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:
Steve Magnante is a famous example of one of those hot rodders. When he was starting out as a staff editor for HOT ROD, his office was like a showroom for his collection of fantastic plastic model cars. So when we heard about his show on the MotorTrend App called Steve Magnante’s Super Models, we knew it wasn’t going to be about leggy, pouty fashion models—and we knew it was going to be good.
“My first model kit, at about age eight, was a 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo from AMT,” Magnante told me. “Pretty soon, I was getting serious about models, and by the time I was a teenager I was learning how to detail, how to airbrush, add chrome trim, and how to kit-bash, which is taking parts from different kits to make your particular project more realistic. Lately, I have been gathering a lot of followers on Instagram where I’ve been posting pictures of model cars. So when Mike Pantaleo at MotorTrend came to me with the idea for a show about model cars, I knew I would love to do it.”
The first season of Steve Magnante’s Super Models is four episodes long. In Episode 1, titled “Factory-Backed Street Racing in a ’67 GTX,” Magnante demonstrates the procedure for creating a scale-model replica of the Jimmy Addison Silver Bullet Plymouth GTX. The remaining episodes highlight an altered-wheelbase 1967 Chevelle SS, the Dodge Little Red Wagon wheelstander, and a 1968 Hemi Charger.
We wondered how those specific models were chosen. “We needed to choose models that actually exist and are currently available,” Magnante explained, “not only so that we could get a bunch of them to use for the show, but so that people watching would be able to find these models, as well. From there the question became, ‘What can we do with the kit to make it more interesting than just building it out of the box?’ In the case of the Jimmy Addison GTX, I knew that Revell has a wonderful model kit of the Sox & Martin 1967 GTX, and I knew that my parts box was full of parts.”
Addison’s Plymouth GTX, with a 426 Hemi engine and 727 Torqueflite transmission, was a successful Chrysler-sponsored street racer on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. To build a 1:25 version, Magnante modified the Sox & Martin 1967 GTX model with parts from other kits to create an authentic-looking scale replica. As he builds in on camera, he combines informative model building tips with historical and technical info about the original Silver Bullet. Midway through the episode, the show moves outdoors to Magnante’s driveway to examine a 1967 GTX clone, built from a Plymouth Satellite.
Every once in a lifetime, a collection of vintage cars comes to auction that will never happen again. In the case of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event, Spanky Assiter and the folks at Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions will sell the estate of the late John Haynie on October 13 and 14, 2021. (Haynie, a 52-year-old Mopar enthusiast, recently passed away from cancer.)
More than 250 vehicles will be auctioned exclusively online, including the 23 Mopars previewed here. Then on October 14, a second online-only auction will disburse Haynie’s large collection of new old stock (NOS) and used parts, dealership sales materials, model cars, factory service manuals, specialized tools, factory service film strips, vintage license plates, and more.
Best of all, everything is being auctioned at no reserve. The beauty of any no-reserve auction is that each offering is guaranteed to sell to the highest bidder. There will be no unrealistic reserves to protect the estate in the event of a low top bid. Their loss is your gain. For specific details on how to register to bid, go to freedomcarauctions.com.
Living on the great Texas prairie, Haynie had plenty of space on his ranch to store his collection of (mostly) Mopar cars, light trucks, and vans from the 19381990 period. Given Texas’ arid climate, most of the 250-plus vehicles being sold are very solid and free of the usual structural rust that destroys many vintage cars. That said, most are project cars in need of basic mechanical refurbishment (dry brakes, cooling systems, dead batteries, etc.) before running again.
As the pictures here show, some of the vehicles ran before being parked while others were purchased in non-running condition as project cars. Either way, massive collections like this rarely come up for sale, and the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event is sure to be one of the car hobby’s major events of 2021. To watch a cool walk-around video, go to Steve Magnante’s YouTube Channel for all the latest. Save the dates: October 13 for the car hoard, and October 14 for the parts, tools, and memorabilia.
1964 Plymouth Barracuda
Despite the tacky slime-green paint and racing stripes, this first-year Barracuda is something of an oddball. Born with Plymouth’s inaugural 273 small-block with a single two-barrel carburetor (the four barrel hi-po 273 arrived in ’65), a three-on-the-tree manual transmission sticks a pin in the sporty car theme. And although the original buyer splurged with the extra $131 for the V-8, the $180 extra cost of the A833 floor-mounted four-speed manual transmission was a bridge too far.
Probably due to its heated Texas home, a dealer-add-on Chrysler AirTemp air-conditioning system hangs under the dash. The 13-inch simulated mag-style wheel covers (with real chrome acorn lug nuts) and wood-rim steering wheel tell us the $80 Sport Group was selected during the ordering process. This super-clean (one of 64,596) 1964 Barracuda has minimal rust and is ripe for new life. It’s Lot Item 43.
1957 Chrysler New Yorker
This massive 1957Chrysler New Yorker—sitting up to its hubs in silt—is typical of the majority of the cars in the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. Probably purchased by Haynee as a used car, it has ripened on the vine. Although once a common sight on America’s highways and byways, today these beasts have vanished. The New Yorker was Chrysler’s top-line model for ’57, and this one has the exclusive hardtop body style, without full door frames or fixed B-pillars. With the glass down, it’s an open-air riding experience bettered only by a convertible.
Just 10,948 of these land yachts were built in 1957 (plus another 12,369 four-door sedans, 8,863 two-door hardtops, 1,049 convertibles, and 1,391 Town and Country station wagons), each with the newly upsized Fire Power 392 Hemi. With minimal rust and in virtually complete condition, this one is far too nice to use as a heart donor right? It’s Lot Item 129.
1966 Dodge A100 Sportsman Van
Most people think of Bill “Maverick” Golden’s Little Red Wagon when Dodge A100s turn up. But still wearing its factory-applied green paint, the full windows in this 1966 A100 mark it as a Sportsman. Unlike the traditional panel vans, the Sportsman is more about hauling people than cargo, and it has removable bench seats to prove it. Although we didn’t see the seats in this one, we did see the desirable 273 V-8 (replaced by the 318 V-8 in 1967) and 727 automatic transmission. As always, an 8-3/4 rear axle does duty out back. Virtually free of nasty rust, this Sportsman is one of 130,726 A-series forward-control vans built in 1966, of which 9,536 were factory V-8s. (The rest had the slant-six.) This fun machine waiting to happen is Lot Item 84. Incidentally, this auction also includes a 1967 Dodge A100 van with the rare no-window body option (Lot Item 55) and a 1964 Dodge A100 with the ultra-rare walk-through body option with doors on both sides that also happens to be the 604th A-100 ever built (Lot Item 11).
1959 Dodge Coronet California Highway Patrol
Do let the black and white paint attract you. This is a real-deal 1959 Dodge Coronet Police Pursuit. How do we prove it isn’t just a two-toned wannabe? We go to the VIN where the first four characters read “M394.” This breaks down to: M=1959 model year, 3=Dodge passenger car, 9=special model, 4=Los Angeles assembly plant. The “9” is the smoking gun. This code was only used on police models and certain fleet models. By the way, ho-hum taxis carry 6 (six-cylinder) or 8 (eight-cylinder) in this critical third position, and ho-hum V-8 family cars carry 1, 3, 5, or 7. Again, the 9 marks this as a cop car, and that’s cool, cool, cool! The “4” (Los Angeles assembly plant) suggests the California Highway Patrol was the initial buyer (explaining the black and white paint scheme). Three V-8 engines were offered in the 1959 Coronet Police Pursuit: the base 326ci polyspherical Red Ram, the midlevel D-500 V-8 383 four-barrel, and the top-dog Super D-500 Pursuit 383 with dual quads. This amazing survivor has the midlevel D-500 383 backed by a three-speed Torqueflite automatic with push buttons.
Other police-spec goodies include 12-inch drum brakes all around; heavy-duty axle, springs, and driveshaft; and a unique instrument cluster with a certified 120-mph speedometer and an ultra-rare mechanical oil pressure gauge. Best of all, it still has the red “pull-over” lamps on the front fender and rear package tray. Book ’em, Dano! This is Lot Item 66.
