440-Powered Sleeper: 1966 Dodge Coronet

The Coronet was a popular Dodge model that remained in the line-up for some 25 years. Quite a few non-descript Coronet two-sedans were sold for those looking at basic transportation. The seller’s 1966 Coronet was one of them, starting out with a Slant-Six engine. Nearly 15 years ago, a collector pulled the motor in favor of a 440 V8 and we guess it surprises folks at shows when the hood is popped. The car can be found in Dundee, Oregon and is available here on craigslist for $13,950 or a close offer. Thanks once again to our Pat L. for digging this one out for us!

Like other Dodge nameplates, the Coronet was different things to different people at times. In 1950, it was Dodge’s highest trim full-size car, but by 1955 it was entry-level. A decade later and through 1975, the name was found on intermediate models. “Coronet” implies royalty as it’s a small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. The fifth-generation of the car (1965-70) is when its B-body took over for what had been the Dodge Polara (which was bumped up to full-size). The muscle market was taking hold during this time, so a Coronet could be had from mild to wild. This one started out as the former, a plain-Jane car that had few options other than an automatic transmission and AM radio.

Fast forward to around 2006, which is where the history of this car is known. The rather calm-looking sedan was purchased from its original owner by a local Mopar collector. While the body and interior were left alone, the entire drive train was pulled out and replaced with a rebuilt, period-correct 440 cubic inch V-8. The seller tells us that the transplant involved a few upgrades, as well, such as a moderate camshaft, 727 transmission with 11-inch converter, SureGrip 8 ¾-inch rear end with fairly low gears and an Edelbrock carburetor. We’re told things on the undercarriage were also refreshed, including new suspension components, rear springs, bushings, and exhaust system. The front brakes were converted to disc stopping without power assist, but there is power steering.

This ’66 Coronet is wearing its mostly original paint and said to be rust-free. However, there was some old body work done and the paint was matched on the front and top of the left front fender. A bit of the trim is bent on the right side, but the car comes with a NOS kit that has never been installed. It’s amazing how nice the body looks, though, after all these years and 70,000 miles on the odometer.

The interior is completely original, but the buyer will want to price a set of replacement seat covers. The cloth inserts are starting to separate, and the top of the rear seat is cracking due to sun damage. There is also a small tear in the right rear headliner quarter. I don’t know if that can be repaired or if its better just to replace the headliner, too. The glove box will contain the original owner’s manual, build sheets and original Chrysler Certi-Card. The trunk will be filled with the original wheels and hub caps, if the buyer wants them. The buyer will also receive a new fuel gauge to replace the broken one. With a 440 engine, you’ll need to know how much gas in onboard!

This car was most recently used for summer outings to car shows and the like, so the seller has only added about 1,000 miles since he acquired it. He’s decided that he really doesn’t have the space to hold onto the car, so it’s available once again. Due to the closure of the DMV caused by COVID-19 issues, he never transferred ownership, so the clean title bears the information of the party he bought the car from. Once the buyer gets the title finally transferred, the seller suggests a thorough tune-up to get the most out of that monster under the hood.

While cash always talks, the seller would entertain a partial trade for a motorcycle, but not a fully-dressed touring bike. Motocross, dual sport, vintage, etc. are his preferences. If this were the more upscale Coronet 500, it could be worth $15-20,000. But that doesn’t consider what the 440 might bring to someone looking for a classic sleeper. Considering what little needs to be done to this car to approach perfection, you could have a nice show auto for 15 grand or so all-in.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I like it a lot! Mostly original with a period warmed over powertrain. When you think about the asking price there is a lot of fun to be had just getting out and driving it or taking it to car shows. Perfect entry into the classic car scene.

    Like 10
  2. IkeyHeyman

    This car was posted on Ebay in May and featured here on Barns Finds. The seller says the title is still in the previous owner’s name and says: “If this is an issue for you, this may not be the car for you.” Gee, maybe somebody should tell the guy that title jumping is illegal in all 50 states.

    Like 20
    • Steve R

      That is a huge red flag.

      The Oregon DMV’s website says you can schedule in office appointments, something the seller specifically contradicts by saying their offices are closed. If the registration was clear cut he’d have put it in his name, then added the cost to the asking price of the car.

      It’s a nice looking car that seems like well thought out and executed. It should have sold the first time around.

      Steve R

      Like 13
    • Turbo

      Sounds a little fishy. Not sure if his story is “I’m an honest guy, I just drive unregistered cars around for years at a time, doesn’t everybody?,” or “The original title is in my uncle’s name. He is a Nigerian prince and if you buy this car now, he will give you millions of dollars!”

      Like 2
  3. Cadmanls Member

    But wait drove it a thousand miles and never did the paperwork? Maybe but liability?

