover the deep voids at each end of the trunk floor where it drops to meet the lower quarter panels. As simple folded cardboard walls, these are among the first items to be lost to time.
Under the hood, we see the base poly-head 318 V8 which for 1963 was demoted to two-barrel-only anti-status. In 1962, an optional Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor boosted the poly 318’s output from 230 to 260 horsepower. Factory air conditioning added an extra $445 to the tab; interestingly, the same $445 also could have obtained the mighty 426 Ramcharger (a.k.a. Max Wedge) in any mid-size model and body style except for station wagons. Yes, a handful of four-door Max Wedge Dodge and Plymouth vehicle were built in 1962, 1963 and 1964, but this isn’t one of them.
When it was launched in 1961, the compact Dodge Lancer was nearly two feet shorter and 700 pounds lighter than a standard Dodge. This 1961 Dodge Lancer station wagon (Lot Number 102) takes things a lot further. Somewhere along the line, the entire mid-section of the body was surgically removed and the two ends merged back together in clown car fashion. But the work was actually very well done. This is no clown car.
The lift-type door handles suggest the conversion was performed in the early ’70s (stock Lancer door handles are of the handle-and-thumb-button type). The engine bay is empty though it seems a Slant Six once stood ready. A dual circuit non-assist brake master cylinder conversion supports the early ’70s constriction date. Inside, the instrument panel face plate exhibits the stack of holes seen on TorqueFlite automatic-equipped Lancers and the steering column is smooth, without a manual transmission shift lever handle. But there’s also a clutch pedal. We’d guess a floor-shifted manual transmission was once in play.
This 1962 Plymouth Savoy two-door sedan (Lot Number 98) is the stuff of Super Stock dreams. With its full door frames, fixed B-pillar and minimized use of chrome trim, it’s the epitome of Chrysler’s “less is more” ethos when it came to maximum performance in the pre-GTO era when muscle cars were more about the steak than the sizzle. Though the 1964 Pontiac GTO set the standard for later “image cars”, the beauty of Chrysler’s 1962-65 factory-built drag race machines was the fact you had to look close to tell them apart from lesser commuter models.
This is called the “sleeper factor” and with the optional $612 “Maximum Performance” 413 Super Stock engine, there were no external emblems, stickers or stripes on the body to set them apart from Slant Six or 318-powered models. Though only 300 Plymouths (and 210 Dodges) were built with the 413 Max Wedge in 1962, their ability to run low 13-second quarter-mile times (mid 12s with tuning) made them instant legends. Though the 413 Super Stock was available in any mid-size Plymouth (except wagons), smart buyers chose “strippers” like this Savoy sedan rather than flashier Belvedere and Fury hardtops and convertibles (yes, the Max Wedge could be had in the convertible body style).
Originally built as a Slant Six with a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission and manual drum brakes with manual steering, this no-frills base level Savoy is the perfect launch pad for a Max Wedge clone. The floors and trunk look solid and the all-important body skin is also in excellent condition. To top it all off, it was originally painted Onyx Black, a classic hue for the all-business mood of a proper Max Wedge stormer.
The Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event isn’t just about cars, there are a number of desirable vans and trucks in the mix. The largest of the bunch is this 1959 Dodge D400 stake truck (Lot Number 96), which was a running, driving machine when parked years ago and is probably ready for more with just a little service. Powering a New Process four-speed manual transmission and 6.2:1 geared Chrysler-built axle with 11,500-pound capacity, the Plymouth-built polyspherical head 318 V8 under the hood was new for heavy truck applications for 1959, replacing the heavier Dodge-built 315-cubic-inch poly-head V8 of 1958.
With its massive 171-inch wheelbase and 6,300-pound rear springs, the flatbed stands ready for serious cargo hauling. The possibilities are limitless. We can see it stacked full of clean used sheet metal panels at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals swap meet. Or maybe touring major Mopar shows with restored examples of a 1966 426 Street HEMI and 2021 6.4-liter Scat Pack HEMI bolted to the bed floor that can be started up for exciting comparison demonstrations of HEMI engine horsepower. The mind boggles.
Speaking of swap meets and desirable Mopar parts for sale, don’t forget that on October 14, 2021 – the day after the October 13th online auction of the 250-plus vehicles in the John Haynie collection – a second auction consisting of thousands of vintage parts, tools, new old stock items, dealer sales and training materials, toys and general automobilia will also take place. Maybe buy the truck then load it with nifty parts from the second auction and have them shipped home together.
That’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. Remember to click on each item presented here for a walk-around video or go to FreedomCarAuctions.com to see lots more.
Here we are in the fourth week of July 2021 and just a little over two months remain until The Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event makes history on October 13th as over 250 vintage and special interest cars and light trucks from the John Haynie collection go up for grabs.
Since these vehicles are located far away from the beaten path in the Texas prairie, where an on-site auction would be highly impractical, the good old Internet will substitute for an auction hall and the entire affair will be conducted virtually, including the all-important pre-sale vehicle inspection.