1967 Plymouth Fury Police Package
Let’s keep the police theme running for Lot Item 86, a 1967 Plymouth Fury I four-door Police Pursuit. Usually the Fury I (the lowest member of the Fury I, II, and III hierarchy) is a bland family machine with 318 two-barrel motivation and Disney World stickers on the rear bumper, but that’s not the case when the VIN has the letter “K” in the second spot. That’s the series code for the police package. (Codes E, L, H, M, and S appear on “family grade” Fury models, and “T” marks a taxi.) As a Police unit, this Fury I has the same 11-inch drum brakes as a Hemi GTX plus specific heavy-duty suspension, ball joints, and driveshaft. And you must love those fleet/police/taxi 15×5.5 steel wheels with their unique tab-type hub cap retainers, which wear the same generic chrome dome hub caps used on Mopar police and taxi models since 1948.
Popping the myth that all cop cars pack the hottest ammunition under hood, this one has the midlevel G-code 383 two-barrel backed by a heavy-duty 727 Torqueflite. It may be a four-door barge, but make no mistake, this K-code Plymouth squad car is much more than meets the eye. We especially dig the “Special Order” fender tag! You should, too.
1962 Dodge Police Car
Another early Mopar wearing those austere 15×5.5 wheels with hub cap clips, this 1962 Dodge Dart four-door has the all-important “9” in the second spot of the VIN. As with the 1959 Dodge Coronet Police Pursuit (Lot Item 66 in this auction), the “9” tells us this low-option four-door is a “special” series, i.e. built for police service. On lesser Dart models, this spot contains code 10 (fleet), 8 (taxi), 4 (Polara 500), 3 (Dart 440), or 2 (Dart 330). This 1962 Dart holds a special place in police car lore. Because these 1962 Darts (and their Plymouth Savoy cousins) were based on Chrysler’s all-new 1962 downsized B-Body platform, law enforcement agencies initially balked at the much smaller vehicles and longed for the larger 19601961 Dodge police models. In mid-1962, Dodge released the 1962-1/2 Custom 880 (a 1962 Chrysler Windsor with a 1961 Dodge front clip) to soothe the aches, but Dodge also continued with these midsize B-Body cop cars, and this one packs the base 318ci poly V-8 with a two-barrel carb and new-for-’62 all-aluminum 727 push-button Torqueflite automatic. This may not be the Dart’s top-dog 361ci four-barrel, but otherwise it’s cop city all the way with a heavy-duty Leece-Neville 100-amp alternator with dual belt drive to supply the juice needed to run the radio and lights.
Inside, there’s heavy-duty bench seating, a factory radio-delete plate, and a super-rare 120-mph certified speedometer. Although its sheetmetal is ultra-clean and Max Wedge restorers might be tempted to pull this one apart so a Maxie (or Maxie clone) might live, that’d be a shame. These cop cars simply don’t exist anymore, except here. It’s Lot Item 142.
1961 Dodge Lancer “Shorty” Station Wagon
Your eyes don’t deceive you. This 1961 Dodge Lancer wagon (Lot Number 102) is much shorter than usual. Long ago someone with fairly strong skills transformed this four-door wagon into a pert little two-door. A close look at the surgery zone reveals minimal scars. Inside, several inches of pure Texas prairie dust coat everything, but not so much that you can’t make out the odd mix of a clutch pedal and empty Torqueflite push-button panel to the left of the steering wheel. We’ll guess it was born a Torqueflite but the funsters swapped in a floor-shifted manual along the way. Under the hood, the slant-six and transmission are missing, but a dual-circuit manual brake master cylinder hints that someone did the upgrade years ago. It’s an oddball, and it deserves to live again! Best of all, the custom-length shorty driveshaft sits on the floor inside! This first-year Lancer is one of 74,773 built that year, of which only 9,700 were station wagons.
1959 Plymouth Sport Fury
The Fury arrived in 1956 as Plymouth’s first-ever high-performance image car—some would say it’s a muscle car. By 1959, after three years as a two-door-only fun machine, Plymouth demoted the Fury nameplate by adding four doors and wagons and allowing base V-8 engines into the mix (but no sixes yet). But when you add “Sport” to Fury (as Plymouth did for 1959), you get Lot Item 126, a 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury fastback. Also offered in convertible form (but no four-doors or wagons in ’59), the Sport Fury could be had with the base 230-horsepower 318 two-barrel poly mill, but also often had the extra-cost four-barrel 318 for 260 horses or big-block 361 Golden Commando with a single Carter AFB and 305 horsies.
The engine bay is empty on this one, but the three-speed push-button Torqueflite automatic remains, as does the factory-installed dual exhaust, indicators it was a four-barrel car of either the 318 or 361 variety. Beyond all that, the Exner-schemed Forward Look body is nearly mint and retains much of the impossible-to-find trim. We can see this one with an 8.4-liter Viper V-10, a tube frame, and a big, shiny Riddler Award trophy. All it needs is you. Of the 23,857 Sport Furys built in 1959, 17,867 were two-door fastbacks like this. The rest were convertibles (don’t you dare!).
1964 Plymouth Belvedere Sedan
This one is sad. At first it seems to be a nearly pristine 1964 Plymouth Belvedere post sedan, the stuff of Max Wedge and A864 Race Hemi clone dreams. That it is, until you realize it was rolled over on its side many moons ago. The folded front fender, lightly scuffed roof, and wrinkled quarter panel once bore the weight usually carried by the tires. But that was then. Today, these 196265 “post sedans” are in such demand folks are taking four-doors and transforming them into two-doors. Suddenly fixing this roll-over doesn’t seem so bad. It was born with a 318 poly and push-button Torqueflite with the usual bench seat interior associated with these midlevel B-Bodies. But that less-is-more vibe played (and still plays) perfectly into the factory Super Stock scheme. This thing is super solid underneath with none of the thick rust normally associated with these relics. Of the 93,529 Belvederes built in 1964, just 5,364 were two-door post sedans like this. It’s so original it still has its (final-year) two-piece axle 8-3/4 rear end and ball-and-trunion driveshaft. This thing so deserves to be reborn into a Race Hemi clone. It’s Lot Item 89.
1964 Dodge Polara 500
While we’re in a Super Stock mood, let’s examine Lot Item 111, a 1964 Dodge Polara 500. Although it lacks the less-is-more sedan roof configuration, these sleeker hardtops have their place in the 426 Max Wedge/Race Hemi firmament. And while this top-tier Polara 500’s factory-installed air conditioning, power brakes, and power steering run against the austere vibe of the hardcore aluminum-paneled factory lightweights, it’s still a cool machine worthy of revival. The big deal here is the “500” part of the Polara 500 nameplate. As in 1962 and 1963, the Polara 500 was Dodge’s sportiest offering and included then-exotic interior goodies like bucket seats and a center console with a floor-mounted shifter. It’s all still here, plus the rare option of power windows, a $102 upcharge back in the day.
There’s no engine in this one, so it’s ready for your 512ci stroker, Max Wedge cross-ram intake manifold, Max Wedge exhaust manifolds, and Max Wedge exhaust system, with those crazy bolt-on dump caps. Heck, it even has a set of skinny 15×4.5 Cragar SS wheels up front. Of the 64,900 Polaras built in 1964, just 18,400 were Polara 500s with the sexy “sports car” bucket seat gut. And remember, like everything in this auction, it sells at no reserve!
1956 Chrysler Industrial Generator
You’ve probably seen pictures of those bright red Chrysler air raid sirens used back in the Cold War to warn us to “duck and cover” if cold turned hot and the Ruskie missiles flew. Well this is yet another item in the Chrysler Industrial catalog, a portable synchronous electric generator. Although the ultra-duty EM (Electric Machinery Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota) generator is of interest to historians of commercial, construction, and welding equipment, it’s the Chrysler Hemi attached to it that’s got us amped up. Since 1931, Chrysler’s Marine and Industrial Division (the Marine part actually started in 1927) has offered a broad range of engines for use in tractors, fire pumps, cement mixers, street sweepers, forklift trucks, welders, irrigation pumps, air compressors, portable sawmills, motor homes, cranes, shovels, and many other devices not usually associated with road vehicles. And while most of these engines were built more for endurance than high horsepower, the mighty Fire Power Hemi was often tasked in the game.
