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Dusty Dodge: 1962 Dodge Polara 500

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Front

Most barn finds need considerable work to get road worthy again after decades of sitting, but not this find that reader James M sent in. James found this 1962 Dodge Polara 500 sitting in a little old ladies garage in a small Arizona town and all it needed was a good cleaning. Here is the tale in James’ own words:

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Side

I’m a Union Insulator, so I travel a lot for work. At one of the job sites, I have a friend that I’ve gotten to know over the years. He and I talk about cars quite a bit and a few years ago he told me about a Mopar owned by an older woman he did maintenance for. I asked if it was for sale and he said no, she won’t part with it, but he had taken some pictures to show me anyway. They weren’t very good. The car was tucked away in a dirty old shed with not much light.  I sent the pictures to my wife, who said don’t you dare buy that ugly old thing! So I explained that even though I would like to have it, it wasn’t for sale. So I just forgot about it.

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Dash

A few months ago, I was at this job again and my friend came to me saying that he thought she wanted to sell. So I went out to meet this feisty 83 year old woman. She was very friendly but hesitant. She told me that this was the first car that she and her husband bought brand new in 1962 in San Diego, California. It was purchased as their first car after they got married. Later it was brought to Arizona when they moved in 1984. She said her husband loved that car and he drove it everywhere. He was an avid fisherman and towed his boat with his car too. After her husband died in 1999, she couldn’t part with it and just tucked it away. The car had been sitting for 12 years.

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Front Seats

I finally asked her how much she wanted and she kept saying she didn’t know how much it was worth and that she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to part with it. It held so much sentimental value, I didn’t think she was going to go through with it. She finally said give me an offer so I blurted out $1000. I had no clue what else to say. She looked at me and said no that’s not enough, so I told her that she had to give me a price. Then she said to me, is $2000 to much? I said I’ll take it!

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Back Seats

I shook her hand and left with the friend. I got home that Friday and told my wife, who was really annoyed and kept telling me how dumb and crazy I was. After she decided not to kill me and calmed down, I told her I was going immediately to get it. The next morning I hooked up my trailer and took her with me to Dudleyville Arizona, a tiny little town close to where she grew up. (Turns out her younger brother knew who the woman was, but my wife didn’t). We met my friend at his house then drove over to her home. The lady was quiet at first but once my wife started to talk to her, she seemed to lighten up. While we started to load the car, she and my wife walked to her house and went inside to take care of the title and to give her the money.

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Rear

Later my wife told me of their conversation. She told my wife she was selling it to me because she felt that I would take good care of it. She didn’t feel that her children would, that they would just sell it or destroy it.  Once we were done loading it, we went inside and chatted with her for quite awhile. We said thank you and we left to drive the three hours back home. The car was dirty so we stopped and washed it off and wiped down the seats at a car wash in Catalina Arizona. I had to see what it really looked like. I was amazed at its condition and so was my wife. We got it home and I’ve had it for about 4 months now. I have only fixed the cooling issues and put different tires and wheels on, otherwise the car is original! I won’t change anything else to this survivor car. I’m definitely proud to own it!

We think James made a great discovery with this car. Good luck James and thanks for sharing your find with us.


  1. Pat T

    Awsome story.

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    What a great story!!! Should you ever need to sell it PLEASE let me know.

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    • Charles Brackner

      I have a 4 door polara with the 361. It is white also. good shape. I have had it for about 20 years. It is priced at $10,000 give me a call or email. I am in Alabama.

      Like 1
  3. Pete

    Wow. If no one else will say it, ‘ Parked in her rickety old garage, was a (like) brand new bright (white ) super (clean ) Dodge ‘ – he got the little old lady from Pasadena’s Dodge (almost) !!! Beautiful !

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  4. Marie

    GREAT STORY!!. . .and GREAT FIND!! Enjoyed the photos, and I must say this is quite a UNIQUE and BEAUTIFUL car!! I’m sure your wife doesn’t think you’re ‘crazy’ anymore. :)

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  5. bill

    What a find!! Outstanding! Love those 62 Polaras!

