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By Steve “Scat Pack” Magnante 9/10/2021 9:00 AM GalleryHeritage9 min readDODGE CLASSICS
As we enter the month of September, the October 13th and 14th date of the Great Texas Mopar® Auction event draws near. This once-in-a-lifetime no-reserve, all-online sale of the 250-plus special interest vehicles (to be sold on Wednesday, October 13th) and thousands of items of Mopar parts, memorabilia, tools and dealership training and sales materials (to be sold on Thursday, October 14th) from the estate of the late John Haynie is sure to set records and make history. And you can be a part of it. Bidder registration information can be found at the Spanky’s Freedom Car Auctions website, as can pictures of each vehicle.
Even if you’re not looking to buy, you’re invited to play along by checking out the stories, pictures and videos right here on DodgeGarage. This week’s preview story features an interesting variety of offerings. Check them out!
1974 PLYMOUTH GRAN FURY III POLICE PURSUIT: LOT #49
Muscle cars with four doors. That’s what enlightened car enthusiasts call police cars like this 1974 Plymouth Fury III Police Pursuit. As Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers character famously proclaimed: “It’s got a cop motor. A 440 c.i. plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model built before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say? Is it the new Bluesmobile, or what?” This unassuming beige Plymouth is a virtual twin.
Though Jake and Elroy Blues rode in a Dodge Monaco Special, Plymouth’s Gran Fury (as seen here) was nearly identical except for nameplates, upholstery patterns and minor trim. And while the Bluesmobile had the top-cop 440 big block with 275 net horsepower, this Plymouth Fury III has the “next-best-thing” 240 net horsepower P-code 400-cubic-inch, high-performance big block V8. One thing that Elwood Blues (played by Dan Aykroyd) only hinted at is the fact the 1974 model year was the last before federally mandated catalytic converters arrived on the scene in 1975 as the EPA not so gently nudged automakers toward their duty of reducing pollution. As such, this nifty Plymouth has the final-year, full-length, high-flow dual exhaust system – with twin large diameter tailpipes jutting out beneath the rear bumper. And yes, these intimidating details are still present.
Beyond that, it has all of the A38 Police Special goodies, including heavy-duty suspension, 9-1/4-inch rear axle, high-capacity 28-inch wide radiator with shroud and seven-blade clutch fan, 75-amp alternator with dual belts, battery heat shielding, firm feel power steering, heavy-duty 727 TorqueFlite® automatic transmission, huge power assist front disc/rear finned drum brakes, 15×6.5-inch severe service rims, special bench seats with extra springs and thicker pads, tinted glass and that all-important certified 140 mph speedometer. And the metal trim tag even reads “special order”. How cool is that?
Twenty or thirty years ago, a big hulking Plymouth like this wouldn’t have attracted much attention. Supermarket parking lots and the roadways of America were teaming with them. But time has passed and suddenly these cars have come back into vogue. Especially the police versions like this incredibly well-preserved four-door muscle car. Is this your new Bluesmobile, or what?
1966 RAMBLER MARLIN: LOT #53
This Rambler Marlin was a direct competitor to Dodge’s striking new Charger when it was a new car back in 1966. Sharing slick fastback roof styling, the Marlin – like Charger – was an adaptation of an existing model. While the Charger’s bones were shared with the mid-size Coronet, AMC based the Marlin on its Classic, a good thing since a commonly available 1966 Rambler Classic windshield will be needed to replace the broken one seen here.
Though a puny 232-cube inline six was the base engine, this well-preserved example has the optional 287-cubic-inch V8, which added a mere $122 to the window sticker and boosted power from 145 to 198 ponies. Based on Rambler’s first V8 – the 250/327 of 1957 – this 287-cubic-inch variant arrived in 1963 to compete with the 283- to 318-cubic-inch smaller V8s offered by the competition. Shift-it-yourself enthusiasts will enjoy this car’s three-on-the-tree column-mounted manual transmission.
Because Rambler management insisted that a six-foot-tall adult passenger be able to sit upright in the back seat, the Marlin’s fastback roof line has an awkward height not found in certain competitors. Sales weren’t stellar, just 4,547 were built in 1966, a 56% tumble versus the debut year of 1965 when 10,327 Marlins found happy buyers. For its part, Dodge’s Charger debut was stronger, with 37,300 sold, though it too would quickly fade from the scene.
With its (apparently) original paint, this Marlin could be mechanically refurbished and put into service as a fun daily driver. Or if one shares this author’s interest in the wild and woolly altered wheelbase match racers of the mid-sixties, why not move the rear axle forward a foot, replace the coil spring front suspension with a beam axle and leaf springs to whip up a tribute to Preston Honea’s Marlin funny car? Best of all, the real one ran a 426 HEMI® engine. Any self-respecting tribute must as well.
1967 DODGE A100 PANEL VAN: LOT #55
We’ve seen a number of rare and interesting Dodge A100 and A108 vans in our preview coverage of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. They are lot numbers 7, 11, 59 and 84, but this 1967 Dodge A100 panel van stands apart for the fact it’s very uncommon no windows build configuration. The Dodge Truck Division was very willing to meet the needs of van buyers seeking specialized body configurations. Here, the usual glass windows seen on the rear and side doors are absent, as are the glass windows commonly fitted to the passenger side (at the least) of the cargo area. Though far less common than higher visibility A100 window vans, these closed-off vans were popular with merchants hauling valuable cargo or medical/ambulance-oriented applications where security and privacy were prime goals.