But fear not, high-resolution digital pictures have been taken of each Lot Number, which can be seen at Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions website. In addition, live action walk-around videos for 150 of the most exciting vehicles can be seen at the Steve Magnante YouTube Channel – and here at DodgeGarage – where they accompany each week’s preview story. Just click on the link to set the video in motion.
Ok, let’s get started with another bunch of five cool items from The Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event! Remember, every single car, light truck and van will be sold at no reserve on October 13, 2021 (plus a second auction featuring used and N.O.S. parts, tools, dealer sales materials, automobilia and lots more on October 14th). The specifics on how to register will appear on the website soon – and we’ll also be sure to spread the news right here when the time arrives. Until then, enjoy this week’s preview!
Plymouth launched the Fury in 1956 as its first true high-performance car, following in the footsteps of the 1955 Chrysler C300. Through the 1958 model year, Fury remained true to its sporting intent by offering two-door models only and restricting sixes and two-barrel/single-exhaust V8s. But for 1959, Plymouth expanded Fury’s mission by including four doors, station wagons and two-barrel-equipped V8s; sales blossomed from between roughly 4,500 and 7,500 units per year to 82,030 in 1959.
This 1959 Fury hardtop (Lot Number 126) is one of 21,494 two-door fastbacks built and was factory-built with a V8 (missing) and three-speed TorqueFlite® automatic transmission (still present). Inside, the optional automatic headlight dimmer sensor, a $40 item, still sits atop the boldly designed dash and instrument cluster with AM push button radio. Though the bench seats have disintegrated to bareframes, the bones of this classic Exner-designed Fury are solid. We can see many possible fates for this long and lean fastback. Perhaps a Viper merger with massive brakes, a V10 and six-speed stick. Or maybe a retro gasser with a 392 HEMI® engine, straight front axle and cheater slicks? What do you see?
Everything starts somewhere and when it comes to the production sequence of 1959 Chrysler Imperials, this LeBaron four-door hardtop (Lot Number 124) is the tenth car off the Detroit assembly line. Often times, early production cars like this are known as “pilot cars” since they are built a little slower so assembly workers can get acquainted with the new details versus last year’s models. By serial number 50 or so, the line speeds up to normal.
And occasionally these “pilot cars” end up being used for factory promotional photography in new car brochures and service manuals. Some even get used on the new car show circuit or as loaners for car magazine road testers. After that, most return to the retail sales chain – sometimes selling at discount fleet auctions because of the pre-retail promotional use. None of this is known to be the case with this car, but the possibility is there.
Also of interest is this car’s optional $139.80 Silvercrest top. Meant to emulate the shiny roof of the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, Chrysler also utilized brushed stainless steel for an elegant touch. But while the Caddy cost an unprecedented $10,000, this Imperial LeBaron was a comparative bargain with its $6,103 base list price. Options include air conditioning ($590.20 and installed on 37.5 percent of all 1959 Imperials), power windows ($125), rear window defogger ($21.45) and the aforementioned Silvercrest roof. Totaled together, someone spent at least $6,979.45 on this elegant machine.
Though we couldn’t open the hood to see if it was still there, there should be a 413 wedge in place, which replaced the 392 HEMI engine of 1958. Only 622 of these Imperial LeBaron four-door hardtops were built in 1959 and this one is the tenth off the line!
1957 was a big year for the HEMI engine, displacement grew from 354 to 392 cubic inches thanks to an extra quarter-inch of stroke (from 3.63 to 3.90 inches) and a 0.060 bore increase (from 3.94 to 4.00 inches). It was great for drag racers like Don Garlits, but bad news for cars like this 1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown four-door sedan (lot number 123) – which became targets for engine snatchers.
Happily, a string of protective owners saved it from becoming an “organ donor” and it’s now ready for a new home. Though many of the vehicles in the Great Texas Mopar Hoard are in need of major reconditioning, this Imperial looks to be nearly road ready, aside from some small bits of body rust bubbling up beneath its light blue paint. Of course, a total mechanical inspection will be needed, it’s been sitting for many years.
A close look at the four-door body reveals the fixed center roof B-pillars and full door frames of the sedan body type which, at $5,406, was the exact same price as the sleeker pillar-less hardtop. To some, the benefit of the breezy, open air feel of the hardtop was outweighed by the inevitable wind noise and water leaks with the windows up – especially after the rubber weather seals dried out. But the marketplace spoke and hardtops outsold sedans by over two-to-one (7,843 hardtops vs. 3,642 sedans).
Regardless of the body type, 1957 was the year Chrysler chief stylist Virgil Exner’s Forward Look really blossomed. It was radical and quad headlamps were seen for the first time – but only on cars sold in states that allowed them (interestingly, Rhode Island was one of the last states to legalize quad headlamps). With its sweeping tail fins, forward-slanting front fender profile and bubble-shaped wrap-around windshield, the look was futuristic. In fact, Elvis Presley exclaimed in one of his movies “the flying saucers have landed.” If ever there was an interplanetary flying machine on wheels, this 1957 Imperial is it … especially with its unmolested 392 Firepower HEMI engine!
