Of the endless amount of body styles Ma Mopar produced, the B-Body rides have proven themselves over and over as the ride of choice (at least by the letters we receive). Road Runners, GTXs, Coronets, and Chargers seem to be what most readers are building. Concours restorations still have their coveted place, but often car enthusiasts are building their rides with more personal touches than the factory offered.
Is this a bad thing? Definitely not. The variety of details and personal touches allows us to venture into a car show and get a myriad of new ideas for our cars. The two modified marauders here have likely never met, but they show a diversity of ideas in quality street crafting. The one thing these drop-tops have in common is a cutting edge look at what's possible if you dream.
Class ActDon Schall of Rochester, New York, says the so-called popular muscle platforms are not the only things worth enhancing, and his '65 Coronet is a prime example. From a distance, one would think it's a restored car with a new set of wheels. Closer examination, however, proves this is no ordinary Dodge.
Don started with a shell of a convertible and enlisted the aid of Mike Servas of Five Guys Collision. Servas and crew straightened and replaced the sheetmetal, added new rear framerails, and installed subframe connectors. A new '64/'65 Race Hemi-style scoop from Kramer Automotive was bolted on the hood and everything was painted '98 Intense Blue Pearl. A final touch: all of the missing stainless trim was replaced in airbrushed detail by local craftsman Brian the Brush.
These little features blew our minds. How about the working third brake light mounted in the trunk lid? Another trick feature that makes the nose look a little different is "old school;" notice the single headlights? Don used a grille restored by Special T's that incorporates only one headlight per side ala AFX '65 style, instead of the factory double layout. The front suspension is still torsion bar, but a rack-and-pinion steering system helps cut corners.
Carrying out the "custom" theme meant a custom interior, so the seats of Don's ride were pirated from a '94 Buick Regal, while the console and shifter were removed from a '95 Dodge Intrepid. Carl's Auto Seat in Rochester, New York, covered everything with gray leather. The factory dash was replaced by a custom-built unit housing a full complement of Classic Instruments gauges to monitor what's happening up front. A Ron Francis Wire Works harness was installed to send the electrical signals to items such as the gauges, ignition, and other electronics. It's hard to notice the Vintage Air air conditioning because all the hoses and wires were hidden.
These days it seems the Hemi engine is finding more homes than ever before. Don wanted a Hemi in his ride, but added a twist. For starters, the block was sent to Drake's Engines in New York and opened up .030-inches. The stock crank and rods, although lightened and polished, were reassigned to the task of spinning the Keith Black 10.25:1 pistons in their respective bores. The factory cast heads were then ported and polished and the stock valves were reinstalled. To give his Hemi a new-age flavor, a custom-built EFI unit was mounted in front of a sheetmetal intake. The spent gases exit via a modified set of race-type headers and the 3-inch Jet-Hot coated exhaust. Transferring the power to the 3.23 geared and Sure Grip filled 831/44 housing is a 518-overdrive transmission reprogrammed with a TransGo kit and a 10-inch TCI torque converter.
If you wonder how he stops those big 17x8 Colorado wheels with 215-50-17 Michelin radials up front and the 17x12s with 335-35-17s in back, he's hidden the power brake unit under the dash.