Bought from Mr. Norm’s: 1966 Dodge Coronet HEMI

There’s some surprising history attached to this beater Coronet, which has all the trappings of a car that’s been completely ravaged by time. You’d be wrong, however: according to the seller, this Coronet comes with its never-removed 426 Hemi engine and factory 4-speed transmission. To make it even more intriguing, this Coronet was sold new by the legendary dealer Mr. Norm’s, which was tied closely to the drag racing community. Find the Coronet here on eBay with a suggested opening bid of $21,000.

The story of this Coronet is mildly fascinating and would surely add to its value if it can be proven. The seller claims it was sold by Mr. Norm’s to the father of an NHRA driver, and subsequently burned in a garage fire. Somehow, there was enough left to salvage that it was converted to track use as a stock car, which blows my mind considering heat damage generally weakens structures fairly soundly.

Perhaps the garage fire only singed the car, but enough that insurance decided to total it. The Coronet was converted to track use but the seller notes it was later banned due to the ongoing feud between NASCAR and Chrysler over the powerful Hemi engine. The Coronet was parked in  ’67, and stayed there until the seller was able to purchase it. It still bears the hallmarks of racing, including a full safety cage.

I’m still amazed the engine and transmission are still original to the car, but a claim like that can be easily debunked – so there’s potentially little reason to doubt it. The seller notes some other hop-up parts include a Franklin magnesium rear end and Franklin hubs at all four corners. There’s a lot of history here, and I’d love to see this Coronet restored like the Daytona 500-winning Ford Fairlane of Al Unser, Jr.

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Comments

  1. CapNemo

    Fire usually will weaken things, but the installation of a cage is probably bringing a decent amount of structural rigidity back to it. Enough to see it thru track duty anyways. Cool car!

    6
  2. Darrun

    Cool Car. It definately lived in the days of “Rubbin’ is Racin”

    5
  3. Alan Brase

    I think you are wrong about fire making steel weaker. It certainly does DURING the fire. But once it cools, I think the tensile strength is the same. What is changed is the hardness. And that might be a problem with pressings which gained stiffness from work hardening when formed. Not as much of a factor with mild steel used in older cars as in higher strength steels of today Refinishing by planishing might return some of that and getting the wrinkles out of heat deformed outer body panels might not be cost effective.

    6
    • CapNemo

      Darn smart people! I like beer.

      24
      • stanley kwiecinski

        Alan B. hurt my head with his naught double naught cipherin’! Heading to the fridge for a PBR.

        1
    • Bodyman68

      Yeah right ya might want to re think that theory as the metal loses its strength from the heat and i know that from years of burnt cars and body work since the early 80s . If the panels warped from a fire its junk especially roof pillars hoods, trunks and so on . I have tried with plenty of burnt parts some ok but never right and most no luck. If its a minor fire you have half a chance ,but a totaled fire good luck

      3
  4. JohnD

    The hemi, if correct, is way cool. I don’t know what Nascar has to do with dirt tracks. And that cage is NO Nascar cage. Small town dirt track car with a cool motor.

    11
    • Steve S

      If this car did race in Nascar. Did any body read that Nascar ban it from racing because of the hemi engine. All Mopar cars was ban from racing because the hemi engine had to much power and speed. Because no other car could beat them. The only cars that really had a chance to keep up with the hemi engine was the Ford 427 through 429. Plus the add says that the father of a drag racer originally bought the car from the dealer. So he could of been a drag racer as well considering how it was built but I’m only guessing about that since it doesn’t say any about being a drag car

      1
      • PatrickM

        Right. This car not drag racer, in its current form. Paved oval tracker.

  5. notme

    Frank-land

    1
    • CapNemo

      Can I be frank? No, you were frank last time. But you always get to be frank! Frankly my dear……..

      2
  6. Superdessucke

    I’d love to see the look on the winning bidder’s wife’s face, both when she first sees it And after he tells her he paid 35,000 for it, or whatever crazy number it ends up at!

    10
    • TJohnson

      Don’t forget you’ll have sales tax, and whatever a divorce costs these days on top of the sale price! (Bet you get the car in the settlement… but that’s about it!!!)

      7
      • Superdessucke

        I am no divorce lawyer but I can guarantee you the winning bidder is going to end up with the car in the divorce, and probably not a whole lot else.

        3
  7. Joe Machado

    Had to go get a Ferrari. What did I miss?
    See the old distributer.
    Front bumper is a Charger rear. Do not turn it into a Ford. The Hemi would be too much power for it.
    Love the old race cars. STOCK Car Racin’.
    New stock cars today could not take the abuse.