This 1957 Plymouth Savoy (Lot Number 121) is something of an odd duck. Yes, it has the sleek fastback roofline seen on the high-performance Fury, but if it looks somehow longer than it should, that’s because it features the so-called Club Sedan two-door body configuration which rides on the longer wheelbase of a four-door sedan for easy six-passenger comfort. So if the area behind the doors and rear wheel openings looks longer than usual, you now have the story of why that’s the case.
These were fairly popular cars with 55,590 built versus 31,373 of the two-door Hardtop Coupe, which had the same roofline but without fixed B-pillars and riding on a shorter wheelbase. The engine has a special story. It’s either a 276- or 301-cubic-inch version of Plymouth’s new-for-’57 polyspherical head V8, which was a simplified version of the polyspherical head V8s used in other Chrysler Corporation vehicles. Built at the Detroit Mound Road engine plant, this engine was known as the A-series Poly, which evolved into the even lighter wedge-headed LA-series 273 in 1964 (which grew into the legendary 318-, 340- and 360-cubic-inch small block family).
Fed by a single two-barrel carburetor, the V8 is backed by a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission with manual steering and brakes. The only options appear to be a heater ($69) and radio – which is presently missing from its space in the dash. Then again, we weren’t able to open the trunk, perhaps it’s stored within. Regardless, the body is very solid with no signs of rust repair or plastic filler. View the live-action walk-around video for more information on this first-year torsion bar suspended Plymouth!
After viewing this week’s assortment of highly stylized Forward Look Mopar vehicless from the late-fifties, this 1964 Dodge Polara 500 two-door hardtop (Lot Number 111) looks fairly conservative. Crawling out from under the unfortunate sales slump triggered by the previous era of flash and fins, this 1964 ushered in a string of successively more conservative – and popular – designs as the sixties progressed. One of about 18,400 Polara 500s built in 1964 – all of which were V8 powered – the skinny 15×4.5 inch Cragar S/S front wheels give it an exciting ex-racecar vibe.
That dulls a bit when power drum brakes ($43), power steering ($77) and remnants of the factory air conditioning system ($445) are discovered under the hood. These weighty and expensive items were not offered on Max Wedges and Race HEMIs and suggest it was most likely a 318- or 383-powered boulevard cruiser when new (there is currently no engine or transmission). Interestingly, the $445 price tag for the factory air conditioner was the exact same amount charged for the Ramcharger 426 Max Wedge – but those two items could not be had together.
Inside, the front bucket seats and center console (located loose in the trunk) mark it as the top-tier Polara 500 model, positioned above the 330, 440 and Polara series. One very uncommon option are the power windows – a $102 option. The trunk is full of loose odds and ends with a very solid floor pan exhibiting minimal rust – compared to the Swiss cheese rust buckets typically encountered in 2021.
Though not the highly sought after less-is-more 330 or 440 series box-roof two-door sedan, this hardtop exhibits the more aerodynamic roofline and wrap-around rear window that helped make these Dodges and Plymouths successful in NASCAR super speedway races. We can see this one as a Cotton Owens Number 6 Daytona 500 tribute. Or maybe a Ramchargers Super Stock replica (though most of their racing was done with a 330 series HEMI engine-powered sedan, the Rams displayed a candy-striped hardtop at the 1964 New York World’s Fair). Or maybe an all-out altered wheelbase Match Basher. Or maybe a…
That’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. But fear not, as the October 13, 2021 online auction draws closer, we’ll be back next week – and every week until the sale – with more delectable Dodge Brand vehicles (and Plymouths, Chryslers and Imperials) for your enjoyment – and potential ownership.
We’re halfway through the month of July and there are just 12 weeks until the Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event happens on October 13th and 14th. Let’s keep the ball rolling with another preview of vehicles that’ll be sold at no reserve in this online auction that’s hosted by Spanky Assiter and his team at Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions.
Remembering that this amazing stash of over 250 cars, vans and light trucks are stored in rural Texas, transportation will have to be arranged after the sale to get each and every vehicle purchased to its new owner. But fear not. Spanky Assiter is a veteran of the automotive auction scene and has arranged for professional vehicle haulers to be on standby to move the cars immediately after the sale dates.
For bidding information and registration details, stay tuned to Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions website for more information as the auction dates get closer. Until then, let’s resume our tour of The Great Texas Mopar Hoard!
1960 PLYMOUTH SAVOY TWO-DOOR TAXI: LOT #138
Look closely at Lot Number 138, a 1960 Plymouth Savoy two-door sedan. The missing front bumper gave way to a set of towing tabs and hood pins once secured the hood. Could it have been somebody’s racecar? The exotic Exner-inspired tail fins clash visually with the boxy sedan body style. This one is the polar opposite of a sleek fastback Fury.