This unit is Lot Item 300, an appropriate number because of its interest to owners and restorers of Chrysler’s Hemi-powered 300 letter car series of 19551958 (as well as first-gen Hemi hot rodders). For added rpm capability, these letter car 300s (1955 C300, 1956 300-B, 1957 300-C, and 1958 300-D) got solid lifters in place of the hydraulic lifters used on the other 90 percent of the 331, 354, and 392 Hemis. Well, it just so happens that these same solid lifters, and the all-important adjustable rocker arms that go with them, are used in most Chrysler Industrial Hemis. The small clearance bumps seen between the spark plug tube holes seen in the picture are the tip-off that rare and vital adjustable rocker arms lurk within. Today, these adjustable rocker arms are worth literally thousands of dollars to builders of hopped-up early Hemis because of their scarcity. It’s a bit sad to predict, but most likely this nifty 354 Hemi-powered generator will be purchased solely for its rocker arms by a well-grounded, positive individual. Zap!
1967 Dodge Coronet
Not so long ago, we wouldn’t have looked twice at a car like Lot Item 87, this 1967 Dodge Coronet four-door sedan. But again, the passage of time has revived interest in cars like this. To older viewers who recall them when they were either new or just used cars sitting in high-school parking lots, eyes immediately focused on the front fender emblems where three possible castings existed, “V8”, “383 Four Barrel” or “426 Hemi” (no emblem signified “lowly” Slant Six anti-status). Here we see the “V8,” which more often than not designated the boring 273 or 318 2-barrel LA series small-block. But that wasn’t always the case. Here, the fifth spot of the VIN shows the letter G; this is a 383 two-barrel car! Perched just below the 325-horsepower 383 four-barrel, the 270-horsepower 383 got a single Carter BBD two-barrel carb, 9.2:1 compression, single exhaust, and a milder cam. Note how the bottoms of the rear quarter panels are thin, crisp, and straight. There’s no Bondo in this one, and goodies include power steering, factory air conditioning, and manual drum brakes. Swap a Carter AFB in place of the twin throat, tidy up the bent grille, and this will be one heck of a daily driver for much less than any two-door!
1962 Plymouth Savoy
When new, the 1962 Plymouth and Dodge styling drew criticism from most observers. One critic called it the “plucked chicken look” wherein the shape of the underlying bones was covered by tightly stretched skin. And when compared to a same-year Chevy Impala “bubble top” or Ford Galaxie (with its formal T-Bird roof) the Mopars were certainly in a different league. But time has healed the wounds and now we recognize the 1962 B-Body Mopars as the beginning of a winning recipe of light unitized construction. Then there were the optional engines. As if the 361 four-barrel and very rare dual-quad 383/343 weren’t potent enough, the mighty 413 Max Wedge arrived with its outrageous cross-ram induction, streamlined cast-iron exhaust manifolds, and real-deal dump-cap dual exhaust system. Rated at 410 horsepower, these “orange monsters” fed power to either an antiquated Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed with floor shift or the ultra-modern all-aluminum 727 Torqueflite automatic with push-button shift controls. Instant low-13 second e.t.s resulted on street tires, and the legend was born.
Selling as Lot Item 98, this 1962 Plymouth Savoy was born with the 225 slant-six and a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission, the opposite of a Max Wedge Super Stocker. But that can be changed. A close inspection reveals minimal surface rust, let’s call it a “Texas sun tan.” The interior is gutted, but the vertical plastic parking brake lever delete cover (used on three-speed manual cars) is still present. This 1962 Plymouth Savoy two-door sedan (with the all-important less-is-more full door frames and fixed B-pillar) is one of 18,825 built. Although records are not perfect, educated sources say somewhere around 300 413 Max Wedges went into these Plymouths (plus a reported 210 Dodge Maxies in ’62). Why not build a clone? The raw material is right here.
1957 Plymouth Plaza Hemi Hot Rod
All new for 1957, this “Forward Look” Plymouth Plaza is one of the most interesting hot rods in the collection. Born a base-level Plaza with either the 277, 301, or 318ci polyspherical head V-8, it now packs something no Plymouth could have until 1964: a Hemi. Swapped in by a sneaky hot rodder at some point in the car’s history, a Chrysler Hemi of unknown displacement now lurks beneath Virgil Exner’s slick pancake-style hood. The best guess is that it’s a 354 or a 392 from a non-300 application because the rocker covers lack any Fire Power, Imperial, Industrial, or Marine markings and are also devoid of the clearance humps needed for adjustable rocker arms. We couldn’t see the machined pad at the front of the block, so exact displacement/origins are unknown. But what is known is that an aftermarket aluminum intake manifold packs a pair of Edelbrock four-barrels.
This lowly Plaza has the heart of a 300! Inside, the base bench seat interior packs another major surprise. Instead of the hefty, sluggish cast-iron automatic, a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission connects to the original style nut-and-cotter-pin rear axle. This thing is a super sleeper masquerading as a 230-cube flathead six on the outside but packing an easy-breathing hemispherical V-8. This thing could have rewritten the American Graffiti script. Like most of the offerings in the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction event, it’s super clean and solid. Park this baby in front of the sock hop then collect pink slips later. It’s Lot Item 67.
1959 Plymouth Custom Suburban Station Wagon
Chevrolet was first to use the Suburban nameplate, but we can’t forget that Plymouth shared it for use on certain station wagons, like Lot Item number 279, this 1959 Plymouth Custom Suburban two-door station wagon. One of only 1,852 made, it’s got the standard 230-horsepower polyspherical-headed 318 V-8 backed by the $189 Powerflite two-speed automatic. Otherwise, it’s basic with manual steering, brakes, and windows. One splurge item inside is the original AM push-button radio, a $59 extravagance. With its extremely uncommon two-door body configuration, this one is begging for a fun-oriented beach-cruiser restomod conversion with a third-gen 6.4 Hemi, four-wheel disc brakes, and air conditioning.
1966 Dodge Coronet 500
Although the late John Haynie’s tastes leaned more toward finned ’50s Mopars, he also appreciated his fair share of ’60s iron, like this 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 hardtop. Lot item 257, it’s super solid with excellent quarter panels, front fenders, and trunk floor. The first year for Dodge’s redesigned B-Body undercarriage and more angular body lines, the mighty Coronet R/T would sprout from its bones a year later.
This one has the G-code 383 two-barrel big-block backed by a console-shifted 727 Torqueflite and is loaded with power drum brakes, power steering, and factory air conditioning. Sweet mid-’70s road wheels with trim rings add some spice. Under the hood, amid decades worth of accumulated rodent apartments, is the 383 with its intake manifold and driver-side rocker arms missing. The orange paint on the engine suggests it’s been rebuilt and probably hopped up a bit along the way. Like the rest of the hoard, it’ll need a total revisit of mechanical systems and a major hose-out before driving resumes, but what a solid example it is in this world of rust buckets and rebuilt wrecks.
1960 Plymouth Fury Crash Car
This 1960 Plymouth Fury four-door is Lot Item 110. It may not seem like much, but without it, the rest of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard wouldn’t exist. That’s because John Haynie was a huge fan of Stephen King’s 1983 novel and movie “Christine. “You know, the one about the demonically possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury? Haynie was so impressed with the feature film he bought this very Plymouth. It isn’t a ’58, but the general Exner-era wonderful weirdness is still in full bloom. One day, Haynie was driving along in this one when blam, it crashed. Haynie wasn’t badly hurt, but he was briefly trapped by the crumpled steering column (note the deformed cowl). It’s a basic 318 two-barrel with a push-button automatic. And while the entire nose is gone, its radical twin-boom tail fins are nearly mint and rust free. Buy it as a memorial to John Haynie’s good taste in gathering these treasures, or slice off the fins and build that Man Cave couch you’ve been dreaming of.
1960 Plymouth Plaza
Here’s another 1960 Plymouth, but it’s from the opposite end of the price structure. It’s a low-line Plaza four-door sedan with the first-year 225ci slant-six and first-year aluminum-case 904 Torqueflite automatic transmission. It’s Lot Item 201 and as a 1960 represents the first year for Chrysler Corporation’s big switch from body-on-frame architecture to semi-unitized construction, where everything from the firewall back is an envelope of metal. The front clip is still of the bolt-on nature, kind of like a 1966-up Chevy Nova or any 19671981 Camaro. Another cool detail is how for 1960 only the 225ci slant-six got a sweet aluminum intake manifold. From 1961 through the mid-’70s, slant-six intake manifolds (except the rare Hyper-Pak four-barrel of 19601962) were bulky cast iron. Like most of the Great Texas Hoard, this finned flyer is very solid, and the surface rust on the body is exactly that, on the surface.
