700 Horsepower: 1965 Dodge Coronet Lightweight

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I will always take my hat off to a car owner who openly admits that they really aren’t sure whether what they have is a truly rare classic or a clone. That is what the owner of this Dodge Coronet has done in his listing for the vehicle, but he has since updated the listing to inform potential buyers that the Coronet is indeed a clone. This doesn’t seem to have reduced buyer interest in the car, as, at the time of writing, bidding has reached $33,300, but the reserve hasn’t been met. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, you will find the Coronet listed for sale here on eBay.

The Coronet has been the subject of a full “nut and bolt” rebuild, and it really shows everywhere that you look around the car. The panels and paint are pristine, while the chrome and trim look faultless. The car is fitted with a lightweight hood, while there are a number of clear, high-resolution photos of the underside of the car, some of which you will find at the bottom of this article. When you paint the underside of a vehicle, white is the worst color that you can use if you want to disguise any sins or problems. This one is finished in white and the condition is impeccable.

The condition of the interior and trim are also impressive, and there are only a couple of detail issues to attend to in order to make it perfect. It looks like there has been a sticker of some description on the glove compartment door, and this has damaged the finish on that. The rubber boot for the shifter is also damaged and would need to be replaced. One aspect of the A990 Coronet that I find interesting is the fact that even though they were built to be as light as possible within the then current rules of drag racing, many owners have chosen to add weight to the cars over time in order to achieve a level of comfort. The carpet was a delete item on the A990, but it is rare to find an example today without it. This clone is faithful in a number of areas, including the lack of a rear seat, and the use of lightweight bucket seats in the front. The roll cage looks quite substantial and is said to be a factory style design.

With this Coronet, it most definitely not a case of “all show and no go.” The original engine has gone, but there is a thumping great Hemi under the hood. Starting life as a 426ci unit, it has now been enlarged to 472ci. It features a host of performance parts and is said to have been built by a gentleman who was crew chief to Richard Petty. No name is given, but the owner says that this monster took over a year to build, and cost in excess of $30,000. You have to ask whether it was worth the effort, or at least, you do until the owner quotes figures of 700hp +, and torque figures of 900 ft/lbs. Those are incredible figures, and it allows the Coronet to howl through the ¼ mile in 10.36 seconds on Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires. All of those ponies are fed via a heavy-duty 4-speed manual transmission to a DTS rear end. Brakes have also been suitably updated to cope with the workload.

If this Coronet was a real A990, in this condition, we would easily be talking about a car with a six-figure price tag. In fact, one sold at auction in early 2018 for $125,000, and that was considered to be a bit of a steal. Placing a value on a clone is far more difficult, but with a few having sold over the past 18 months for figures of between $45,000, and $60,000, that’s probably a fair indication of where this car sits.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Will Fox

    For what it is, I can’t fault this one ioda. It’s simply beautiful for a clone, and shows an extremely high level of attention to detail utilized here. OK, so the original Hemi is gone; what it has is probably much better in many mechanical aspects I’m not even aware of.
    Very nice. Whoever buys this is getting an attention-getter and a half!

    Like 18
    • Rodney

      As teams got “real” lightweight cars and started racing them I cannot imagine that there was particular attention paid to keeping the original block and heads in the car after an untimely explosion or grenading a motor. Must have been lots of swapping around.

      Like 12
    • Mountainwoodie

      Yoda says i o t a .

      But I agree with Will’s view but I wonder why go to the trouble? To me, clone equals fake. No two ways about it. Long before the attack of the clones , in the mid eighties, I had an acquaintance who took garden variety 67-69 Camaros and “turned” them into SS, RS and Indy cars.

      I thought it was a waste of time. Still do

      Like 3
      • Bruce Jackson

        THE DIFFERENCE IS 2.94 SECONDS IN THE 1/4 MILE TIME (and for the sake of clarity, the clone time being less than the original)…Can you go to your Chevy Dealer and get a 10.36 ET for $45-$60K?

        Who needs to go this fast? Probably not on the street, but according to Zero to 60 website–just as an example, a 2015 Nissan GTR Nismo turns the quarter in 10.8 seconds. I would PAY good money to see the expression on the GTR driver’s face after he got smoked by this “lowly” clone (and also a vehicle that is well over $100K new…).

        With the original, you lose to this GTR by 2.5 seconds (based on an original A 990 with a 426 Hemi and 4 Spd turning a 13.3 ET), and you got bragging rights to…what? I own an original?

        To that end, Ike’s comparison to a fake Picasso vs a real Picasso really doesn’t hold water. I offer a different and more real-world comparison: I have a modified 1969 Karmann Ghia that produces about 100-120 HP–nothing spectacular. But the original engine put out 53 HP…let’s just say, when I try to go up a hill, I don’t want someone timing me with a calendar!
        Beyond that which do you think probably looks better: original egg shell blue, or a dark teal metallic? And then maybe lower the stance a little?