What’s even more shocking is how the VIN begins with “390” which tells us it’s a V8-powered full-size Plymouth (3) built to taxi Series Code (9) for the 1960 model year (0). Wait, what, a two-door taxi? A peek at Plymouth’s 1960 VIN language is in order to fully understand the special nature of this car. In 1960, full-size Plymouths (excluding the all-new compact Valiant) could be had as the Savoy (Series Code 1), Belvedere (Series Code 2), Fury (Series Code 3), station wagon (Series Codes 5, 6 or 7), Taxi (Series Code 9) or Fleet (Series Code 0).
But what about police cars? They carried Series Code 9 or 0. For 1961, the 9 Series Code was redefined as “Special / Police”. So we likely have a 1960 Savoy Police Pursuit that was re-purposed as a dragster after its law enforcement career ended. A peek under the hood reveals more shock and surprise. There are dual exhaust head pipes, manual steering and brakes, no A/C and – best of all – there’s an A-239 three-speed manual transmission hanging by wires under the transmission tunnel! It’s the same type of three speed gearbox that cost the Ramchargers victory at the 1961 NHRA Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, its pin-type synchronizers hanging up as Ramchargers team driver Al Eckstrand attempted to power shift during a race against Dyno Don Nicholson’s fierce 409 Chevrolet. But that’s cool today.
In the trunk, the cast iron exhaust manifolds, single four-barrel intake manifold and steel bell housing tell us a 361 or 383 big block once powered this brute. The only thing cooler would be a set of Son-O-Ramic ram induction intake manifolds. One police goodie still present in the trunk is a massive Leece-Neville alternator. We didn’t have time to look, but chances are its got the police-only 12-inch drum brakes (one inch larger than standard) and beefy 1.01-inch torsion bars. How many of these do you think still exist?
1962 CHRYSLER 300: LOT #137
The 1962 model year brought a big change to the history of the Chrysler 300. While prior 300s – going back to the first C300 of 1955 – were all high-performance vehicles with multiple carburetion, solid lifters, massive brakes, stiffer springs, sway bars, shock absorbers and 150 mph speedometers, 1962 brought the watered down 300 Sport.
Less demanding from its driver, the 300 Sport relaxed the high strung nature of the “letter series” 300s and even introduced a four-door body option. They sold like hot cakes, with 25,578 built. Meanwhile, the letter-series continued for 1962, the 300-H targeted at motorists demanding the full 300 experience. Lot Number 137 is one of just 558 300-Hs sold in 1962 and from its condition, somebody had a “full experience” all right!
The right rear corner of the car has been bashed, probably during a rear-end collision. Though the 380-horsepower 413 and aluminum case 727 TorqueFlite® automatic transmission are missing, the rest of the “letter series” bits are still present, including the 1.01-inch-diameter torsion bars, six-leaf rear springs, 12-inch power drum brakes and leather bucket seat interior with center console, power windows, clear plastic “Astra-Dome” instrument panel and 150 mph speedometer.
Though the rear impact has crumpled the quarter panel and likely bent the frame, the solid nature of this relic encourages restoration to its former glory. Then again, this shocking example of squandered rarity might be perfect just as it sits. Why not add it to your collection of restored “letter cars” as a reminder of the sad fate that befell too many of them.
The Dart GT arrived during the 1963 model year as the top-tier Dart model, above the Dart 170 and Dart 270. Designed to appeal to the young (and young at heart), standard GT equipment included front bucket seats and special ornamentation. But don’t make the mistake of assuming the GT package was a muscle car. Though the potent 273 four-barrel was an option, the 225 Slant Six was standard equipment.
Lot Number 133 is a classic example of a Slant Six engine-powered 1965 Dart GT – but with a special twist – a four-speed manual transmission. At least that’s how it was originally built. The four-speed – and Slant Six engine – are gone today, but remnants of the slick four-speed remain in the form of the clutch pedal and special transmission tunnel with its welded-on shift clearance hump and die-cast shift gate face plate.
In solid shape with a clean engine bay with modest rust at the rear quarter panels, this one would make the ideal basis for an altered wheelbase Match Bash replica with a Mopar Performance 426 HEMI® engine, four-speed transmission, narrowed (5.5 inches) Dodge A100 van front axle and leaf springs with Mopar Performance Super Stock leaf springs out back. Records show that of the approximately 40,700 Dart GTs built in 1965, most (about 22,700) were Slant Six powered like this was. But it doesn’t have to stay that way!
1957 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER: LOT #129
A shovel never had a cooler job. Propping the hood of this original paint 1957 Chrysler New Yorker (Lot Number 129), first-year quad headlamps and some of the Fifties finest tail fins are just a couple of the external treats on display. While lesser Chrysler Windsors and Saratogas made do with a smaller 354-cubic-inch V8 equipped with polyspherical cylinder heads (in their third year), the top-tier New Yorker got the now legendary 392-cubic-inch Firepower HEMI V8 engine with a single four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust as standard equipment.