1964 Plymouth Fury Body Shell
Speaking of unitized body construction, this 1964 Plymouth Fury two-door hardtop has had its inner fender walls sliced away, leaving the lower frame rails exposed. The nose is missing, but just look at those sweet, clean rear quarter panels. Born a 225ci slant-six car with a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission and factory air conditioning, this puppy is begging to be reborn as an altered-wheelbase Match Basher. Not feeling that? OK, how about a clone of King Richard Petty’s Daytona-dominating No. 43 NASCAR racer? Either way, it’s packed with potential and is so original it still has the headache-inducing two-piece rear axles stuffed within the 8-3/4 rear end. It’s Lot Item 288, and it’s a good one!
1970 Dodge D-100 Pickup Truck
Texans love their pickup trucks, and this 1970 Dodge D-100 is something very special. It’s Lot Item 259, and what sets it apart is the factory-optional 383ci big-block and sporty bright yellow paint. Let’s remember, as far back as 1964 Dodge was building muscle trucks like the 426 wedge-powered Custom Sports Special, which came with special traction bars to tame axle hop, a full 14 years before the Little Red Express appeared in 1978.
The 199-horsepower (as listed on the metal trim tag) 383 two-barrel V-8 is missing, but its water pump, alternator brackets, center-dump exhaust manifolds, air cleaner, and other miscellaneous goodies sit on the cab floor. Built with a 3.23:1 axle ratio (Sure Grip status is unknown) and manual drum brakes and steering, factory options include air conditioning, an AM radio, and a column-shifted 727 automatic transmission. The plastic Jiffy Jet windshield washer reservoir still hangs from the underhood bracket, and the body has the usual minor dents and scrapes plus some early-stage rust-through along the roof rain trough. As interest in all early pickup trucks continues to blossom, unmolested “cores” like this are less easily found.
1981 Plymouth Gran Fury Police Package
In 1996, a survey was taken of 200 city, county, state police, and highway patrol departments seeking the most popular Mopar squad car of all time. The winner, surprisingly, was not the mighty 440 Magnumpowered 1969 Dodge Polara Pursuit, but rather the 19791980 Dodge St. Regis/Plymouth Gran Fury. Despite the smaller E58 small-block 360 V-8, cops loved these R-Body cruisers for their combo of good handling, excellent brakes, and massive interior volume. This 1981 Plymouth Gran Fury Police Package is Lot Item 60 and is one of the herd, but with an exception. While it’s got the same extra body welds, rubber floormats, heavy-duty front bucket seats, and supreme brakes and suspension, federal smog laws canceled the 360 for 1981. This left the E48 heavy-duty 318ci four-barrel as the top dog, and we do mean dog.
Much to the cops’ surprise, top speed was just 115 mph, and bad guys easily got away. The E58’s dual exhaust was gone, as well, replaced by a single tail pipe fed by a catalyst-equipped smog system replete with air injection, EGR, and all the other stuff associated with smog-era V-8s. Some 41 years later, these items make cars like Lot Item 60 more interesting. As the last year for full-size R-Body Mopar squad cars, this 1981 Gran Fury is special.
1988 Plymouth Gran Fury Ohio State Highway Patrol Car
We don’t know how the late John Haynie did it, but this 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury AHB (Police package) still has the lights, siren, and graphics it wore when it was an active Ohio State Highway Patrol unit three decades ago. Typically (by law, actually), this stuff has to be scrubbed clean before these cars are sold to the public at fleet auction. But here it is, complete with the certified 125-mph speedometer, full gauge package, and supplemental mechanical oil pressure gauge installed by the Ohio fleet garage. Other goodies include the M.P.H. Industries K55 radar unit, Federal Signal Corporation Interceptor radio and siren controller, General Electric tuning equipment, and Jet-Sonic roof-mounted emergency lights.
Under the hood is the expected ELE-code 318ci small-block V-8 equipped with a Rochester Quadra-Jet four-barrel making 175 net horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. Despite the meager rating, in the 1988 Michigan State Police performance test, the Gran Fury AHB did 060 in 11.6 seconds (the Ford 55H Crown Victoria did it in 11.9, Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 took 10.6) and topped out at 117 mph (the same as the Ford 55H and 1 mph faster than the Chevy 9C1). By contrast, Ford’s rule-bending Mustang SSP cranked 060 in 6.9 seconds and topped out at 134 mph. As the lone rear-drive offering from Chrysler Corporation’s all-front-wheel-drive era, this ’88 Gran Fury AHB police unit deserves respect, and a place in someone’s collection.
Plymouth Fury I Police Model
This 1970 Plymouth Fury I two-door sedan is Lot Item 273, and it’s a real oddball. First off, it’s a rarely seen Fury two-door sedan. Dig the fixed B-pillar; most two-door Furys were sleek hardtops of the Sport Fury and Sport Fury GT personal luxury variety, and this is a police unit. (The “K” in the second place of the PK21G0D268130 VIN is the police code.) A two-door police car—did they make them? Sure! It’s often forgotten that since the advent of high-speed interstates and freeways in the early 1950s, law enforcement agencies deployed light, inexpensive V-8-powered two-door models to “intercept” speeders. Because issuing speeding tickets was the main task (not arresting hardened criminals), there was no need for a back seat or a second set of doors. In today’s world of SUVs and crossovers, the popularity of two-door police cars is nonexistent. This one is fairly typical with its G-code (fifth spot of VIN) 318 two-barrel small-block. Its red-and-white paint scheme suggests it was a fire department unit and not a high-speed interceptor. According to the fender tag, options include B41 power front disc brakes, a D36 heavy-duty Torqueflite transmission, an F15 75-amp alternator (it’s massive!), an F36 Unity articulated A-pillar spotlight, F38 roof light reinforcement, and Y39 special order (with a second fender tag stamped “special order”). That’s the good news. The bad news is the 1973 Michigan license plate found inside the car. Having spent at least three years in the rust belt, the rear quarter panels have been repaired with plenty of plastic body filler, and rust-through has blossomed around the rear window. Inside, the cool 140-mph-certified speedometer and fleet-spec rubber floor complete the cop vibe, but the non-breathing floormat has probably trapped plenty of moisture and fostered rusty floors. With only 2,353 of these lowly Fury two-door pillar coupes built in 1970, we can assume that only a splinter of that total are PK21 law enforcement units. It’s rare, it’s rusty, but it deserves to live on.
This leaves me curious—do those laws apply to this auction, as well? Would someone bidding on this risk legal complications with the associated LEO hardware? Or is it old enough that no one would care?
It’s July, Mopar® fanatics, and that means The great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event is getting closer. Mark your calendars for October 13th when over 250 vintage, classic and special interest vehicles will be auctioned off at no reserve in this online-only sales event. Then on the next day, October 14th, another online-only, no reserve auction will be held for the thousands of items of parts, tools, dealership sales materials and automobilia that once made up the estate of John Haynie, a Texas-based Mopar lover and collector who passed away, leaving all of this behind.
Though we mourn the passing of Mr. Haynie, his estate is excited to see his prized possessions get back into circulation with the collector community, and we’re sure the late John Haynie would agree. Facilitating this sale is Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions, a unit of Assiter Auctioneers. If the name Spanky Assiter is familiar, that’s because he was the lead auctioneer for the esteemed Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction company for over a decade. In fact, you may even recall Spanky’s wife Amy shouting excitedly advancing bids between bidders and the auctioneer during hundreds of hours of live TV coverage.
Spanky, Amy and the rest of the Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions team are preparing for a massive – perhaps record-breaking – online auction event this coming October 13thand 14th. Be there! Until then, let’s continue our preview with another five delectable vintage Chrysler products that “could be yours” if the bid is right! –Steve Magnante
After so much attention being given to Dodge’s muscle cars, it’s easy to forget the full-size Dodge vehicles for 1967. Sold as Polaras and Monacos, they accounted for just 8.0% and 5.6% of Dodge sales volume that year. By contrast, the major sellers were the mid-size Coronet (44.9% of sales volume) and compact Dart (37.6% of sales volume). Though these big Dodge vehicles handily outsold the sporty Charger (just 3.9% of all Dodge vehicles sold in 1967 were Chargers), today it’s nearly impossible to find a surviving Polara or Monaco.