        Here is my point: my modified Karmann Ghia still enjoys the classic KG styling, as does, respectively, the Dodge Coronet clone. But in both cases, we benefit significantly from upgraded performance capability. Nuf said.

        Like 19
    • Sandy Claws

      No, there was no original hemi, prob a poly 318 or more likely a 225 slant six. Poor little car, it is like Frankenstein, and twice as dangerous. This car will be a handful to drive on the street. Doubt it even idles at a stop light without revving it. I remember reading a Motor Trend, say 1963 or 1964, they drove an 11 to 1 compression dual carb cross intake, 426 wedge on the street in New York City. Said that outside of the drag strip it was no fun at all to drive, too many compromises.

      Like 3


    Like 11
  3. Ted

    I’m buying two tickets for LottoMax tonight, and when I win I’m buying this puppy whatever the cost. My Friday just got a lot better thanks to you guys posting this..

    Like 11
  4. Gaspumpchas

    Interesting- Have a friend who has a 64 fury lightweight- has a disclaimer sticker on the dash warning the driver that its a special Hi performance vehicle, and it might (!!!) Handle different than a normal car. Sticker is on the glovebox door right where the remnants of the sticker is on this one. Owner defininitely knows his stuff. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Good luck to the new owner. Worth every penny, ready to rotate the earth 1/4 mile at a time!

    Like 19
  5. Rodney

    As teams got “real” lightweight cars and started racing them I cannot imagine that there was particular attention paid to keeping the original block and heads in the car after an untimely explosion or grenading a motor. Must have been lots of swapping around.

    Like 1
    • Stillrunners

      The original cars morphed into altered wheelbase cars like some of the Z – 11 cars and by the late 60’s it was hard to tell what they were…..kinda why clones exist for the early pavement pounders.

      Like 1
  6. Morley Brown BrownMember

    This is the ONLY type of a Mopar I would buy. Rce car white, four speed, a real Hemi engine and most of all a 2 door post. I want it. The rest of that Mopar crap is just fluff. Boy I love this. . I think I had better call him. Morley

    Like 8
  7. 433jeff

    10.36 wow im sure the car doesnt know its a clone.some things are worth more than money

    Like 11
  8. NotSure

    For me I might want to add 1 airbag with all of those horses available.

    This is less about safety and more about me not being the only airbag in the car…

    Like 4
  9. Ike Onick

    As has been said before “A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing possible”. I don’t get what gets folks excited about these types. What is it about the terms “clone” or “tribute” that are used to try and legitimize a vehicle that is a flat out fake. Do art collectors purchase “clone” or “tribute” Picassos? As has also been stated before by many grouchy old guys such as the writer, I would prefer to get my 750+ from my local Chevy dealer . Each to his/her own.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      I like nostalgic style cars. What I don’t like is when someone tries to fabricate a preposterous story such as the one in the description in the eBay ad. I’d be surprised if whoever built it in this manner made those claims, it comes across as salesman mumbo jumbo. If I saw this car at a show or the track I’d stop and look at it. It’s not really a clone, with a bunch of added emblems, it also has too many new performance parts. As it sits, it’s just a cool car, it doesn’t need a fabricated story to make it interesting.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  10. cold340t

    Had a Client who owned one of these as a teenager. He bought it new. His was a 383/auto. with all lightweight parts. He lost track of it after selling it in early 70’s. Yes, I asked if if it was possible to find it. He checked with old friends. Nothing. This was @95′. Anyone see a 383/auto lightweight car? I can’t afford the HEMI ones. Love them though!

    Like 1
    • cunnanm

      Pretty sure he is a liar! I knew a Coronet 500 owner that told me his car had a 500 ci engine, even though it was a 318! lol

      Like 1
      • Jon Rappuhn

        LOL, yep my wife’s uncle (local dealer) used to get me tickets to the factory racer clinics, Sox & Martin, Dick Landy, etc for a couple of years. The factory lightweights (990 series) were only made in quantities of 90-100 to meet the NHRA, AHRA homulgation /sp/ requirements and all came with race-hemi’s, and the aluminum body parts were never sold to general public until 67 or so. Repos may have been available from aftermarket suppliers, not sure. On the other topic, I always like it when sellers, esp. used car sellers, don’t know of care what they advertise. I’ve seen many Coronet 440’s advertised as 440 engines with the old 318 or sometimes even the slant six shown in the pictures. LOL

        Like 1
  11. John D.

    Clones and Tributes serve the same purpose of reproduction artworks, they allow someone who can not afford the real thing to enjoy an almost real thing. The only issue one can have is if the reproduction, be it a car or a Picasso is attempted to be sold as the real thing. This seller is honorable and deserves to be compensated for his costs.

    This car most likely left the factory with the Leaning Tower of Power and he does point out the Hemi is valued at $30,000. I am sure the light weight parts, whether used, New Old Stock, or Reproduction are more parts priced at a premium. Based on the pictures, the rest of the work is immaculate. This car deserves to be priced at the top of the clone market.

