Drive While You Restore: 1965 Dodge Coronet

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Chrysler made a blunder in 1962 by downsizing their Dodge and Plymouth full-size cars, thinking that General Motors had the same thing in mind. They didn’t. And sales would suffer until they could regroup and fashion some bigger cars out of the existing parts bin. By 1965, the Dodge Polara was a new full-size automobile and they applied what was now a “mid-size” platform to the reincarnated Coronet, like the seller’s car. Located in Poughkeepsie, New York, this driver-quality hardtop is mostly original, and you could take your time planning a restoration. This Mopar is available here on eBay where you can buy it now for $9,700 or submit a reasonable offer.

The Coronet name, which implies a type of crown worn by royalty, was a staple at Dodge from 1949 to 1959. Then it returned to the intermediates from 1965 to 1976. The decision to bring it back in 1965 was a popular one as it would be the car builder’s top-selling automobile that year. There were four trim levels:  the base Coronet, the Coronet Deluxe, the Coronet 440, and the top-of-the-line Coronet 500. Neither the 440 nor 500 names had anything to do with engine displacement, a common assumption, and a marketing ploy.

This pillarless edition of the 440 was one of more than 23,000 copies built. The most ordered motor was the 318 cubic inch “Poly” V8. We’re told the one in this car is it’s original, but it may have been reworked as it wears a shiny new coat of paint. Both it and the transmission are said to be fine with no leaks or other issues. It’s a “southern survivor” though being from the South doesn’t mean it’s exempt from rust. There’s just a bit of it under some of the chrome trim. And the once-red paint is rather faded.

The interior may be the place to start first. Both sets of seat covers are old, stiff, and tearing, so they’ll need to be reupholstered along with the dash pad and carpeting. It sports a newer set of Cragar SS wheels and tires, giving it something of a “Hemi Car” look. The odometer says 25,000 miles, but that can’t be confirmed as being anywhere near accurate. The seller, who is also a dealer, has provided this video to help you judge his wares.

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  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    To me,the front end of these is about the most
    generic looking of any car built in ’64,while they did a great
    job on the back.
    While driving through Martinsville,VA this last Summer,
    one of these caught my eye,so I went back to take a look.Turned
    out there was a restoration shop next door,& met the owner who
    showed me around.
    I guess if you could get this for $9700,it wouldn’t be too bad
    of a price in today’s market.


    Like 11
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Yes siree, another blast from the past. Remember Johnny across the alley, that had the red Fiat, then the Barracuda? This was his next car, only white and it had bucket seats and an automatic console shift. We all thought it was a frumpy car compared to his last, that were sporty. Naturally, in true teenage fashion, he beat the crap out of it, and it never failed. Not a fancy car, or a fast car by any means, styling a bit unusual, which is why Johnny liked it, I’m sure, but it was okay to be a bit odd with your cars. Lord knows, I was. It’s fun to see again, this is what America drove, when Dodge made cars, and darned good ones too.

    Like 14
    • scooter8

      first Mope i owned was a 70 Super B. ugly to some. say that to me and i’d pop ya. had a hole shot accident hit two cars. sat there idling; ready for more. cop said you must have custom bumpers? glanced off a chevy fender. totaled a maverick..plum crazy Christine?

      Like 4
    • Grizzly

      I had a ’65 Dodge Coronet 500 with the buckets and the automatic console shift!!! How I wish I had kept that car now that I can afford to restore it correctly. Wasn’t fast but it was a unique and a well built car!!!!

      Like 4
  3. Paul

    Love these and the Plymouth Fury’s with the same body style! Needs a nice wedge motor dropped in it.
    Not sure about that video but the foot dragging kinda confirmed that there is a Bigfoot! Probably a great buy on a not so muscle car.

    Like 4
  4. Coffee49

    Mopars are as reliable as any of the ford or gm’s if taken care of. I picked up a 73 duster for $500, put a manual choke on the 318 and it was very reliable, 2 years later sold it for $500 the 318 was going in a dodge pick up

    Like 5
    • William

      Lifetime mopar driver here. Yup on the manual choke…to start you floor it or dont touch the gas. That auto choke would flood it every time….anyway that coronet is beautiful. If I had the cash I would buy it today.

      Like 0
  5. Tntbird

    I can’t help but wonder why such a great period piece won’t bring twice the asking.
    The faceted roof and stunning rear glass.
    These cars are a dream to cruise in and can easily handle the biggest v8 money can buy.