That’s what makes Lot 146 so important. A very solid California car (with its original “black plate” still present), it’s got the upscale 4-door hardtop body type without the usual fixed door pillar and full window frames found on sedans, a detail that added $110 to the Polara Sedan’s $2,918 base list price. Packing the base 383 2-barrel big block V8, extra cost options found on this example include the $183 TorqueFlite®automatic transmission, $16 power-assisted drum brakes, $311 air conditioning and factory radio. Sporting a recent re-spray in the original WWI White color, the trunk floor is as solid as the body and the grille, bumpers and tail light areas are nearly perfect. Though not a big gun muscle car, what’s to stop you from installing a Mopar Performance 472 HEMI® crate engine and surprising the Charger and Super Bee set?https://www.youtube.com/embed/q-FPu3bfyx0
1962 DART 330 POLICE: LOT #142
Now here’s something very special! Beyond the fact Lot 142 is an example of Dodge’s first mid-size B-Body – which quickly morphed to support classics like the Charger R/T and Super Bee – this 1962 Dodge Dart 330 is a cop car! As proven by the “9” in the second spot of the VIN, for 1962, Dodge offered four levels of potency; the “Highway Patrol”, “General Purpose Patrol”, “Municipal Partol” and “Public Safety”. While the “Highway Patrol” was marketed by Dodge for “jobs that call for rubber-burning acceleration, rapid interception and continuous high speed operation…where man and machine seldom get a chance to cool off,” this one is a General Purpose Patrol unit with the 318 2-barrel polyspherical V8.
Though not the sexy 318 4-barrel or top-tier 361 4-barrel big block (the 383 was on vacation until 1963), the rest of this one is pure, no-nonsense police material. From the extra-duty 3-row radiator, manual 11-inch drum brakes, manual steering, front sway bar, extra-leaf rear springs, heavy-duty 15×5.5 fleet wheels with clip-on hub caps for better retention at high speed, double-pulley fan belt, massive Leece-Neville alternator, heavy-duty push-button TorqueFlite automatic transmission, radio delete plate on the dash and – the “POLICE de resistance” – a certified 120 MPH speedometer for “court admissibility”, this is a true life police car!
Knowing that these “fleet specials” were driven hard until reaching their mandatory retirement date (typically 80,000 miles), buyers from the private sector were few and far between when they were disbursed at auction. If a taxi company didn’t snap them up for a few final years of unsavory usage before scrapping, they often sold to hot rodders who scavenged the heavy-duty parts and junked the empty shell. We dare say this might be the sleeper of the auction. Smart bidders will lurk and pounce on this incredibly rare offering!
Unlike Dodge passenger cars from the same time period, which enjoyed fairly obvious year-to-year styling changes that make them easy to tell apart, Dodge trucks from the 1948-1956 era kinda look the same to the untrained eye. But we know better, right? This is Lot 141, a 1954 C-series half-ton step-side pickup. We know it’s a 1954 because it has a one-piece windshield that’s different from the two-piece 1953 windshield and the 1955 wrap-around windshield. The 1954 grille also went from a rectangular outline to a trapezoidal form.
Beyond all that, this ’54 is very significant thanks to the V8 emblem on the nose. Before 1954, Dodge’s ground-breaking Red Ram HEMI V8 – which was introduced in 1953 – was offered only in passenger cars. But then in 1954, the Dodge Truck Division was granted access to this exciting new development. But at first, the 145-horsepower 241-cube Red Ram HEMI – some fifty percent more powerful than the 100-horsepower flathead sixes offered before – was only offered in medium- and heavy-duty 1 to 5 ton trucks, buyers of ½ and ¾ ton pickups were stuck with the six.
Then, in August of 1954, the HEMI floodgates opened and the mighty Red Ram HEMI was offered in smaller half-ton step-side pickups – like this one. Before going into further detail, let’s remember that when Dodge’s all-new third-generation 5.7-liter “Hemi Magnum” V8 arrived in 2001 (for the 2002 model year), it too was initially restricted only to large and hefty Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 trucks. Buyers of more sporty Ram 1500s had to wait until the following model run to gain access to the sweet 345-horsepower 5.7 HEMI engine. So there’s a familiar ring to the initial Rad Ram HEMI story presented here!
Ok, getting back to business, as the walk-around video indicates, the cab, step-side bed and front fenders are all extremely well preserved without any perforation or structural rust. Though the original 241 Red Ram HEMI (a $120 upcharge over the base 217-cube, 100-horsepower inline six) and column-shifted three-speed manual transmission are missing, the rest of this amazing Texas time capsule is accounted for and ready for rescue. As an example of Dodge’s first-ever V8 pickup truck, there is a ton of historical value sitting on its half-ton chassis.
The 1960 model year was important for all of Chrysler Corporation and Lot 140, a 1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer, is a perfect example of the breed. While younger folks may assume the Dart name first appeared in 1963 aboard Dodge’s replacement for the A-body 1961-62 Lancer, the name actually debuted on a mass-produced offering right here.
To cover the marketplace, the Dart was offered in three series: the Dart Seneca, Dart Pioneer and Dart Phoenix. Above them were the Matador and Polara, which shared basic items but with specific differences – but were not part of the Dart line.
The body-on-frame construction technique used in 1959 gave way to semi-unitized construction for all 1960 Dodge cars wherein the body shell from the fire wall to the back bumper was a one-piece item with the frame rails and suspension attachment points welded to the floor pan. The front suspension and sheet metal was another bolt-on unit that attached under the floor and jutted forward. This semi-unitized design differed from the fully-unitized configuration employed on the compact 1960 Valiant / 1961 Lancer (A-body) and mid-size 1962 Dart 330 (B-body) which had their front inner fenders and frame rails welded to the cowl to make a one-piece body shell from the radiator wall to the tail light panel.
Both forms of unitized construction (“semi” and “fully”) were rugged, light – and susceptible to rust after exposure to salted winter roads. By the mid-1960s most of these cars were rusted beyond salvation and with their wild, space-age styling being out of step with the pony car craze, few people cared enough to rescue them.
But now, some six decades later, they’ve become red hot among collectors, restorers and customizers. This 1960 Dart Pioneer (Lot 140) has the graceful fastback greenhouse configuration with its smart “reverse angle” B-pillar base which would reappear on the 1963 compact-size A-body Dart through 1966. We mention this styling quirk so folks who think BMW’s styling chief Wilhelm Hofmeister was the first to use the theme (on the 1962 “Neue Klasse” BMW1500’s “Hofmeister kink”) can think again.
Best of all for Lot 140 is how complete it is, including the ultra-rare unsilenced air cleaner atop its so-called Ram Fire 383 4-barrel big block V8. As the pictures show, the three-piece Ram Fire 383 air cleaner has a round base plate, open-element filter unit and very unique circular lid with a non-concentric secondary circular region stamped in place at the leading end. This is where an adhesive-backed engine call-out logo would go. Today, this unique air cleaner stands as one of the rarest Mopar single 4-barrel air cleaner designs, and it’s still present! The only thing hotter than this 383 4-barrel would have been the Ram Induction D-500 383 with its twin Carter AFB’s criss-crossing the block. At an extra $418, very few were built.
And while the exterior body panels are very solid, the floors are in need of rust repair, as are a handful of localized areas on the quarter panels and elsewhere. Other options include power drum brakes and steering. Inside, the factory AM radio, push button TorqueFlite automatic transmission, “rib raker” dash top-mounted rearview mirror and front bench seat all remain in place. Purists will want to see this rarity restored to perfection. Customizers will see beyond the showroom floor, enhancing the graceful sloping fastback roofline by chopping away an inch or two and setting it atop a custom Viper frame with massive V10 power feeding all four wheels.
But before any of this can happen, some lucky bidder has to cast the highest bid…
The mighty Chrysler 300 ceased to be known as a “letter car” after 1962 when the 300 Sport series was added to capture the excitement of the full-sized 300 muscle machines without the mechanical distress of adjusting solid lifters, tuning dual carburetors and coping with a harsh ride. We love that stuff, but some folks didn’t. As proof, a mere 400 300-Js were sold versus 24,665 of the watered down 300 Sports.