    2
    • Barry L Klotz

      None of the cars today could withstand 1% of what the AMERICAN built cars were able to take. They’re made to be deposed of if in any kind of crash.

      1
    • Chris M.

      Cool Joe!! Tell us all about it!

  8. Keith

    Wow!?

  9. Bob

    bet the guy only paid like 500 bucks for it or even got it for free and now asking 21k LOL ok what ever

    5
  10. Alan Brase

    Keep in mind, street hemis had 2-4bbl. Hard to find a single 4. Unless it’s a NASCAR motor.

    2
  11. gbvette62

    I’d be interested to know a little more about the history of this car, where it raced and with what sanctioning body. From the way it was built, and the seller’s comments, I assume it was just a local Saturday night short track racer, and probably doesn’t have any real significant racing history. This is especially true if it only raced one season. Old stock cars, especially local short track ones, don’t have the following, or value, that vintage sports cars and road racers do.

    I’m not really sure what the NASCAR ban has to do with this car, since the Hemi ban was for the 65 NASCAR season, and was rescinded by the summer of 65, allowing the Hemi’s to compete again in 66.

    The link to “the Daytona 500-winning Ford Fairlane of Al Unser, Jr.”, is actually about the 67 Fairlane that Mario Andretti won the 67 Daytona 500 with, not little Al (Unser was only 5 or 6 in 67).

    7
    • Bryan W Cohn

      gbvette62, I was wondering how many posts it might take before someone corrected the writers hilarious error. 18. Eighteen posts before you came along and corrected the grievous error. Not that Al Jr. wouldn’t want a Daytona 500 win under his belt to go with his two Indy 500’s, but at 5 for the ’67 Daytona 500 he’d have been one hell of a young prodigy! :)

  12. Rube Goldberg

    $21g’s? Clearly didn’t route the exhaust properly. This is nothing more than a “good ol’ boys” stock car, Mr. Norm has not much to do with it. Way to catch the performance people, as Mr. Norm was the king, but not of dirt tracks. I helped my ex-brother in law race a ’65 Chevy at Hales Corners Speedway near Milwaukee, years ago ( now a Menards) it was a lot of fun, and don’t be fooled, they may look ratty on the outside, but really are pretty neatly engineered racers, especially coming from “Backyard, USA”. $21g’s,,,good one.

    3
    • Camaro guy

      Went to that track many times when i was a kid, modified’s, sportsman, then late models and sportsman, my son raced Hales Whales there until it closed and turned into a Menards, now I live right across the street from there. Still miss that track lot of fun times there.

      1
  13. AMCFAN

    Yeah my old Dodge was sold to me by Mr Norm too. You remember Norm Fields? …….He sold Fords for years then started selling for the local Chrysler Fiat dealer.
    Too funny. About as funny for someone to actually spend what this dreamer is wanting to cash in for. Before someone dips into their retirement should want to see real documentation. Good luck on this empty burned shell with a homemade cage and Hemi. No thinks.

    3
    • stanley kwiecinski

      Looks as sad as Mr. Norms Grand Spaulding Dodge dealer ship. Ride past 3 times a week. Show room has been boarded up for years! Car lot/mechanic garage; construction equipment lease? Kawi/custom van warehouse across the street; leveled. burned down by squatters! Had two bros’ worked their at different times. Went with our dad for a used car, I saw 500 chargers. they stick out for some reason etc. etc. dad bought a 64 Merc? with power back window. I guess to keep us amused?Dad co-signed for my oldest brothers 66 belvedere Hemi 4spd. Bro defaulted dad used the poor Hemi as a daily driver to work. My biggest thrill was a 4HP mini bike back then!

      1
  14. Troy s

    Seems it may have come in violation with the local track rules, wherever that may have been, for whatever reason. I don’t get the feeling this was ever out there competing with the big time Nascar boys. It’s a neat old stock car that wears its battle scars proudly, but it’s not like it was ordered through Grand Spaulding Dodge to be a race car. That’s too much money for what it is, in my humble opinion.

    2
  15. stillrunners

    Belive dirt tracks were limited on cubic inches…..any way kinda hard to wind up a hemi car while sliding through the turns….maybe explain the body work.

