There are remnants of two Grand Spaulding Dodge stickers, one on the rear bumper and one on the corner of the windshield. certainly far from certain documentation that this '65 Coronet 500 came from Mr. Norm's. However, any two-door hardtop of this series and model year would be a musclecar find of particular excitement, with an "80" engine code on the trim tag specifying the 365hp 426 wedge.
Actually, SFC Len Andrescavage already had a Coronet 440. He was looking for a parts car to harvest doors and a decklid.
"A buddy of mine that lives in town here was always buying cars. He said he thought he knew where another Coronet was. It was located in an old tow yard in northern Illinois," Len said. his friend told him, "I think it's a Grand Spaulding car. It's got the old sticker on the back."
Grand Spaulding Dodge was Norm Kraus' dealership, located in Chicago at the corner of Grand and Spaulding. They opened in 1962. Since the late-'50s, Norm and his brother Len had been selling used performance cars. Grand Spaudling Dodge started the Mr. Norm's Sport Club, the Grand Spaudling Race Team, and focused on selling hot cars. They sold factory musclecars and also modified Dodges in just about any configuration the customer wanted.
Len didn't hesitate. The Coronet had been parked in the tow yard for at least 25 years, but it was solid. The car had the parts he needed, but it would soon be scrapped, along with the rest of the yard, if not bought very soon. So Len bought it for $450.
When the car was delivered, Len checked out the stickers, and then went to the data tag under the hood. Sure enough, it was coded as a 365 horse 426. The only thing wrong "body-wise" (beside needing stripped of paint) was they had picked it up with a fork lift and dented the side a little bit, but it had a beautiful body.
Inside, Len found a four-speed conversion, which he has not yet verified as done by Mr. Norm's for Grand Spaulding Dodge. The codes indicate a factory automatic. The hood and 426 engine were missing. A set of 4.89 cogs in the rearend is the kind of stuff Mr. Norm's did in 1965.
"Everything under the dash looked like it was done correctly. There was a hump put in the car. It wasn't butchered. It looked factory correct," said Len.
Len contacted Norm himself, who was very helpful. Norm said the Coronet looked like one of his cars. Unfortunately, Mr. Norm's records prior to 1968 burned in a fire.
Len has sent the VIN to Galen Govier for the factory IBM cards. In addition to verifying the information on the data tag, these cards will verify the dealer that Len believes will be Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago.
His goal is to put the car back to exactly the way it left the dealership in 1965. Len already has tracked down a 426 that is within the build date of the car.
How rare is this Coronet? so far, Len has tracked down three other cars. One came with the Super Stock hood; the other two had factory flat hoods. One had the 426, four-speed combination, and another one had the cross-ram. Yeah, in 1965 just about any modification was legal, and there's no telling how wild these cars got.
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