This 1963 Chrysler 300 Sport (Lot 139) has the desirable 2-door hardtop body style (a less sporty 4-door was offered) but lacks the dual carburetor 413 of the 300J. But again, that’s ok and while we couldn’t get the hood to open (we never force stubborn latches or hinges on vehicles we don’t own), inside we discovered a big block rocker arm shaft with the stamped steel (non-adjustable) rocker arms and separate cast aluminum rocker arm stands used for the final time in 1963. Also discovered inside was an unsilenced single 4-barrel air cleaner lid and base indicating this one was ordered new with the optional 413 big block, a mid-point engine offering between the base 300 Sport’s 383 2-barrel and the 300-J’s ram inducted, solid lifter 413. Out back, a set of factory dual exhaust tailpipes support the 413 premise.
Inside, bucket seats and a center console add some sport to this 300 Sport while the factory push button AM radio remains in place. Speaking of buttons, to the left of the steering wheel are the exotic TorqueFlite automatic transmission’s controls set next to a 120 MPH speedometer (the 300-J speedometer read to 150 MPH). With minimal body rust, this 1963 Chrysler 300 Sport 2-door hardtop is ready for resurrection.
Ok, that’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event, which will proceed on October 13th and 14th of this year. Go to Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions and the Steve Magnante YouTube channel to learn more and see the rest of this amazing 250-plus vehicle hoard. Next week, we’ll be back with another preview that’ll include something with the rare two-door, big block taxi!
It’s official! The dates for the Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event have been set! The 250-plus project cars will all sell on October 13th and the parts, tools and automobilia will sell on October 14th. And remember, this is an online-only auction. All vehicles and parts are located in Texas and will need to be transported to their new owners’ homes after the auction. But that’s an easy matter and Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions is all set to help arrange shipping and freight activities with major auto transport companies who are standing ready with dozens of big rigs.
Another major detail about the Great Texas Mopar Auction Event is that every single item will be sold at no reserve. If you’re new to the auction world, a “reserve” is when the seller (consignor) seeks to protect his or her items from unrealistically low bids by placing a “reserve”. This way, if a certain assumed value isn’t reached during bidding, the item is protected and doesn’t sell as it “fails to meet the reserve”.
Well, Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions and the estate of the late John Haynie are willing to roll the dice and let the chips fall where they may by eliminating the reserve. The ultimate goal of the event is to get these fantastic vehicles back into circulation. The late John Haynie did the world a huge favor by hoarding these classics. But now that he’s moved on, they deserve to find caring homes and new lives on the open road – or car show circuit – as the case may be.
No doubt, many bidders will come away with exceptional values. That’s the nature – and thrill – of no-reserve auctions. And that’s why this event is sure to make collector car history. You can’t afford to miss it!
So until the October 13th vehicle auction (again, the massive parts, tools and automobilia collection will sell the next day, on October 14th), let’s preview more of the 250-plus vehicles that make up the Great Texas Mopar Auction Event.
1956 marked the second year of Virgil Exner’s influence on body styling as lower and wider bodies replaced the boxy, upright designs of 1954 and before. This 1956 Dodge Royal Lancer wears the regional Texan trim package. Its one of just 289 Texans built to help Texas Dodge dealers stimulate showroom traffic. A beautiful restoration on a solid rust-free platform, it packs the 315-cubic-inch Red Ram polyspherical V8, with a two-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust, the two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission – with first-year push button controls and manual drum brakes with manual steering. Other goodies include optional Motor Wheel 15×5.5 chromed wire wheels and modern air conditioning added on for comfortable summer cruising. Of the 48,780 Dodge Royals built in 1956, only 289 were built with the Texan package. This beauty has been shown and comes with a sign board describing its rarity. Click on the video link for a fun walk-around.
John Haynie liked police cars. After all, most of them are basically muscle cars with a second set of doors – and a badge. This 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury is something special. While most law enforcement agencies scrub away all traces of their former identity before selling used cruisers at public auction, somehow this former Ohio State Patrol AHB (Plymouth’s code for police equipment in 1988) unit escaped into Haynie’s hands in complete condition! That means it’s still got the M.P.H. Industries K55 radar unit, Federal Signal Corporation “Interceptor” radio and siren controller, General Electric tuning equipment and Jet-Sonic roof-mounted emergency lights. Usually, police car collectors pay a fortune to reunite this type of equipment with former cruisers. Not here, it’s still present! Though 1988 police models lacked the 360s and 440s of earlier Mopar squad cars, the ELE code 318 in this one made 175 horsepower and was the hottest rear-wheel-drive offering in Plymouth’s otherwise mostly front-wheel-drive lineup of the late 1980s. It’s also got the AHB-spec certified 125-mph speedometer, full gauge package – plus a supplemental mechanical oil pressure gauge installed by the Ohio fleet garage. As a last-gasp rear-drive police model (1989 marked the final year for Gran Fury police units), it deserves a special place in someone’s collection. And yes, it comes with the magnetic “out of service” body banners you’ll need for street driving. See more by clicking the video link.
Another 1956 Dodge vehicle, like the Texan (Lot Number 154), this one is a Royal, the middle trim level between the entry-level Coronet and top-tier Custom Royal. Like the Texan, this recently painted example packs the Red Ram polyspherical head V8 with a two-barrel carburetor (with either 270 or 315 cubes, exact size is unknown) backed by the two-speed Powerflite push button automatic transmission. But unlike the Texan, this one is a little less ready for the road because its rear window glass is removed and an in-process headliner installation hangs from the interior roof. We’re told the glass and trim are included. A magnet test reveals solid outer body skin and serviceable two-tone plum and black paint. This 1956 rides on Dodge’s final-edition coil spring front suspension (torsion bars replaced them in ’57) and has first-year 12-volt electricals to better run the headlamps and original equipment AM radio. It’s clean and needs only a few days’ effort to be back on the cruise circuit. Watch the walk-around video by clicking the link.
The 1959 Dodge vehicles wore some of Detroit’s most sinister grille styling. Sweeping “brows” over the quad headlamps gave every ’59 Dodge a sinister vibe, which some have called a “nightmare in steel”, especially when viewed in your rearview mirror as one accelerates to pass. And that’s cool … if you ask us. But while top-level power came from the new 383-cubic-inch wedge with optional Super D500 dual quad induction, this humble Coronet four-door sedan has the base 318 polyspherical head V8 with a single two-barrel. But inside, where the typical push-button pod would go to the left of the steering wheel, this one has the less-is-more column-shifted three-speed manual gearbox! That’s important because of the 151,851 Dodge passenger cars built in 1959, just six percent had manual transmissions (the other 94 percent were automatics). Sporting solid and rust-free front fenders – a rarity, especially where the headlamp “brows” tended to rust through within a few years – the rest of the body is equally sweet, though a few small patches are visible on the trunk floor. Though its been dormant for a few years and likely needs a brake and coolant system flush before use, this humble yet sinister family sedan awaits your commands. The video link has more info on this amazing survivor.
It’s often forgotten that Chrysler came close to offering the 426 Street HEMI® engine in full-size C-body Fury models in 1965 as a way to get NASCAR to accept the mighty HEMI engine for sanctioned competition. In fact, a handful of home-brewed, non-factory HEMI C-bodies campaigned in 1965. This 1965 Plymouth Fury II has the base level two-door pillar sedan body style and would make an ideal starting point for a “what-if” 1965 Street HEMI phantom build. Originally built with the 318 polyspherical head V8 and TorqueFlite® automatic with power steering and manual drum brakes and an AM radio, a later Chrysler small block with an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor has been bolted down in its place. Still awaiting connections to the radiator, throttle linkage, exhaust and related support systems, the body is quite rust free though a few spots of bubble-through exist on the front fender and the trunk floor has been patched. See the walk-around video for more. A total of 66,757 Fury IIs were built in 1965, of them just 4,109 were two-door pillar coupes like this. Plop a 426 Street HEMI engine in it and make it one-of-none.
That’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event, but we’ll be back next week with more, and more the week after that … and the week after that. Until the October 13th, 2021, date when these classic vehicles will find new homes.
Well, I’m back from last week’s Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas collector car auction event. Regular DodgeGarage readers may recall that I had to short shift last week’s report on the Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event due to a lack of time. Last week, there was just one lonely preview car depicted here.
That was last week. Let’s pick it up here with a nice thick slice of the many amazing vintage and collectible Mopar products that will sell in mid-October (exact date to be determined) during the ONLINE ONLY Freedom Car Auctions Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event.