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  6. Moon

    Thank you!

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  7. Joshua Calloway

    So that is the ORIGINAL white upholstery??? Amazing it stayed white all those years it was driven until’99! What engine does it have?

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  8. MP in NC

    Gee wiz, no disrespect, but couldn’t you leave the original wheels on the car? It’s not going to handle even with wider tires. Having the originals would make it look suh-weet and keep it all original.

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  9. pat phillips

    would be very interested if the 62 is for sale thank you

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  10. Bill Kuehner

    Back in my much younger days I used to race a 1962 500…We won a ton of races back then….Maybe some day I will find another one like you found this one

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  11. Benny E Sanchez

    I have a 62 polara 500 (65K miles) in New Mexico, it was my mothers. I stopped driving it in 1980. It is pretty complete. I will Sell it. Make me an offer. details bensanch@q.com

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  12. Kevin

    Now this is a American classic this is the car to buy

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  13. #3

    ’62 Polara was my first car. There wasn’t another one like it in the city. Everyone knew it was me. It was primer gray. At one time, Dad sprayed black paint behind the rear wheels… to make it look like it was going fast! LOL! Mom made him remove it. Oh the memories this car brings back.

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  14. kevin

    now this is a find not a studabaker for sure i have drove these and ya ya ya great car your a lucky person to own this. in great shape for sure

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  15. Dean Etter

    The ’62 look’s great! But those after market rims gotta GO! It looks like crap! Put the original steelies & dog dish hub caps with white wall tires back on there. Get some dual exhaust with chrome tips too. You will notice a HUGE difference!

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  16. GEORGE

    i found a 1962 dodge polara 500 4 door its a one owner with a 361 high pro engine do you know how much it worth ?

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  17. Dean Etter

    there’s a publication called Old car guide. See major bookstore’s for it. There will be the year,make & model of your car & it will tell you a 1 to 5 scale & condition of a ballpark of what it’s worth. It’s about the best source out there. Also, try ebay & craigslist too.

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  18. Steve Bearup

    My first car was exactly like your car. Exactly! When the photo appeared on my computer it took my breath away. I am saving the photos because I still think it is a beautiful design. Mine had a 361 High pro and push button auto trans. It was FAST but would not stop for crap and did not handle very well on those skinny tires. I got it from my uncle in 68. For free! I loved it but could not drive for beans. I hit everything that moved or sat still. I’ m lucky to have survived that rocket ship. I got pretty good at swapping parts but the supply of good used body parts dried up. My wife would not ride in it any more so I had to get another car. It broke my heart to get rid of it. The next owner totaled it and I never saw it again . So , Listen,,.. If you ever want to sell that car please contact me. Please! BTW I was a union Insulator for 31 years. Local 40 Albany NY You can contact me thru the local or call me at home in Delmar NY . I would love to own that car and pass it down to my son and grandson.

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  19. George A Trujillo

    steve bearup, yes i will sell you my car make me an offer or a trade offerthese is my new e-mail gatrujillo@mora.k12.nm.us

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  20. Terry Sloan

    The 1962 Polara 500 is a neat car. I love the lines. I love the styling so much that I own two of them. A Convertible and a two door Hardtop. The Polara shown is really a good find. What a clean car. I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble but the white interior is not original. The guy that just got a four door hardtop also has a rare find since they only made that style one half of the year.

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  21. kelly

    looking for a nice 62 dodge 2dr for sale or trade.

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  22. kelly

    still looking for a 1962 dodge 330-polara 2dr ht.

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  23. George A Trujillo

    i still have the car its a beauty

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  24. kelly

    I forgot what you wanted for it. It’s a 4dr right in NM?