Being the biggest and baddest HEMI engine yet, hot rodders and drag racers eagerly sought wrecked New Yorkers from which to harvest their dome-headed hearts in the pursuit of ultimate acceleration. Though 34,620 of these massive 392s were installed in a like number of New Yorkers in 1957, finding an unmolested example is rare. And of those 34,620 New Yorkers, 10,948 wore the four-door hardtop body style seen here. With all four windows rolled down on a sunny day, it’s the next best thing to a convertible.
Sharing space with the Air-Temp air conditioning, the unique side-saddle air cleaner atop the massive HEMI engine was required because of Chrysler Chief Stylist Virgil Exner’s ultra-low cowl height. Nearly two inches lower than its 1956 counterpart, the low cowl allowed an equally low hood profile, all contributing to Exner’s “Forward Look”. But these details didn’t allow space for a traditional “top hat” style engine air cleaner.
There are a number of potential fates for this amazing survivor. Restoration or – shun the notion – disassembly of parts for the revival of a more desirable convertible or two-door model. And let’s not forget the ultra-desirable 392 HEMI engine. Decisions, decisions…
This 1959 Plymouth Custom Suburban two-door station wagon (Lot Number 127) is one of just 1,852 built – versus 52,017 Custom Suburban four-door station wagons this same year. Though the six-passenger, four-door Custom Suburban wagons came standard with the 230-cubic-inch flathead six (in its final year before it was replaced by the 225-cube Slant Six in 1960), the two-door Custom Suburban wagons all came with standard V8 power in the form of Plymouth’s 318 with polyspherical cylinder heads.
While a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission was base equipment, this one has the two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission, a $189 convenience upgrade for those unwilling to tap dance with a clutch pedal. For $211, the TorqueFlite automatic was offered, its third forward gear greatly improving performance and economy. $22 was never better spent.
Evidence of the simplified Powerflite two-speed automatic transmission is seen to the left of the steering wheel where just four buttons protrude from the dash reading “Drive”, “Neutral”, “Reverse”, “Low”. For comparison, the three-speed TorqueFlite’s buttons would read “Reverse”, “Neutral”, “Drive”, “2”, “1”. To the right of the steering wheel, the usual push button AM radio is absent. Apparently, a chunk of the $59 radio fee went to the automatic transmission.
Another under-dash item is the air conditioner, an essential item in Texas, but one that added a whopping $531 to the tab. For perspective, this car’s base price was $2,814 when new, adding air conditioning ballooned the price by nearly 20 percent! One final detail that was a mystery during photography was which V8 resides under the hood. Because the hood latch was stuck and we wouldn’t risk damage through use of force, the only evidence is the red, oval snorkel air cleaner resting on the front bench seat.
We didn’t lift it to see if the circular opening fits a two-barrel or a four-barrel carburetor, but we’re pretty sure the oval intake snorkel was used on four-barrel engines, meaning its likely either the polyspherical head 318 four-barrel (260 horsepower) or the mighty wedge head 361 big block (305 horsepower) lurks within. Regardless of the engine, this highly original, very solid two-door wagon will make somebody very happy.
Well that’s it for this week’s preview story for the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. Stay tuned to DodgeGarage next week as the preview continues!
Follow-up albums can be a tough thing for rock ‘n roll bands. The initial spark of genius behind the debut album usually took years to manifest into reality. And often, the band’s best efforts were spent on the first go ‘round.
In the case of the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A, Dodge’s effort to homologate the Challenger for duty in the SCCA’s Trans Am Sedan road racing series – and to grab a chunk of the corner-carving pony car market launched by the 1967 Camaro Z28 – was a one-year effort.
Here, “the band” (namely Dodge product planners and engineers) came out swinging with perhaps more base-level, standard-issue equipment than any of its competitors (note: much of the following also applies to Plymouth’s sibling offering, the 1970 AAR ‘Cuda).
While other SCCA Trans Am series homologation packages retained conventional full-length dual exhaust (Camaro Z28, Mustang Boss 302, Firebird Trans Am and Javelin Mark Donohue edition), Challenger T/A delivered outrageous side-exit dual exhaust with first-ever blunt-end mufflers (the inlet and outlet were at the leading ends of the mufflers). And where others equipped their offerings with properly sticky tires and upsized 15-inch rims, only Challenger T/A rocked the industry with America’s first “staggered size” tires.
Mounted to suitably large 15×7 inch wheels (stamped steel on base models, W21 Rally type as optional) were fat E60-15 Goodyear Polyglas “boots” up front and out back, even fatter G60-15 tires of the same make. And to make the nose down effect of the different diameter tires even more stark, specific “increased camber” rear leaf springs lifted the T/As saucy tail even higher off the ground. And to solve the matter of what to do in the event of a flat tire, the first collapsible “Space Saver” tire went into the trunk just in case. As for rotating these mismatched tires for maximum tread wear, Dodge rightly assumed people so “square” as to worry about wringing every last mile out of their tires weren’t buying T/As anyhow. Tire rotation was “not recommended”.