Freedom Auctions, by the way, is an auction company operated by none other than Spanky Assiter. Long-time Barrett-Jackson fans will recall Spanky (and his energetic wife Amy) as the lead auctioneer at Barrett-Jackson for something like a decade or more. Well, Spanky has graduated from the Barrett-Jackson scene, but is still totally active in the auction realm, selling real estate, livestock, race horses and vintage cars at events like the Great Texas Mopar Hoard.
What makes the Great Texas Mopar Hoard unique is that the vehicles on offer aren’t the highly polished show cars typically associated with TV auctions. Rather, they’re prime cut project cars. Yes, some of them may look like they’re ready to hit the road (and a few may well be), but most are vehicles that we consider project cars. That’s because most have been sitting still in the Texas prairie for at least five years (some as many as four decades). Thus, it’s to be expected that braking, cooling and electrical systems will be in need of a thorough refurbishment before driving is possible.
This likely need for refurbishment also holds true for the radiators, transmissions, engines and drive line components. All of these sub-systems (when present) will also need to be refurbished. But that’s the easy part of any project car restoration. The most difficult part is finding a solid restoration candidate. And that’s where the vast majority of these cars shine. As Texas vehicles, they rarely suffer from the severe structural rust that afflicts vehicles sourced from the rust belt.
As the following photos and walk-around videos will depict, the majority of the cars and trucks in the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event are solid, rust-free cores. Better yet, in most instances the chrome trim, interior bits and body panels are still present and go with the sale of the vehicle. In short, as any serious vehicle restorer knows, it’s better to have a solid, nearly complete project car that doesn’t run, than it is to have a running rust box. Think about that for a moment then feast your eyes on this week’s offerings from the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event.
This 1956 Chrysler Windsor packs a very special surprise beneath its sleek, complete skin. While the big Chrysler C300 of 1955 was the first post-war Mopar vehicle to advertise its horsepower with external metal emblems, this ’56 Windsor 250 is the second. Subtly positioned beneath the stylized “V” on each rear quarter panel are a pair of “250” emblems signifying the presence of the single four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust Power Package that elevated output from 225 to 250 horsepower.
But unlike the larger and more expensive Chrysler New Yorker and 300B models which had hemispherical combustion chambers and grew from 331 to 354 cubic inches for 1956, the entry-level Windsor utilized less costly polyspherical heads and related valvetrain bits and kept the 331 cubes of the 1955 HEMI® engine. Only offered in Windsors, this poly 331 Power Package is notable for its unique “250” body emblems.
Elsewhere, this great fifties cruiser packs power drum brakes, power steering, the two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission – with first-year push button shift controls – and a complete interior with nice door panels, instrument cluster – with factory AM radio – and bench seats with the predicted wear and tear on the horizontal surfaces. As for the body, as the accompanying video demonstrates, the paint is very likely the original coating applied 65 years ago. Rust has taken hold down low on the rear quarter panels and front fenders – again, see the video for more – but the grille and tail brightwork is complete. It wouldn’t take much to revive this beauty!
Ahh, the mighty Chrysler 300 “letter series”. Made from 1955 through 1965, these “beautiful brutes” are as highly collectible as any sixties muscle car and for good reason. Built with Chrysler’s hottest available engine offerings, with superior brakes, firmer suspension and that all-important (and realistic) 150-mph speedometer, Chrysler letter cars are hot stuff.
This 1963 300J is the ninth in the series (there was no 300″I” slotted between the 1962 300H and this 1963 300J because Chrysler wanted to avoid possible confusion between the letter “I” and the number “1”) and features an all-new body design. Virgil Exner’s radical finned look of the late fifties was toned down, as seen here.
Not to be confused with the mechanically de-contented 300 Sport series, which arrived in 1962, the letter series was always as hot as possible. In this 1963 “J”, the ram induction intake manifolds were upgraded versus their 1960-62 counterparts with the elimination of the first half of the vertical intake runner divider walls. This move increased plenum volume and helped the ram induction system flow more air from the dual carter AFB’s to the big-valve heads and solid lifter camshaft.
While a total of 24,665 300 Sports were built in 1963, a mere 400 300Js were assembled, all of them hardtops like this one (a convertible would be added to the 1964 300K lineup). With a solid, rust-free body, factory-installed air conditioning, massive 11-inch power drum brakes, power steering and power windows all propelled by its 390-horsepower 413 wedge, this rare beauty isn’t too far away from being ready for the road. And though the bucket seat interior (complete with console-mounted tachometer) was disassembled during photography, we’re told the loose parts will be reunited by the auction date. Be sure to double check the situation before you bid and have a look at the video for more details.
Still wearing its medium gold metallic paint, this 1966 Coronet 440 hardtop is a wonderful, original example of what was once a common sight in parking lots and roadways all over America – 40 years ago. Today, sights like this are seen only at car shows and in private collections. Packing the optional 383 four-barrel big block wedge, the only thing hotter in the 1966 Dodge Coronet catalog was the 426 Street HEMI (the 440-powered Coronet R/T arrived a year later).
The one sad note about this offering is the fact its body shell has been bent. A look at the door gaps reveals trouble. Most likely this Coronet left the road, went airborne and landed on a mound or peak as if the Duke Boys were having some fun. The roof skin seems unaffected. Otherwise, the body is rust free and packed with potential.
Goodies include the 383 four-barrel – complete with the unsilenced air cleaner used on these high-performance bruisers – factory dual exhaust, air conditioning, power steering, a 26-inch A/C radiator with three rows of tubes, a heavy-duty 727 TorqueFlite® with column shifter, original body colored 14-inch steel wheels with Coronet hub caps and an 8-3/4 rear axle, inside of which may (or may not) lurk a coveted Sure Grip differential. There wasn’t access to a floor jack during photography, but the 383 four-barrel was often coupled with Sure Grip. A competent body repair shop with a frame machine could probably make it square in an afternoon. Otherwise, this Coronet 440 hardtop is loaded with rust-free panels ready for use on a rusty restoration. Check out the linked video for more details.
In its fourth year, Chrysler’s “letter series” 300 muscle car grew from strength to strength. Packing the mighty 392-cube Fire Power HEMI head V8 with 300-specific dual quads, solid lifters, adjustable rocker arms, large-port cast iron exhaust manifolds, high-flow dual exhaust, extreme-duty 12-inch drum brakes, this 1958 300D is the final year for HEMI engine power before the less-expensive-to-produce 413 wedge replaced it in ’59. Only 809 of these 300Ds were produced in 1958, a miniscule quantity compared to later output of Dodge Chargers, Plymouth Road Runners and other muscle era Mopar collectibles. These “letter cars” are very uncommon.
Without the usual rust and corrosion that consumes Exner-era Chrysler products with abandon, this Texas king is virtually rust free. The Aztec Turquoise paint (one of just six colors offered on the 300D) was partially hand-removed via a razor blade to expose a solid foundation for restoration. The heavy-duty TorqueFlite automatic transmission takes commands from a push button control pod situated next to the D-only 150-mph speedometer.
Factory options include air conditioning ($540 in 1958), power windows ($107.60 in 1958) and the Music Master AM radio ($99.80 in 1958). Though the photo and video depict the car sitting on jack stands and in less than complete condition, many (if not all) of the loose items will be reunited prior to the auction. To wit, the wheel covers, fender emblems and many other items were found in the trunk during photography (unfortunately, a search for the extremely rare Bendix Electro-Jector electronic fuel injection option turned up no evidence. This is, without a doubt, a factory carbureted 300D and not a “fuelie”). Be sure to inquire with Freedom Car Auctions about any missing parts prior to bidding.https://www.youtube.com/embed/qEbBt5nOFyE
1956 CHRYSLER INDUSTRIAL HEMI GENERATOR: LOT #300
With all of the attention given to Chrysler Corporations’ many automotive offerings, it is often forgotten that as far back as 1931 the Chrysler Marine and Industrial Engine Division produced stationary power plants like this 1956 electrical generator.
Though the DC generator portion of this item is interesting – it’s a three-phrase, 120-volt unit made by the Electric Machinery Manufacturing Company (EM) of Minneapolis, Minnesota – the real interest comes from the 354-cubic-inch Chrysler Industrial HEMI engine making it go ‘round.
Like many Chrysler Industrial engines, the 354 HEMI is bolstered by special bearings, hand-selected parts for maximum durability and a conversion from gasoline to LPG fuel. The benefit of LPG is how it burns cleaner than gasoline and reduces the amount of sludge in the crankcase.