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  25. Benny E Sanchez

    I still have my 62 Polara 500 2dr, 361 HP Pushputton auto, power windows. needs restoration, engine is out and sitting inside my garage. but is complete and in good shape. it was my parents car and I have paperwork going back to 1963. it has never left New Mexico. bensanch@q.com. Make me an offer

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  26. George A Trujillo

    make me an offer

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  27. KD Barr

    My first car was a 62 Dodge Polara 500. I bought it in the fall of 1970. The car was only 8 yrs old at that point, but as a 17 yr old with a 361, 4 barrel carb, dual exhaust car, I was excited. I had no intentions of keeping it original and being a 3 in the tree’ manual transmission didn’t work for me, so we put a Hurst floor shifter into it. I bought wide tires and slotted dish wheels for it and replaced the mufflers with glass packs. This was a fun car to drive! I’ve thought about buying one again sometime, especially since I met my wife while I was driving this car. She made a special shag red pillow so she could sit close to me on top of the center console. Great memories. I really liked that no one had a car like me at that time. Great to hear that there are others who appreciate the coolness of this unique car!

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  28. Ossietim

    Hi I’m in Australia and looking for a 62 Dodge Polara convertible or Dart convertible
    Contact me on suzieq-66@ hotmail.com

    Thanks from down here

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  29. FRED


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  30. Dave

    It is worth much more than 2k, this guy knew it. Poor old lady had no clue what she had… sad.

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  31. Mike S

    What a great find, I have been looking for one with white interier. I had one one back in 1965 it was my second car. So if you ever want to sell this beauty just contact me. Thank you!!!!

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  32. Greg J M

    I love it!, i found my all original “survivor” 62 dart 440 hardtop in much the same way in arrowhead, ca. , i cleaned it up , polished it up, gave it a good service, put some torque thrust wheels on it and take it to the shows , i love these 62’s! congratulations!

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  33. Dave

    I had a 1962 Dodge 500 conv. with a 361 c.i.d. and push button Torque trans. “my first car ” Red with a white top. White wall tires with spinner caps and dual chrome tail pipes. Only 2.5 yrs. old when I purchased it. I was able to purchase it rather cheaply at that time because the owner thought his son was going to kill himself in it. He was known to race it all over the town and countryside like a bootlegger being chased by Eliot Ness himself. One day his father heard from the neighbors what he’d been doing for the last time and decided to get rid of it. By then the son had just about destroyed the transmission. As a young teen myself when I purchased it I had to learn how to repair it and totaled disassembled the Torque flight trans, The valve body, the servo’s, planetary gears ,bands, clutch disk plates, modulator valve, torque converter. I remember the way that car shifted by cable NOT linkage to the transmission from the push buttons. I got so good at repairing those Torque flights that People came to me for there repairs and tune ups. I rebuilt the Chrysler’s that used the same transmission’ IE The Imperial’s, Windsor’s, New Yorker’s, Newport’s, Coronet’s, and the 300 series, etc. By the time I traded that car away it was like show room nice and just about everything rebuilt to like new condition. Its a real shame But ! my car went to the race track not the highway. A cage and top were welded onto the car. It was used for many races as is and I heard when it became so smashed up and was retired that the 361 engine and the transmission that I rebuilt had never been worked on by there team. Guess I learned well there! But not when to hold onto a valuable car as this particular car was more rare than I knew at the time. I envy the guy that found that barn find even though it wasn’t a conv. I’d still like it as a 2 dr.hard top or even a 4 dr. sedan.They all had 361 CID and Torque flight transmissions. I LOVED THAT FIRST CAR OF MINE !
    Jay leno isn’t the only one to appreciate these cars of yesterday.

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  34. Mike Wallace

    My first car was a 1962 Dodge Dart 440. It had a Polly 318 with the automatic push button 727 trans. Is the polara the same as the dart? They look exactly alike.

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  35. Jose

    You gave $2000 in Arizona. I’ll give you $2,100 from California (smile). Great story. Great car. Great buy.

    Like 0

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