    Like 15
  6. Rick Rutherford

    We had a ‘63 Dodge 440 with a 318 and three-on-the-tree. It served us well for 5+ years, including 4 years of college. It could handle the monthly 800 mile round trip from college to home with ease, running the length of Oregon’s highway 97 at 80-85 (this was the early 70’s) and getting 21 mpg in the process. I put a Wiand 4-barrel intake with what was likely a 780 Holley. Way too much, I know, but I did learn a great deal about making it work. The only issue we had was it blowing heater cores each fall, which we couldn’t afford to fix during school. If you know the weather in Klamath Falls you know it was a big deal. All in all, though, fond memories.

    Like 7
  7. Robt

    Nice basic mid 60’s with potential to take it any direction with upgrades.
    Or just drive the wheels off it as is.

    Like 6
    • Robt

      The fact that a dealer is selling it reminds me of being a kid and checking used car lots back in the day to see what they might have as a slow seller in the back of the lot.

      Like 13
      • DON

        That’s how I ended up with my Duster 340. When I was 17, my ’72 225 Duster was totaled by a drunk driver in a new Caddy , I went to our local Chrysler Plymouth dealership to see what they had. The whole front line was all Volare’s and Cordoba’s ,so I asked the salesman if he had any Valiant’s or Dusters – He kind of made a frown, and said they had one, and it was around the back of the dealership ; a 73 340 Duster ! I knew I was buying it before I got near it , and still own it today.

        Like 23
  8. Mike

    My brother bought 2 cars at Mr Norm’s. The 2nd one a 65 post model 426 single quad, 4 speed. He put in a radical Isky cam. He said the only car’s he had trouble with were Tri-power goats.

    Like 7
  9. Neal Jacobsen

    I used to lie in bed and listen to WLS am radio station out of Chicago. I suppose I was 13 or 14 and they had all the current rock and roll songs of the day. And Mr.Norms car dealership must have been a big supporter cause that was only commercial I remember. Thank you for bringing that up and allowing a now old man a trip through memory lane!

    Like 14
    • OldsMan

      I too remember listening Mr. Norms “Grand Spaulding Dodge” ads on WLS….WLS, KOMA in Oklahoma City and KAAY in Little Rock filled the night time airways in Nebraska as a kid-along with KOIL in Omaha. I hated the 62-65 midsize Mopar‘s back then- today I love them- a 63 Fury and any long roof will eventually make it into my garage

      Like 5
      • Oldtrips

        Larry Lujack was the disc jockey on WLS! I did the same. They also did the ads for the local drag strips. US 30, Sante Fe Speedway and Great Lakes Dragaway…in and around Chicago

        Like 6
    • michael

      WLS at that time fifty thousand watt powerhouse. I assume it reached many states across the country.

      Like 3
  10. Bob

    In the early 70’s my brother had a Plymouth Belvedere with the same style top. The 383, 4 speed would keep up with my 390, 4 speed Galaxy 500 Fastback.
    I liked his car as much as mine.

    Like 6
    • Mike

      My 1st. car a 1967 used Charger 383 auto. Later I found out that engine was 345 hp. My brother influenced me to be a mopar guy. I always wanted a CUDA.

      Like 1
  11. John bales

    Thank you. Listening to wls plowing feilds in Vermillion county Indiana back in the late 70 on a John Deere tractor with am radio. It was better than any fm station in western Indiana

    Like 0
    • Neal Jacobsen

      I am so glad to hear this as I too listened to WLS and Mr. Norms. South Central Minnesota was where I’m from and during the day I couldn’t get it to come in. But OH, the nights around 7:30 I was listening to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc, will doing my homework. I couldn’t tell you about English or Geometry but I knew every word to just about everything they played!!! All the time dreaming about driving a ’65 GTO TRI power w/4 speed!!!

      Like 0
  12. wizweird

    My brother went out and got a brand new Plymouth superbird with the 440 6 pak. We put manual linkage on the carbs, a set of headers, and, Mallory dual point ignition system on it. The only problem with that car was you could put it sideways nailing third gear. The cops always gave him problems because he didn’t have a front license plate! He said it’s 20 ft long, has a two foot tall wing on the back, and is competition orange! What, you can’t see it, or what?

    Like 0

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