Ponder this... You have a '67 Coronet sporting a 12-point roll cage, custom-built ladder bars, and massive rear tires. Nice, but so far it's only a slick show car with more bark than bite. Now throw in several hundred cubic inches of Mopar strong arm between skinny front tires and make 9-second passes down the quarter-mile. Suddenly your show queen has become a certified adrenaline pumper. Such is the two-year-old rsum of Virgil and Chris Blevins' '67 Dodge Coronet.
Naturally, the Coronet wasn't always in this fire-breathing condition. Virgil and Chris bought the car in 1992, and in spite of minor wheel-well rust, the Dodge was in relatively good shape. Not even dull paint and standard wheels could camouflage its potential. After parking their new find in the garage, the couple set the tone of the project with the addition of Cragar S/S wheels and a dual exhaust. From there it was full steam ahead.
Vehicles are often akin to a painter's canvas, and the new owners decided they wanted to express themselves with a rather large brush. Through Mopar Performance, a 526 cid Mega Block was secured and delivered to Tranzact Engineering in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Joe Mama assembled the powermill using Bill Miller aluminum rods, Wiseco pistons, and a stout Comp Cams roller bumpstick. Controlling gas flow is a pair of Indy cylinder heads dressed with Ferrea valves and Jesel rocker arms. The heads support a B-1 intake and a Holley Dominator carb. For top-end insurance, a direct-port NOS system was added. Backing up the combustion process are Hooker Super Comp headers and a four-inch exhaust system featuring Dynomax mufflers. Tranzact also bulletproofed the 727 slushbox by installing their own transbrake and a Coan 10-inch torque converter.
Of course, raw power is useless if you can't make "the hook," so Virgil and his friend Frank Nigro installed a ladder bar setup by Alan McMillan. That assembly supports a Dana 60 rear with a Strange spool and 4.10 Richmond gears. Finally, M/T rubbers mounted on Weld wheels were added to the suspension/handling mix and topped off with a Wilwood brake system.
Since the Coronet was destined for street action, Virgil and Chris demanded an interior that exceeded mere sheetmetal trim. New carpeting was installed under the RJS lightweight bucket seats, with aftermarket gauges fitted to the factory dash. The dashpad, door panels, and headliner are also of the factory flavor. Incidentally, the vinyl top is the original covering installed at the factory in 1967. To keep the cockpit and its occupants safe and secure, the couple topped off the interior redo with a 12-point rollcage built by Larry Trussell of Trussell Race Cars in Dowagiac, Michigan.
Although some folks prefer the "rough" bodywork of a sleeper drag car, Virgil and Chris wanted their Coronet to look as good as it performed. Jack Stone at First Choice Auto Body in Elkhart, Indiana, was given the task of replacing deteriorated panels with new sheetmetal, as well as installing the fiberglass hood and covering the lot in an eye-searing Viper Red.
Completing the buildup phase (which involved ample help from friends Joe Richards and Bob Peacock), Virgil and Chris wasted no time putting their newly branded iron to the test...repeatedly. So far, the ragged-edged Coronet has pulled a best e.t. of 9.04 at 148 mph, and with a bit more tuning there's hope the car will drop into the 8-second realm.
Now that ought to make the competition see red.
Taillights, that is.