In the case of this particular windowless cargo van, the roof top refrigeration unit hints that it once hauled perishable merchandise that had to be kept cool. Happily, the large “west coast” style rearview door mirrors were put to use and the right rear corner and passenger side body panels are free of the usual scrapes and dents that often go with the “blind corner” driving experience. Likewise, the interior is in great shape with the factory-applied cream white paint still looking good. A 225 Slant Six and 3-speed manual transmission with the usual column gear shift round out this very unconventional Dodge A100 van. Can you see a 6.4L HEMI engine, Viper suspension and SRT® Hellcat wheels and tires? We can!
1961 PLYMOUTH VALIANT STATION WAGON: LOT #57
This nifty 1961 Plymouth V100 station wagon wears what we like to call a “Texas sun tan” on its many horizontal surfaces where the intense Texas sun has replaced the factory-applied light blue paint with what appears to be severe rust. But let’s look closer. While “rusty old cars” are generally viewed as eye sores by the general populous and as bad news restoration candidates by car lovers, a close examination of this Valiant shows the surface rust to be exactly that – surface rust.
The good news is that beneath this essentially cosmetic layer of degraded metal is a solid core that’s easily remedied with some light sanding before it’s ready for fresh primer and paint. Veteran car people know that superficial rust like this is no barrier to salvation at all. What really matters is the condition of the lower body panels where perforation is usually an indicator of rotted floors and frames.
But here, the lower regions of the fenders, rocker panels, doors and rear quarter panels are as solid as the day it rolled off the assembly line in 1961. We couldn’t lift the car to examine the floors, but if the excellent fenders, rockers and quarter panels are any indicator – and they usually are – then this sweet little wagon is a great foundation for revival.
Plymouth’s compact-sized Valiant was in its second year in 1961 and sales were very strong with 143,078 built. Of them, just 17,511 were station wagons like this. Don’t go looking for V8 power from the factory, all Valiants (like their Dodge Lancer cousins) were strictly Slant Six powered through the 1963 model year. A total redesign for 1964 brought the also-new 273-cubic-inch small block V8 to the option sheet in 1964.
Getting back to this little blue gem, we love the 3-speed manual transmission and its sporty floor-mounted shift handle. As the pictures and video will reveal, Plymouth styled the dashboard to accept the optional TorqueFlite automatic transmission’s push-button controls on the left-hand side of the steering wheel in a vertical row. But when the base floor shifted 3-speed manual was specified, the vertical row of shift buttons were covered by an attractive stamped aluminum block-off plate which is still in place.
We love these compact first-generation A-body Valiants. After all, their A-body bones later supported legends like the 1964 Barracuda, 1968 B023 HEMI engine-powered Super Stock Barracuda and “giant killer” 1970 Duster 340, among many others. Though the engine bay is ready to accept a 340 or 440 V8 without much effort (426 HEMI engines can fit but take some prodding), we can see this sweet little survivor gently humming down the road with a rebuilt 225 Slant Six and an owner who’s happy to let the floor shifted 3-speed gearbox transport him back in time.
1956 DODGE CORONET TEXAN: LOT #58
This 1956 Dodge Coronet Texan four-door is an interesting counterpoint to another 1956 Dodge Texan in the Great Texas Mopar Auction Event. While the other example is a high line Royal two-door hardtop, this unit is based on the basic Coronet four-door sedan and wears its original, factory-applied two-tone black and white paint. The Texan package was a trim group applied to cars sold specifically in Texas and apparently less than a thousand were built.
The 1956 model year was the final year for coil spring front suspension, torsion bar-type “Torsion Aire” front suspension arrived in 1957 and became a Chrysler Corporation trait through the 1970s. Like all Texans, a 315-cubic-inch Super Red Ram V8 with polyspherical heads (non-HEMI) sits under hood with the base two-barrel carburetor (a four-barrel Power Pack upgrade was optional) as does extremely rare factory-installed air conditioning, a feature found on just 1,687 new Dodges in 1956 and which cost $567 extra.
So uncommon was factory Air Temp air conditioning in 1956 Dodges that the controls were not integrated into the dashboard but rather placed on a chrome-plated cluster attached beneath the dash, to the left of the steering wheel. And yes, all of the rare bits are still present, including the trunk-mounted duct box and external air scoops at the base of the C-pillars.
Other factory-installed options include $92 power steering (installed on 24.3 percent of 1956 Dodge cars), $38 power drum brakes (installed on 17.3 percent of 1956 Dodge cars), a heater (installed on 94.8 percent of 1956 Dodge cars) and a two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission with first-year push-button shift controls (installed in 90.3 percent of 1956 Dodges). One item that is surprising in its absence is a radio. The rectangular hole pierced into the lower tier of the dash panel is covered by a chromed radio-delete block-off plate. Likewise, a small metal button atop the driver side front fender, close to the door, covers the antenna mast locating hole. Rare stuff folks!
Originally sold by O.R. Mitchell Dodge of (where else) San Antonio, Texas, this 1956 Dodge Coronet Texan four-door is very solid and – because of its extremely rare factory Air Temp air conditioner and complete, unmolested status – deserves a factory-correct restoration. Maybe you can make it happen?
For past stories, check out the links below:
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Preview
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part II
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part III
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part IV
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part V
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part VI
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part VII
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part VIII
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part IX
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part X
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part XI
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part XII
The Great Texas Mopar Auction: Part XIII