    Like 9
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Love the sleeper look on this Plain Jane Coronet. The body looks really clean with what seems to be nice chrome. Sure, it needs a little help here and there but it seems like a lot of car for the money. I wouldn’t mind having this one, not at all.

    Like 9
  5. Leland

    Had almost the same car 50 years ago, except mine was a 273 3 speed. Mine made more sense then this one.

    Like 1
  6. AZVanMan

    Tons of potential fun, but not w/o a good title.

    Like 7
  7. Bob

    So, who is the seller? Is he the person who put in the 440 or somebody else?

    Like 1
    • IkeyHeyman

      The previous owner put in the 440. The seller bought the car in May from an estate sale.

      Like 5
  8. Max H.

    2006 modifications but the title still under previous owner? I call BS somewhere. Legit title transfer cost less that the air cleaner.

    Like 7
    • Steve R

      Not where I live. Here it’s 10% sales tax and title transfer, at a minimum. Plus any back registration and penalties, parking tickets or toll violations, even if they were accrued by a previous owner. If the old owner passed away, they also need extra paperwork filed with the DMV to transfer title.

      A friend has the local AAA contract, he does a lot of business with lawyers and realtors settling estates. He gets some really good cars for cheap because he makes sure the paperwork is done correctly, even for cars that are going to be scrapped. Last week, he picked up a 5 window 31 Ford that had been sitting in a garage since the mid-70’s.

      Steve R

      Like 5
  9. 19sixty5 Member

    I like it, I would ditch the current tail pipes and chrome tips with the stock type that turn down and exit well before the bumper, drive it and have a blast with it!

    Like 7
  10. Todd Fitch Staff

    I may have said this the first time we featured this car, but I literally owned the four-door version of it, a ’66 Coronet, 440 trim level, same color scheme inside and out, same dog dish hub caps. Mine came with the 318 Polysphere. I’ve seen a couple of these two-doors that came with the I6, redone with a period-correct Hemi and all the Hemi goodies, and they’ll sell above $50,000 to folks who can’t afford a real Hemi car but want to drive one and shock people when they pop the hood. You could not get the 440 in a Coronet until ’67, but this is still an interesting car along the same lines, and in truth the 440 is probably better for a driver. I’d have to have a four-speed myself, but “Clear title in my name” is the phrase you want to see, and a Bill of Sale signed by that person if you want to title the car in VA and some other states. Otherwise your car is not ready for sale.

    Like 5
  11. Little_Cars

    Buddy of mine has a much nicer version of this Coronet, a sedan in yellow with newly upgraded vintage air for $10k. Perfect interior. Full wheelcovers. It was a Chrysler corporate car and comes with a stack of paperwork showing provenance. Middle Tennessee.

    Like 4
    • Little_Cars

      Correction, my buddy’s Coronet deluxe sedan is fitted with a 318 poly. Selling for $10k.

      Like 2
  12. Karl

    Looks to be pretty tidy. The 440 is a very decent motor with a world of potential to make as much power as you would want.
    On a different note, I have never heard somebody say if you have a problem with the title then this car is not for you! That’s an idiotic statement to make. Heck yes I have a problem with the title still in the previous owners name, WHY is this the case, could be 50 different reasons and NONE of them are good!!!

    Like 7
  13. John L.

    This car is showing Washington collector plates, why would the seller not register it in Oregon? It would cost him roughly $300.00, but would eliminate the hassle with a previous owner, now deceased, title. Perhaps this is why the car has not sold on Ebay. Never buy a vehicle that doesn’t have the sellers name on the title. If the seller doesn’t want to transfer title to their name, then you don’t need the vehicle, and the title hassles.

    Like 5
  14. Burger

    This is a Coronet DeLuxe, with that side trim. The baseline Coronet is coded “WE”, for those who want to tease this out.

    Like 1
  15. SouthJerseyMike

    I always find it weird when a guy states- the car should have “a thorough tune-up to get the most out of that monster under the hood”. For $14K – yea it should be tuned up and ready to go.

    Like 4
  16. PeterfromOz

    I am surprised it is driveable, I mean stoppable, without power assistance on the brakes.

    Like 1
    • Milton Camp

      I had manual brakes on my Impala SS 283 back in 74 No problems stopping. Wish I still had Rosie. :(

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hello PeterfromOz. My ’66 Coronet sedan had four-wheel drums and manual brakes. When properly adjusted the braking was quite normal and I could really feel the threshold of lockup, unlike many American power brake cars of the ’60s and ’70s. My only complaint was keeping the fronts adjusted so there was no pull left to right. Often manual brake cars have a different pedal arm that applies more leverage on the system. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Brick

    Never quite noticed what agood looking car that car was. You can see the origins of the ’68 Charger “coke bottle.” More so than a ’66 Charger

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