No other Dodge muscle cars went this far, not even the heavy artillery Street HEMIs and 440 Six Packs. Taking things even further, the T/A got its own aero package consisting of a slick trunk lip spoiler (and optional J78 front chin spoiler for $28,95) with aggressive body-side tape stripe graphics running along the front fenders and doors before abruptly terminating on a jaunty diagonal angle triggered by the inner line of the roof’s B-pillar.
And in typical Mopar® fashion, the driveline wasn’t ignored. Thanks to an SCCA rules relaxation for the 1970 model year, carmakers no longer had to whip up special 5.0-liter (305-cubic-inch) V8s to meet the on-track law limiting racers engines to 5.0 liters. These street-going homologation cars could now go big. And they did.
Though Pontiac’s 1969 Firebird Trans Am got an early “easement” in ’69 allowing the Ram Air 400 for street-going T/As, for 1970, the Camaro’s Z28 went from 302 to 350 cubes and Ford got ready to poke and stroke its Boss 302 into the Boss 351 for 1971. As for Dodge, the natural Challenger T/A (and AAR ‘Cuda) engine was the high-winding 340.
But being the chronic over-delivery specialists they were – and continue to be – Dodge drivetrain engineers replaced the 340’s single 4-barrel carburetor with a pint-sized version of the 440 Six Pack using a lightweight aluminum 6-bbl intake manifold from Edelbrock – but with the 440-sized (1,350 cfm) trio of 2300-series Holley 2-barrel carbs mounted in tandem. Power went from 275 to 290, but everyone knew the reality was the 4-barrel 340’s real-world 310 horse rating jumped to around 340 with the extra breathing potential. The new and improved 340 Six Pack (340 6BBL in Plymouth-speak) was so new it even got its own in-house Chrysler engineering designation. While the 1968 340 4-barrel was the A105, the 1970 340 Six Pack became the A340).
But there was more. Though many mistaken historians have claimed the Challenger T/A’s 340 Six Pack had a special solid lifter camshaft, all the better for higher rpm capability before valve train flutter, they were confused by the fact the specially prepared 340 Six Pack also got special cylinder heads. Though functionally identical to the excellent 340 head castings, these new heads were cast with thicker port walls to allow for major porting work to be done. The level of material removed from a standard set of 340 head castings would have cut through to air and scrapped the effort.
But the extra metal on the A340 (T/A) heads allowed cylinder head magicians working with the SCCA race teams to hog out the ports to the volumes needed for race use. Because the added metal was on the outside of the port walls, the push rods would have made contact and rubbed. So to wiggle the push rods’ tubular mass outward the small amount needed, special offset rocker arms were devised. Though the standard 340 (A105) rocker arms were simple stamped steel items of one-piece construction, for the new A340 (Six Pack) items, Dodge (once again) overdelivered with stiffer forged steel rocker arms, drilled and tapped to accept adjustable pivot balls and locking nuts.
The locking nuts were a nice bonus. Though totally unnecessary with the 340’s self-adjusting multi-piece hydraulic lifters, SCCA Trans Am racers uniformly discarded these low-rpm “street” items and replaced them with aftermarket adjustable rocker arms that opened the door to much more radical aftermarket (and factory) camshafts with race-winning specifications. Happily, the 340 Six Pack’s forged rocker arms came equipped with the needed adjustability thus saving race teams the several-hundred-dollar investment in aftermarket rocker arms.
The 340 Six Pack’s engine block was also different. Though equipped with the same durable two-bolt main caps as the 340 4-barrel, like the special cylinder heads, engineers added metal to the bearing bulkheads that allowed race teams to drill and tap them for four-bolt main bearing caps, a necessity when racing on the professional level.
And finally, as if all of these goodies weren’t enough, power front disc brakes were included and Dodge whipped up a special fiberglass hood for the Challenger T/A that fed cool, dense, outside air to a special ovoid air cleaner mounted in a rectangular metal tray sealed to the underside of the fiberglass hood skin with a thick rubber gasket. Rolled together (plus a fast ratio steering box, rear anti-sway bar and more), these goods elevated the already potent Challenger into the legendary Challenger T/A.
Dodge offered the Challenger T/A upgrade package as A53, priced an extra $865.70 on top of the base Challenger V8’s $2,953, for a total of $3,820. This price got buyers all of the special 340 Six Pack goodies with either a 4-speed or 727 TorqueFlite® (buyer’s choice, either transmission was included in the A53 T/A package with no external charge), the unique tail-high suspension, crazy side-exit exhaust, sinister body graphics and yes, that wicked snorkel-like hood was part of the deal.