But most importantly, these Industrial HEMI engines (and their Marine counterparts) were equipped with solid lifters in place of the quitter (and more expensive) hydraulic lifters used in passenger car applications. And as any hot rodder knows, solid lifters also allow higher engine speeds before the onset of valve float.
Getting to the point of what makes this portable generator so important, we have to look at the rocker arms and the rocker arm covers. To achieve the necessary operating clearance between the valve stem tips and rocker arms, special adjustable rocker arms – with threaded pushrod ends – are required. These same adjustable rocker arms are also used in the 1955-58 Chrysler 300 “letter series” muscle cars. And yes, these rocker arms are highly desirable among First Gen HEMI builders today.
But not only are the rocker arms in demand, so are the specific “humped” rocker arm covers. As shown in the picture, clearance humps are formed into the surfaces between spark plug tube holes. These are a must when the bulkier adjustable rocker arms are used on any 331 – 392 HEMI. And this generator has them! So that’s why this Generator is of particular importance.
Though a handful of collectors exist who might treasure this generator for its novelty, the majority will quickly scavenge the ultra-rare adjustable rocker arms – and the related “humped” Chrysler Industrial rocker arm covers – for use in a hopped-up 331, 354 or 392 HEMI engine. Check out the pictures and video for more info!
Okay, that’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. Stay tuned to DodgeGarage next week for even more.
Gather ‘round, Mopar fanatics! 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). In each of these weekly previews, we’ll focus on another handful of vintage Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, DeSoto and Imperial project vehicles that are all going to be sold online this fall with no reserve.
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!
Though the body style seen on this nifty 1964 Chrysler Newport four-door sedan was only seen for two model years (1963 and 1964), folks over the age of 40 probably recall a time when these large vehicles, with their assertive trapezoidal grilles and horizontally aligned headlamps, were a common sight on the road. Things have changed and what was once common has become scarce – and desirable.
This one is a sedan – with a fixed-B-pillar and full door frames – and is by far the most popular body style offered in the 1964 Chrysler line. Of the 85,183 Newports built that year, a whopping 55,957 were four-door sedans like this. Pillar-less hardtops, wagons, convertibles and two-doors made up the rest of the mix. America loved these cars!
And while this one wears “Turner County Sheriff’s Patrol” door and trunk graphics and a big blue emergency light on the roof, a check of the VIN reveals a starting sequence that reads “814”, which tells us it’s a Chrysler (8), Newport (1) from the 1964 model run (4). If the second digit was a “9”, we’d know it was originally built as a Police model. It’s not clear if this car was given a “police” makeover by a fan – or if it really saw duty in law enforcement. Either way, the body is solid and shows no signs of rust or rust repair work.
Under the hood are 361 2-barrel big block, push-button-activated 727 Torqueflite® automatic transmission, power-assisted drum brakes and power steering. Inside, the original bench seat upholstery, floor carpeting, head liner and door panels are all in excellent condition, making this a solid candidate for a mechanical once-over to get it back on the road – where it belongs! Be sure to watch the walk-around video for more details.
Suddenly it’s 1960! That’s what the world said when the 1957 Mopar vehicles were unveiled for the first time. With the industry’s lowest beltline, cleanest lines, most glass and highest tail fins, the rest of Detroit looked “three years older” by comparison. Many say it was stylist Virgil Exner’s finest work.
This 1957 Plymouth Belvedere four-door hardtop is one of 37,446 made. Without the sedan’s fixed B-pillar and full door frames, the hardtop delivers a breezy, open air experience with all windows rolled down on a sunny day. The interior is all there with all gauges and the factory AM radio still in place. And of course, the torsion bar front suspension (making its debut in ’57) is all there.
Under the sleek “pancake” hood, the original 301-cubic-inch polyspherical V8 remains, complete with the optional “Power Pack” four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust boosting the 301 two-barrel’s 215-horsepower up to 235 horses. The only thing better was the optional Dual Fury 318 V8’s 290 horsepower – thanks to dual quads.
As the accompanying video demonstrates, this lucky survivor is mostly free from the terminal rust that consumed many 1957 Mopar vehicles within their first decade. And while this four-door is loaded with many rust-free panels that could be very helpful in the restoration of a more desirable two-door Fury model, this four-door hardtop is so solid it’d be a shame not to get it running again for all the world to enjoy. Learn more by watching the accompanying video.
There was a time, long before the rise of the Chrysler minivan (and its many imitators), when American families moved around in large station wagons like this 1961 Plymouth Savoy. There was also a time when it was possible to purchase what was known as a “stripper” – a car assembled with minimal extra cost options and the smallest engine offered.
Those two realms merge with Lot 21, a 1961 Plymouth Savoy Suburban station wagon. At the time, Plymouth offered just two model lines, the compact A-Body Valiant and the full sized C-Body, which could be had as the Savoy, Belvedere and Fury with cost and complexity rising on each successive nameplate.
With its manual drum brakes, manual steering, column-shifted three-speed manual transmission and 225 Slant Six engine, the only extra cost options found on this austere people mover are a heater ($74) and AM radio ($35). With its base price of $2,670, the total cost with options came to $2,779.
Still wearing its original two-tone blue colors and, most likely, much of its factory-applied exterior paint, only the slightest bubbles of rust are beginning to form down low on the rear quarter panels. The under hood area is pristine though the Slant Six is missing its one-barrel carburetor and starter motor.
Records show that just 12,980 of these entry-level, four-door wagons were built in 1961. How many remain today? More importantly, how many remain today in nearly 100-percent original condition? Though the bizarre styling triggered a 21.77-percent sales slump versus 1960, that’s all irrelevant today as collectors and enthusiasts alike clamor for surviving examples of Virgil Exner’s swansong designs. See the walk-around video for more details.
Have you ever wondered what Plymouth’s answer to the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero might have looked like? Though neither Plymouth nor Dodge ever went after the “Ute” market here in America, Chrysler of Australia’s April 1965 launch of the Valiant Wayfarer Utility used the compact A-Body platform to deliver a pint-sized pickup truck down under.
None of it answers the question stateside, which is where Lot Number 22 comes in. Based on a 1966 Plymouth RH45E6 Belvedere II station wagon, some enterprising Texan sliced and diced it into a very appealing El Camino act-alike. Maybe we call it Bel-Camino?
Powered by a swapped-in LA series 318 two-barrel (not the original Polyspherical 318) with a column-shifted Torqueflite automatic, aftermarket air conditioning and cruise control add convenience and comfort. The four-wheel drum brakes are non-assisted though power steering takes a load off up front.
Out back, the original station wagon load floor does duty as the cargo bed while the rear doors have been permanently molded closed with very nice body work hiding all surgery scars. Rolling stock consists of original equipment 14×5.5 inch Magnum 500 rims of 1967-’68 (all-chrome) vintage and white wall radial tires.
The compulsory magnet check (for rust) indicates solid bones throughout for this what-if Ranchero contender. See more in the walk-around video.
The Beautiful Brute for 1965 was the last of the line for Chrysler’s fabled 300 “Letter Cars” and wore the “L” suffix. While lesser 300 Sport (non-letter) models were offered since the 1962 model run, only the Letter Cars delivered top-tier power and performance. They were indeed full-size muscle cars, complete with heavy-duty suspension and huge 11-inch drum brakes.
For 1965, the 300L shared all-new bodywork with more pedestrian Newports and New Yorkers, but was quickly identified at night by its centrally mounted running lamp situated in the grille. Behind that distinctive grille was a standard issue 413-cubic-inch wedge with a full 360 horsepower. The standard issue 8-3/4 rear axle packs 300L-specific 3.23:1 gearing. It is unknown if the optional Sure Grip limited-slip differential is present.
Though a handful of the 2,845 1965 300Ls built (440 convertibles and 2,405 hardtops) came with a factory-installed four-speed manual transmission, this one is equipped with a console-shifted 727 Torqueflite automatic transmission. The leather-covered front bucket seats and special “300L” console button are still present along with the L-only 150 mph speedometer.
Beyond all that is the fantastic rust-free condition of the body, which still wears most of its factory-applied Regal Gold surface paint and stainless steel full wheel covers. Oh, and did we mention it’s got Chrysler’s excellent Air Temp air conditioning system? That’s the story of Lot Number 25. See the walk-around video to learn more!