    Like 9
    • Miguel

      The VIN does say it was a 6 cylinder Coronet originally.

      Like 1
  12. TortMember

    My favorite 2dr. Plymouth and Dodge sedans 62 thru 67. Liked the torqueflites over the 4 speeds but I could surely live
    with this one. Going through an old Hod Rod magazine a week or so ago and in the hot rod classified there was a factory lightweight for sale for 12 hundred dollars. The ad said the motor was hurt and needed to be rebuilt. I could have lived with that too!

    Like 3
  13. Greg

    I like it no matter the pedigree. Does anyone know if the originals were acid dipped to lighten the sheet metal? Or am I confusing them with other factory lightweights? I’m pretty sure these did have light weight glass and bumpers. If I could afford it, this would be a never ending project that I would thoroughly enjoy.

    Like 3
    • Jon Rappuhn

      The original A990 cars that I had been fortunate to be around back in the day, we’re aluminum, with non-safety glass (plastic) windows. You had to be very careful around the front ends as even leaning on them would leave dents.

      Like 3
      • TortMember

        I’m fairly certain that Chrysler Corp. sold them strictly for drag racing and not legal for the street.

        Like 1
      • Sandy Claws

        Tort, my guess is that back then, money talked just as loudly as it does today. Wave enough Benjamins in the air and the wind changes in your direction. I was too young to drive in the early sixties, but that is my impression of those times. I knew a rich guy years ago who used to wave his money around and say, “Where there is a BILL there is a way!”, and he usually got his way, no matter what he wanted thanks to Grandpa’s money.

        Like 3
  14. Quentin Willson

    As a motoring journalist in the UK I’m mightily impressed by the hard-core, ocean-going passion of you guys and your awesome knowledge. That Coronet is a great car – clone or not – and would cost an easy $100k to build from scratch. We get too hung up by originality and sometimes forget that driving these cars (fast) is what’s important. Buy the Coronet, because life’s too short and don’t ever stop having these wonderful conversations! My small piece of America is a 641/2 260 Mustang Convertible. It brings sunshine to every day. Keep up the passion…..

    Like 1
  15. RITON

    Do I see 4 drum brakes???

    Like 0
    • jamesMember

      Appears to be front disc/rear drum.

      Like 1
  16. Troy s

    I like the old Super Stock and A/FX drag cars from back then, regardless of brand. This here Dodge is a strong reminder that often times less is more, the simple plainness of these is frightening. Without any big racing stripes or fancy colors, without any expensive shiny mags or fancy interior this old Mopar has a wickedness about it all its own. There’s no hiding that.

    Like 3
  17. Barney

    Wow, people attacking a tribute or clone. I really don’t see the difference between this car and my 50 Fird delivery with a pumped 351 in it. They are both hot rods. The price seems about right for a hot rod that looks this good and does the quarter in the tens.

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      “Attack” is a little over the top Barney. The question was why is the term “Clone” acceptable and what does it mean? Follow the money Barney. IMO tagging something a “Clone” or “tribute” is just a bull$hit ploy to milk some more cash from a buyer.And I do agree-in the end they are all just Hot Rods.

      Like 1
      • Barney

        I view the use of the terms tribute or clone a little differently. I see it as a way to honestly describe a copy of a real example. The first car I recall that was cloned was the 65/66 Shelbys. They were so easy to copy that with out that description they could be incorrectly identified as the real thing. Those cars aren’t necessarily a bad thing either. Not many can afford a real 66 GT350 but they can have a nice copy that will look and preform as well as the original for a third of the price

        Like 2
  18. Dan Almashy

    Clone or not, these cars were just cool for their time and are getting all the attention these days because everyone already has had a 57 Chevy or a Mustang. These cars just look cool and because of rarity, they get a lot of looks at cruise ins and car shows, as well as at the local drag strips today as the Nostalgia SS groups put on actual drag racing displays where they are actually racing for the bragging rights to the delight of fans in the stands. I love them. I wouldn’t waste my time with buying a car off the dealers lot these days only to get a car that looks like every other car on the road. Maybe I can win a lottery tonight and get this thing before it’s gone.LOL. I’m adding one of my friends car as a sample.

    Like 3
  19. Dave

    All depends on what you want to do with it. Wanna go vintage bracket or grudge racing, this is your entry point. Wanna show it off at cruise nights, here you go. Wanna do all of the above p!us drive it every day or on vacation? Depends on how much of a masochist you are. Wanna do all of the above in modern comfort and safety? You can buy it at your local dealer with a warranty.

    That said, it’s a good looking clone.

    Like 3
  20. Keruth

    Wow, simply wow!
    Dad bought one of these, slant-n-slush, rotted out the cowl panel in 2 yrs.
    Oh, and reserve not met at $43k.
    That cross ram wasn’t available to J.Q. Public back then, unless you were factory racer! (cousin ran later Mopar’s).
    Still, just wow!

    Like 0

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