By contrast, a base Challenger R/T with a 383 Magnum and floor shifted 3-speed manual transmission cost $3,266, $554.70 less than a T/A. If the 383 Magnum’s 330 horses and 425 ft/lb wasn’t enough, for $3,591 the 440 Magnum’s ($130.45) 375-horsepower and 480 ft/lbs could be had. Since the 383 Challenger R/T’s base A230 3-speed manual gearbox wasn’t tough enough for the tall deck 440 Magnum, 440 buyers were forced to choose between the 4-speed ($194.95) or 727 TorqueFlite ($227.05). Sweetly, the big Dana 60TM monster axle was included in the 4-speed’s $194.95 price tag, the deal of the century for axle fetishists. But thanks to the 727’s cushioning effect on upshifts, 440 Challenger R/T’s retained the 8-3/4 rear axle (unless one of two extra cost Track Packs were specified which put a Dana behind the 727 TorqueFlite).
And if the 440 Magnum’s single 4-barrel carburetor wasn’t extreme enough, for $3,710.50 you’d have a 440 Six Pack ($249.55), 4-speed ($194.95), Dana 60 (still free with the 4-speed) Challenger R/T sitting in your driveway. This was still $109.50 cheaper than the Challenger T/A’s $3,820 price tag. For the ultimate in forward acceleration – and cruise night status appeal – for $4,239.70 ($419.70 less than the Challenger T/A) you had King Kong, a 4-speed HEMI engine-powered Challenger with the 425-horsepower Street HEMI engine ($778.75), 4-speed ($194.95) and Dana 60 (yep, again it was free with the stick).
With all of this choice – and its rather high price tag – Dodge still managed to sell 2,399 Challenger T/As in 1970, 989 with 4-speed transmissions and the rest (1,410) with TorqueFlite automatics. Ok, so that brings us up to date on the 1970 Challenger T/A. So what’s the deal with this month’s Pages From The Past magazine advertisement?
Depicted for all of the world to see in numerous car magazines in the late fall of 1970 was an 8-page, full-color pull-out ad for the 1971 Dodge Scat Pack lineup. On the fifth page, between pages devoted to the Challenger R/T and Demon 340, appears this fascinating item. Perched motionless at the apex of a corner that’s obviously at a race track – perhaps somewhere within Dodge’s exclusive Chelsea, Michigan, Proving Grounds – is what appears to be a 1971 Citron Yella Challenger T/A.
While major external differences between 1970 and 1971 Challengers are minor, the key detail are the twin rectangular grille inserts. A close look at the magazine image leaves one with the distinct impression they’ve been added with an artist’s air brush. The small “Dodge” logo on the driver side is obviously highlighted a bit for clarity. Perhaps it was a regular 1970 T/A standing in until actual 1971 production commenced – with the obsolete 1970 details covered up.
But beyond the grille, the rest of the car looks legit, right down to the boundary effect hood scoop, hood pins, side-exit exhaust trumpets, rear-mounted radio antenna (needed because of the fiberglass hood’s inability to shield it from ignition system electronic interference from the ignition distributor and spark plug wires), big-and-bigger E and G series Goodyear tires, tail spoiler and base-level 15×7 steel wheels with center caps and trim rings.
The ad copy claims it’s the “end of the road for the Do-It-Yourself Kit” (which echoes the message of the classic 1968 Charger R/T “Ramrod” magazine which touted: “Charger R/T just arrived. End of the road for the do-it-yourself kit, Charlie”) and says the Challenger T/A is built “just the way you’d do it yourself. If you had the time. And the money. Yeah, the money. Frankly, it would probably cost you more to do it yourself. So why bother with do-it-yourself dreams? Check out this bargain for the man who’d rather be moving than building.”
The ad continues with a list of standard equipment that’s unchanged from the ingredients list applied in 1970 – with one glaring (and easily overlooked) exception. The first item is listed as “340 4-bbl. V8”. Woah! Wait a second…the “4-bbl.” refers correctly to the same high-winding 340 small block used in 1970, but is not the same as a 6-bbl. Is it possible Dodge planned to de-content the second-year Challenger T/A by eliminating the exotic Edelbrock / Holley Six Pack of 1970? It seems so.
Elsewhere in the 8-page advertising supplement, a close search reveals no mention of any Six Pack other than the 440 Six Pack, as offered in the Challenger and Charger R/T at extra cost. Mention of the 340 4-bbl. is limited to the Challenger R/T page (“…A few words for the hearty…340, 440 Six Pack, Hemi…See your dealer”) and the Demon 340 (“340-cu.-in. 4-bbl. V8 premium fuel).
History has proven that exactly zero Challenger T/As were sold to the public in 1971. Unfortunately, the 1970 offering was a one-and-done deal. But the existence of this high-profile, full-color magazine ad for the car that never was has triggered much confusion in the collector car world. In fact, there are folks who still insist that 1971 Challenger T/As were built – as they point to this magazine ad.
It all goes to support the fact that fine print at the end of many “official” advertising materials is the only item that can be taken at 100-percent face value. In this case, it reads: “All product illustrations and specifications are based on authorized information. Although all descriptions are believed to be correct at publication approval, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Some of the equipment shown on product illustrations is optional, at extra cost. Dodge Division reserves the right to make changes from time to time, without notice or obligation, in prices, specifications, colors and materials, and to change or discontinue models.”
