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318/4-Speed: 1965 Dodge Coronet

When it was new, this 1965 Dodge Coronet wouldn’t have provided the sort of performance that would get your pulse racing. However, it has received a few upgrades, opening the door to a world of possibilities. It will need some work, but it is a structurally sound vehicle with the makings of a great project car. Located in Barnesville, Minnesota, you will find the Coronet listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $4,615, and the reserve has been met.

The owner believes that the paint that the Coronet wears is original, but decoding the tag reveals that this isn’t right. The car has undergone a color change at some point because it originally wore Light Tan Metallic. There is some evidence of this in a couple of spots, although it does appear that the change has been undertaken with an eye for detail. The panels wear a few dings and marks, but there are no significant dents. It is a similar story when it comes to the question of rust. The car is structurally sound, with only a few rust spots in the floors to cause any concern. Even these are relatively minor, and I think they could be addressed with patches rather than the wholesale replacement of the floors. The glass is in good order, and most of the chrome looks like it would respond well to some careful work with a high-quality polish.

The Coronet’s interior has a few positive attributes, but it is still going to need a lot of work. The headliner is intact, and I think that it would clean okay. The dash has been cut to fit an aftermarket stereo, but it appears to be in decent condition. The rest of the trim has seen better days, and a trim kit is one solution that could be considered. When you realize that it will need seat covers, door trims, rear seat trims, a parcel tray, and a carpet set, you get the general idea. Another alternative might be to consider going down the pathway of custom trim. The door cards and other base components appear to be sound, so a good upholsterer might be able to produce something stunning for a lot less than a trim kit will cost. Given the fact that the vehicle isn’t 100% original, it is an option that is worth considering.

When the Dodge was shiny and new, the engine bay was home to a 225ci slant-six, backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. This was a combination that wouldn’t get the pulse racing, with the journey down the ¼ mile taking a leisurely 18.9 seconds. Both the engine and transmission have been consigned to the pages of history. We now find a 318ci V8, and hooked to that is a 4-speed manual transmission. It is believed that the 318 was rebuilt around 7-years-ago, and it hasn’t done much work since then. The car has been sitting for a couple of years, but it does run and drive. The owner says that it is a bit “cold-blooded” and that a tune-up wouldn’t go astray. He also recommends bleeding the brakes before any serious trips are undertaken. During the rebuild, the V8 was treated to an aluminum intake, an upgraded carburetor, and a set of headers. It probably would have delivered around 230hp before the rebuild, so these upgrades should potentially unleash a few additional ponies. That has the potential for the Coronet to improve its ¼ mile ET into the high 15-second bracket. There could possibly be even more power available if the buyer chooses to pursue that path.

As a project car, this 1965 Dodge Coronet shows a lot of promise. Its rust problems are relatively minimal, and it is a blank canvas for its next owner. It would be tempting to treat it to a power front disc brake conversion, fix the interior, address the rust, and apply a fresh coat of paint. That would have it presenting well and would make it a bit of a sleeper. Anyway, that’s just my idea. What would you do with it?


  1. Al_Bundy Member

    Really love the car, appears to be solid other than a pretty bad interior. I’m kind of a stickler for keeping things original, but seeing it’s 55 years old and likely had an option for a V-8 as new (273 ?) a 318 swap is reasonable. Back when we used to have car shows, this is one that I would like to see, talk to a proud owner about.

    Like 6
  2. Buffalo Bob

    I guess the 318 is an okay swap. I might upgrade to a 360, so long as it’s no longer original (just happen to have one…) Shame that the interior’s trashed. As far as the exterior goes, I’d trade the turbine wheels for body-color steelies with dog dish caps, make it a real sleeper.

    Like 10
  3. Jack M.

    I think most people will have their guard up when they see a two door vehicle from the 60’s roaming around. Sleepers nowadays pack 1000 hp turbos.

    Like 10
  4. Jeff

    Save your money, for 15K I would get this one instead!

    Like 4
    • Joe Backer

      I don’t care at all for the matching blue rims. Just not factory. I’d do 10k for the car. eBay sharks scare me.

      Like 1
  5. Tom S.

    This looks like a fun project.

    Like 4
  6. Tort Member

    Really like the styling of those years of Dodge’s and Plymouth”s. A project that most car enthusiasts could handle. Nice car and a good buy if the bidding doesn’t go to crazy.

    Like 4
  7. Rustytech Member

    Swap in a 413ci and have fun!

    Like 2
  8. Troy s

    Those Mopars from ’63 up to ’65, like this one here, have always impressed me with how just a simple wheel swap and suddenly I expect a street wedge terror of sorts! Great styling for me anyways, back in those days I dont really know what gear heads thought of them. Sure may a dent in Stock and Super Stock drag racing,…A/FX as well.
    That’s what I picture here, a hell bent two door Dodge rattling away at a stop light, the roar,,, the front suspension pulling up planting the rear tires and off it goes…no lifting the throttle just straight up power shifting…dont know if the 318 is up for it. As they used to say, ‘there’s no replacement for displacement!’ Good time ride.

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