With the advent of the Internet, organized Mopar events, and classified ad magazines, finding the perfect car has never been easier. Even with the numbers of our cherished classics decreasing every day, sometimes you still can find exactly what you're looking for. Such was the case for Seminole, Florida's Larry Shobe when he found this '63 Dodge 440.

A lifelong Mopar collector, Larry was looking for something new to add to his collection. He wanted an early model Dodge and voiced this to a friend, who directed him to an ad in Hemmings Motor News. Larry called the gentleman who had placed the ad to see if he had a '62 or '63 Dodge post car. The man, who was from Arizona, said the only thing he had was a '63 440 two-door hardtop with factory air. He claimed it was rust-free and even offered to make Larry a video of the car for $20. Larry agreed and received his video two weeks later. He didn't even get halfway through it before he was back on the phone with the owner, smoothing out a plan to purchase the car. The rust-free condition of the early Dodge had been enough to immediately win him over.

Larry mailed a $2,500 check and arranged for Hollywood Wheels to transport the car to Florida.

Once the car was sitting in his driveway, he disassembled the entire vehicle. The front end was rebuilt, and everything underneath was sprayed gloss black. The chassis was upgraded with frame connectors, and the rearend was replaced with a nontapered bearing 8 3/4-inch rear with a Sure Grip unit, 3.55 gears, and stock axles. OEM replacement shocks were used in the front and rear, and Mopar Performance S/S rear springs were installed out back. This classic hardtop wears a set of Weld Pro Star wheels with Uniroyal tires up front and BFGoodrich radials on the rear. The front disc brakes come from a '75 Dart, and the rear brakes were sourced from a '71 Plymouth station wagon, while a '67 Coronet master cylinder distributes the braking pressure.

The engine compartment, trunk, doors, and front fenders were media blasted by Larry's brother, John, who owns a body shop. John then sprayed the Dodge down with Sikkens Viper Red basecoat and clear. All the original stainless moldings were retained, and a fiberglass hoodscoop was installed. John also performed all the bodywork on the car. The factory air conditioning even works well enough to keep Larry cool in the Florida heat. Jimmy Barns of Pinellas Park, Florida, restored the factory red vinyl interior, and Larry had the steering wheel redone by Wheel Max in Lithia, Florida. The original radio powers a set of Jensen speakers.

Powering this 4,000-pound classic is a 9.0:1 compression 440 bored .040 over to 444 ci. It produced 460 hp and 450 lb-ft on an engine dyno. That's definitely more than enough to comfortably propel Larry to a 9-flat in the eighth-mile. The engine was machined and internally balanced at Dwan's Machine Shop. Inside the RB are a set of TRW forged pistons and Six Pack rods driven by a steel crankshaft. The stainless steel Manley valves are opened by a Mopar Performance cam rated at .555/.557-inch lift and 296-degrees of duration. The mildly ported steel Chrysler 906 cylinder heads were upgraded with Mopar Performance springs and 1.5:1 Crane roller rockers. All the air is ingested via a stock Six Pack intake with three Holley carburetors. On the ignition side, an electronic MSD distributor was used and is controlled by an MSD 6AL.

The powerful big-block produces a lot of exhaust, and it's channeled out through a set of Doug's headers with 2-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors. A 2 1/2-inch exhaust takes it into a set of Flowmaster 40-series mufflers, delivering that signature musclecar sound. The engine assembly was performed by Larry, and he even rebuilt the transmission sourced from a '65 Dodge. It now has an 11-inch, 1,800-rpm torque converter and retains the stock pushbutton shifter.

The entire buildup took Larry about four and a half years. It's a testament to great finds that people typically overlook. It's exactly what this former Mopar line mechanic and shop owner of 25 years was looking for. Larry enjoys bringing his cool Dodge 440 out to shows and driving it on the sunny boulevards of the Tampa Bay area.

Fast Facts
'63 Dodge 440
Larry Shobe
Seminole, FL

Mopar Power

  • Engine: The short-block was taken from a drag car with only five passes on it. Larry had the block looked through and had his rotating assembly balanced by Dwan's Machine Shop. After it was bored .040 over, a set TRW pistons filled the holes. They are connected to Six Pack rods and a stock steel crankshaft. Mildly ported steel Chrysler 906 cylinder heads sit on top and were upgraded to larger Manley valves, Crane roller rockers, and Mopar Performance valvesprings. A .557/.557-inch lift, 296-degree duration Mopar Performance camshaft adds a little rumble to the Flowmaster exhaust. The factory Six Pack intake manifold sports three Holley carburetors, and the ignition was upgraded to an electronic MSD distributor and 6AL controller.
  • Transmission: A TorqueFlite from a '65 Dodge uses the pushbutton shifter. Larry rebuilt the transmission and installed a new 1,800-rpm torque converter.

Sure Grip

  • Suspension: OEM replacement shocks were installed, and a set of Mopar Performance S/S springs sit out back.
  • Brakes: The front brakes are discs out of a '75 Dart. The rear brakes come from a '71 Plymouth station wagon and are controlled with a master cylinder out of a '67 Coronet.
  • Rims: The classic look of Weld Pro Stars never gets old; they measure 15x5-inch in front and 15x8-inch for the rears.

High Impact

  • Body: Larry was lucky enough to find a rust-free car in Arizona and had it delivered to his home in Seminole, Florida. He also lucked out by having a brother-John Shobe-who owns a body shop.
  • Paint: Sikkens Viper Red base and clear were applied by John.
  • Interior: Jimmy Barns of Pinellas Park, Florida, resorted the factory interior. The red vinyl and carpet pairs well with the Viper Red exterior. The steering wheel was refurbished by Wheel Max in Lithia, Florida.

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