This ad was created in August of 1970 and appeared in the November 1970 issue of Car and Driver magazine. Clearly, Dodge was still gung-ho on the Challenger program. But as Dodge looked back on the 1970 sales year in early 1971, the numbers showed that Dodge Division sales had slipped by 10.75 percent versus 1969 (543,020 vehicles versus 608,452). The all-new Challenger E-body was struggling for recognition amid a flooded pony car marketplace.
Going up against the Mustang-Cougar-Camaro-Firebird-Javelin stampede, Challenger entered a highly competitive, 6-year-old pony car marketplace that had already peaked by 1970 as baby boomers started having their own kids and sought larger cars than the essentially 2-seat pony cars that got them in trouble in the first place. And with in-house competition coming from Plymouth’s also-new E-body Barracuda, just 83,032 Challengers were built in 1970 (and only 50,617 Barracudas / ‘Cudas), a disappointing tally that certainly must have stifled corporate interest in model proliferation of cars like the T/A.
And so it was that 1971 never delivered on the promise of a follow-up to the mighty 1970 Challenger T/A. Oh, what could have been! But was this the end for the Challenger T/A? Not so fast … well actually, yes, very fast. The 2017 model year brought us a revived Challenger T/A based on the third-generation LC-platform Challenger. Though the 340 small block, Six Pack induction, staggered tires and side exhaust weren’t resurrected, Dodge wisely reserved the T/A package for HEMI engine-powered models only, adding Hellcat-style inner headlamp Air Catchers, retro-inspired graphics and spoilers and, truthfully, far more power and performance capability than any vintage Challenger – the mighty Street HEMI included – let alone the 340 Six Pack (especially when the outrageous modern 392 T/A with 480 horsepower is considered).
Retro or new, the Challenger T/A is a desirable machine. Just don’t let anyone try to convince you Dodge built any in 1971…
Hello, Dodge Garage fans! It’s time for another of our weekly auction preview stories focused on the 250-plus-vehicle online estate auction scheduled for early October of this year (2021).
This week, there’s only time to show you ONE item from the upcoming event because your author has to go to Las Vegas for the latest Barrett-Jackson collector car auction (airing on The History Channel and FYI on June 18, 19 and 20, 2021) and time is tight. But fear not … next week, I’ll return with another bunch of delectable vintage Mopar® vehicles to spark your appetite.
Again, each and every one of the vehicles previewed here is going to be sold at no reserve in October. In case you’re new to the auction scene, the term “no reserve” means every item is going to sell … even if the highest bid is far less than the actual value of the item. No reserve auctions are a great way to get the vintage Mopar project car of your dreams for a very affordable price.
The auctioneer behind this history-making event is Spanky Assiter, founder of Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions of Texas and former Barrett-Jackson lead auctioneer. Spanky got the call to liquidate this massive outdoor hoard of vintage Mopar vehicles from the executors of the John Haynie estate in early 2021.
John Haynie, the Texas gentleman who amassed this huge collection of prime vintage tin, was sadly taken by a terminal illness at age 52. But we celebrate his foresight and good taste here while putting these great cars back into circulation after slumbering for as many as 30 years in the dry Texas prairie.
So read closely and be sure to click on the video link to learn more about the cars and light trucks that will all find new homes in early October as the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event plays out!
This 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport is from the first year when Chrysler took the 300 model line “mainstream” with a slightly (and we mean slightly) de-contented version called the 300 Sport. These 300 Sports were sold right alongside the 300 Letter Series – called the 300-H for 1962 – but expanded the body style selection to include four doors as well as two doors and convertibles.
While the menacing dual-quad 413 was relegated to the option sheet, the standard 383 two-barrel’s 305 horsepower was enough to ensure excitement. Inside, the same space age Astra-Dome spherical plastic instrument pod was present albeit with a 120 mph speedometer in place of the 300-H’s 150 mph unit. Underneath, softer suspension settings eased the 300-H’s harsh ride and smaller drum brakes appeared on the 300 Sport.
This bright red 300 Sport two-door hardtop is virtually rust free with solid quarter panels, a complete interior with power windows and leather seats. It has factory air conditioning, power brakes and power steering, and the all-new-for-’62 aluminum case 727 Torqueflite® automatic transmission complete with push button shift controls.
One of 11,776 300 Sport two-door hardtops built in 1962 (versus just 558 300-H vehicles), the pictures may show this car without an engine, wheels, hood and other small items, but rest assured these items are included. As the auction date draws closer, the stray parts will be identified and reunited with this stunning red hardtop. Be sure to search the auction docket for the latest information about this car before bidding. And in the meantime, check out the walk-around video to learn even more. See you next week after the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas collector car event!
Visit past installments of The Great Texas Mopar Auction: