Desert Find: 1966 Dodge Polara Hardtop

What’s in a name? Well, with cars, a name often evokes speed, strength or power. Space-age themes frequently figure into nomenclature too, for example, Plymouth Satellite, Mercury Meteor, Chevrolet Nova, Ford Galaxie, Saturn, and today’s barn find, a Dodge Polara (as in the Polaris star). This Polara is located in Phoenix, Arizona and is available here on craigslist for $2,500. Thanks to Paul G for the tip.

Dodge first used use the Polara name in ’60 and continued with it through ’73. By ’66, it was Dodge’s bread and butter full-size model, positioned just below the Monaco which was Dodge’s luxury entrant. Body styles included a two-door hardtop, a convertible, a four-door hardtop, a four-door sedan, and a station wagon. There was also a Polara “500” (sportier model) that came as a two or four-door hardtop and a convertible. If there was a pinnacle year for domestic automobile styling, I’d have to say ’66 was it – everyone seemed to get it right.

Taking a closer look at our subject Polara’s listing we find this statement: MUST GO! WE NEED THIS OFF THE YARD – make me an offer! There you go, that’s it. I like to delve into mechanics but I can’t with this example as all the listing tells us is that this Polara possesses a V8 engine. There are no available images so I imagine it’s either a 318 or a 383 CI, two-barrel carburetor equipped version; no indication if it runs. There were two optional engines available too in ’66, a 383 CI engine with a four-barrel carburetor and a new for ’66, 440 CI motor. Transmission duty is handled by a three-speed automatic TorqueFlite.

The interior of this Polara is pretty shot. The dash is cracked, the driver’s seat is down to the springs, the carpet is gone (you can get a good look at the floor) and the door cards are missing or trashed. The instrument panel looks intact but no word if any of it is operable. As has been the case recently, there is the required (I guess by law?) box of “something” positioned on the front passenger seat.

The body of this Dodge actually looks pretty solid. There is no visible rust or misaligned body panels, just a slight dent the front left fender. As mentioned at the outset, this Dodge is in Phoenix so if it has been there most of its life that may explain the lack of exterior deterioration and the interior destruction. This image of the open trunk, as best as can be seen, shows what appears to be complete and intact metalwork. The price of this Polara is reasonable, definitely a lot of value in parts but it may be operable as a complete and running car with an investment in the interior and what, if anything, is needed under the hood. All in all, it doesn’t look too bad, it just appears that it has been out in the hot Arizona sun for some extended time. This Dodge, I think, is worth investigating further, especially since it, “MUST GO! WE NEED THIS OFF THE YARD – make me an offer!” That’s a pretty strong come-on, what do you think?

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  1. flmikey

    The VIN shows it’s a G code…383 2 barrel…great solid engine…looks like a good solid project for a mopar fan…and might be had for less than 2000 clams…

  2. CCFisher

    Is the rear window missing, or is a trick of the camera?

  3. Steve Brown

    Looks like that might be the door cards and the rear glass in the trunk.

    • Bob C.

      Looking closely, it does look like the glass is out, and the inside trim or headliner is missing.

  4. Snotty Member

    Almost bought a 66 Monaco 500, out of the mountains of Colorado. 440 4bbl. twin snorkel, bucket seat console floor shift car.The long winters and plentiful snow, had took its toll on the body. No choice other than to use salt on the roads for safety. A few years later I came across a very clean “lil ole lady” owned 66 Newport low mileage, 383 4bbl. Great car strong performer even in Chrysler’s big C-body platform same as this Dodge,also the Plymouth Fury. Ma mopars early 318’s are a hi revving little dynamo, a 383 4bbl. would be a nice smile provoking option.

  5. Mark

    Nice car. My dad had a 4 door 66 Polara from 1972-74. Same blue.

    Bought from a friend of his with 90,000 miles and a new long block 318 V-8.

    30,000 miles later it needed a valve job. With a little persuasion I got him to live big and get a newer car. He bought a 74 Ford

    We both agreed later we missed the Polara.

  6. FordGuy1972

    Definitely a bargain basement project that can be had for less than the ask, maybe a lot less. It looks like a solid car and maybe whatever is in the engine bay can be revived. The interior is another matter, that’s really shot to hell and gone. The seller sounds desperate, he wants this car gone. Desperation in a “for sale” ad just tells potential buyers they can low-ball you. Not smart. Pretty dumb, actually.

  7. Dave

    My guess is that the car’s owner stopped paying on the storage spot and now after failing to connect the storage yard owner wants it gone. I have no idea about how you’d go about getting a title for it. “Come get it” sounds great but can be a recipe for a paperwork fiasco and unexpected legal expenses.

  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    I just resurrected a C-body Chrysler, a ’67 Newport coupe. I love the car, it’s a great cruiser, and last month I took it up to 100mph (about 135 knots). My car cost $1250, had a great interior, and then I’ve put about $6000 in to the mechanical refurbishment and some other stuff, with me doing most of the work.

    SO, this Polara will need an interior, and probably a similar amount of money spent on mechanicals, so in no time flat the Polara will be at 10 grand, and that doesn’t make sense, does it? Better to find a car that’s road-ready for 12 grand and start enjoying the thing right away. I should have done that with my Newport, but I’m a sucker for a forlorn old car.

    • Kellerg

      That’s what the old car hobby was before all the jacked up prices. Instead of buying a car for the “investment potential” we would buy cars that we liked, repair them and KEEP them. It really didn’t matter the cost. We kept them alive for the pure enjoyment of the selected car. Too bad times have changed so much…

  9. Howard A Member

    I always liked the ’66 Polara. The old man had a ’66 wagon that almost burnt to the ground going up Monteagle Hill pulling our travel trailer when I was a kid. The old man never bought another Chrysler product after that. One year only car makes it desirable, kind of. For reference, a good way to tell a Chrysler motor, 318 had the distributor in the back, 383 had it on an angle in the front. Not the zing of a ’66 Charger, which I believe stole the thunder in ’66, putting this car out to pasture, but not sure many see it that way today. Now, if it was already pristine, way different story, I just don’t know if there’s enough interest to restore it. I mean, it sat this long. Being a 2 door helps a lot. Neat find.

  10. Jon B

    318…high revving if you consider 4500 rpm high revving.

  11. Andrew Franks

    Save it and drive it. You won’t be disappointed.

  12. moosie moosie Member

    Vin.# ( DL23G63216149 ) in the craigslist listing shows a “G” that makes it a 383 C I D . The body looks reasonably straight and rust free, I would call that a plus along with the low price. Dicker the price down, buy it, get it running if possible and clean it up interior wise, find a rear glass to keep the scorpions and black widows out and enjoy it.

  13. Dave

    a non rusted to death Mopar at a great price. Where are the haters now?
    great deal for sure

  14. TimM

    Yeah another old Chrysler product that’s not going to break the bank!! Is there a trend happening here???

  15. Pete in PA

    The base engine on the whole full size Dodge line was the 383 2 bbl. From there you could upgrade to the 383 4 bbl or the 440. That’s for US market cars. Things were different in Canada where you could even get a slant 6. If nothing else this car would be an awesome sheetmetal donor for a rusty project. If it was a 66 Fury coupe I’d be thinking about it!

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