    Need to get my D-500 dirt track stocker back moving……

    2
  16. Joe Machado

    Ok, I give. What year is the D500? Son has 3 factory D500’s. 2 1960 Polara converts and a 1960 Polara 9 passenger wagon that was an export to Mexico City.
    One of the converts is the Pilot car, St Louis

  17. Rube Goldberg

    Here’s what this car looked like when new. Apparently only 205 had hemi 4 speeds.What kind of nimrod would reduce it to this hulk?
    http://www.newportclassiccars.com/car-db/1966-dodge-coronet

    5
    • PatrickM

      Yeah, that was nice looking…unlike the current subject up for debate.

  18. IkeyHeyman Member

    If it was driven by Junior Johnson, I could see asking 21 grand, but Jim Zimbo? Don’t think so.

    4
  19. JACKinNWPA Member

    Leave it like it is, take it to shows and count the number of people that shake there heads.

    3
  20. Ken Smith

    Agree with others, I don’t think this car ever had any connection to NASCAR. Looks like a local short track dirt car that saw plenty of “racin’ is rubbin” action!

    2
  21. Jake Jake Member

    Can’t polish this turd. It was a nice car at one point in its existence. What a shame. It’s like the guy who took my uncle’s mint 1969 Camaro, and hacked it up to put it on the drag strip, y’ought to be waterboarded.

    2
    • PatrickM

      Polishing one can be done. but, it still is one. Like lipstick on a pig.

  22. Lance

    More like bought from Mr. Norm Peterson for beer money.

    6
  23. Joe Machado

    Failed Nascar inspection. No gussets anywhere.

  24. Del

    As if things are not crazy enough.

    A demolition derby car for new car money.

    Get a grip. Junk

    4
    • PatrickM

      I totally agree. Demolition Derby once and cart it off to the crusher to finish the job. And, if you do that, you pay for it four times: (1) buy the car, (2) entry fees for said derby, (3) towing costs to crusher, (4) pay to have it crushed. Now, what was that about not costing very much?

      1
  25. steve

    The 426 in this car must have been the street version. The full race version had two Holley 4 barrels and would not run on just one….

    • Troy s

      Steve, Those Hemis gave it pretty good in NASCAR with only one four barrel carburetor, just ask all the guys who raced Fords. No multiple carbs allowed. Cross ram dual quad race Hemi was for draggin’.

  26. James

    I can’t imagine anyone bidding on this vehicle. I don’t think that even a junkyard would want it! Not worth $300 let alone $21,000.

    1
  27. TimM

    Seems to me the car is worth the motor and transmission!! That’s a lot of money to me for these items!! Then rebuilding them and finding a good shell to put them in!! We have all seen the ridiculous amounts of money being paid for the shells here and most of them not that nice!! It just seems to me like another upside down project waiting to be started!!!

  28. Steve S

    Another thing this car could have ran on dirt tracks in Nascar. Since the last Nascar race on dirt was some time in 1970. Until the Nascar Craftsman truck series started racing at eldora dirt track in 2013. Plus when Nascar first started they was racing on sand at Daytona on the beach and probably other places they could find to race. Since they didn’t have the asphalt tracks until the 50s or 60s or when ever asphalt tracks came around.

  29. JEFF

    c mon guys a couple gallon cans of DURAGLASS she b good as new QUIT WHINNIN START GRINDIN

  30. Hemidave

    Don’t apply today’s race rules or sense to 1966. Rollcage design and rules were in their infancy at that time. That single 4 bbl intake was available over the counter from Chrysler. Now sells on eBay for 500 bucks. If the engine is not water cracked anywhere, it’s worth about 15k, the 18 spline 4 speed behind it is worth 2k and the bellhousing is worth 2500, add the Frankland maybe 1500? It’s not a car for me but someone will step up.

  31. MarkM

    I’d bet $1,000 to a donut that this car was never a NASCAR Grand National racer. For one thing, a quick change rear end has never been NASCAR legal, (except in the old days in the Modified Series, & I think in the Truck Series at first). The hubs are not GN, (Grand National), legal. And the roll cage & front clip are not what was ran by Mopar racers back in the 60s either. There’s enough info out their about the cars as raced to prove this was just a cobbled together local “weekend warrior” short track car at best. I grew up in the Charlotte NC area & knew many of the drivers, (both short track & NASCAR), from the area, got to hang out at the shops, & saw these cars up close & personal in the exact time frame it would have allegedly ran in the GN series..

    I can recall many Chevies, Fords & Mopars racing at local short tracks in the late 60s into the 70s that would have looked just like this one does. It’s quite literally a homemade short tracker. But it ain’t a GN car & it never was.

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