'65-'78 C-Body
Want a weekend cruiser that will fit comfortably and haul everything you'll need? Look no further than the fullsize Mopars that rolled out of the Jefferson and Belvedere assembly plants from the mid-'60s through 1978.

Full-size Plymouth and Dodge cop cars have their own following, thanks to The Blues Brothers movie, as well as to retired cops, who've restored their duty cruisers, and those who just love the big, 440-powered beasts (despite, for example, the California Highway Patrol ordering theirs with manual steering and brakes until Chrysler made those standard in 1975).

Civilian C-Bodies make for cool cruisers, as long as you don't do any Elwood Blues-style shopping center drive-thrus. All the HD engine, transmission, and chassis gear that fit the cop cars will also fit the citizens' cars, and the best-condition examples make for the best projects.

Keep your eyes open for rare body styles, especially convertibles and '69-and-later two-door hardtops, as well as for rare options such as the "Super Lite" auxiliary driving light that Dodge offered in '69-'70 on its Polaras and Monacos, dual air conditioning in the wagons, and the four-wheel disc brakes that were on Imperial's option list in the early and mid-'70s.

'77-'80 F-Body
If you look past the first-year (1976) Volares and Aspens-whose build-quality problems led to way too many recalls-the '77-and-later F-Body cars weren't all that bad, especially when you compare them with their domestic competition.

The two-doors handled better than the A-Body Dusters/Dart Sports they replaced, the four-door sedans were huge on the inside for their overall length, and the wagons were roomy in the way that wagon buyers were used to. Add the choice of 225 Slant Six/318 or 360 V-8 power, 904 Torqueflites (727s if you're lucky to get a high-output 360), and you had the makings of a desirable car, early problems to the contrary.

The Super Coupes, offered as both Volare and Aspen in 1978, have all the good engine, transmission, and chassis gear on them, plus distinctive paint and graphics-everything but a 125-mph cop speedometer. Very few were made (494 Volares and 531 Aspens, plus 245 Volare and 145 Aspen Street Kit cars with Richard Petty's No. 43), so if you find one in good shape, grab it. The regular two-door F-Bodies, including the Volare Road runner and Aspen R/T, are worth it if they're intact/rust-free, as all the good Super Coupe/cop car hard parts bolt right on.

Cautions about the Electronic Lean Burn system are the same as they are for the same-era B-Bodies, and you might see where an ELB got the heave-ho in favor of an early '70s-type ignition and intake system.