Held For Ransom: 1969 Dodge Coronet R/T

1969 Dodge Coronet RT

This Coronet has quite a story behind it. The seller’s description is hard to decipher, but from what I can tell it is a real 440 equipped R/T. That’s a very good thing, but unfortunately the engine is missing. There is a good reason for that though. Apparently, this car was one of about 20 rare Mopars that were owned by a restoration shop that failed. The bank then seized the cars in an attempt to repay the owner’s debt. The owner wasn’t going to give up without a fight thought. He pulled all the engines, transmissions, and fender tags before the bank got to them. The cars were sold off anyway and the parts were held as ransom. Not ransom to the bank mind you, but to the new owners of the cars. When the new owner of this particular car called on him to see if he could get the engine back, he was told that he would trade it for another car he had or $10k cash. Well, that didn’t happen, so the car is now listed here on eBay and surprisingly the bidding is quite active.

Wheres the 440

The tall tale does make this Dodge more interesting, but definitely not a hornets nest I would want to jump into. The previous owner doesn’t sound like a person I would want to negotiate with. Even if he does still have the original engine and number plates around, there’s no telling what he would want for them. It seems like it would have been easier to have sold all these cars that the shop supposedly owned before the vultures started circling. We don’t know what sort of dire straights they were in though. Still even a couple of these could pay off a lot of debt! Could the story have been fabricated in order to give potential buyers more hope? The people bidding must not be too worried about all the missing bits. Honestly, the car does look very solid in the photos so maybe they have other plans for it?


  1. Dolphin Member

    Call me chicken, but buying a car with stories is risky enough, but a story like this beats anything I have ever considered. Like Jesse, I don’t think I would want to do business with someone whose business fails and who then rips the drivetrains out of his customers’ cars because he has a dispute with his bank, whose money got chewed up by the failed business. The chances of this coming out well are slim to none.

  2. Miles

    This ia a doable situation. Based on final ebay numbers you have a base value for the car as is. If you can partner with the engine owner to contribute both engine and installation you can then joinly sell the car and split proceeds based on % of total value of sale for your contributed parts. Today the car is at $15K, he wants $10, which is maybe the final price with installation or not, but lets make the math easy. Lets say each part, car and engine&installation are each worth $15K and if the car sells for $60K then each party gets $30K. If I trusted the owner of the engine this is a deal that I would do.

  3. JW

    Actually these were the shops cars not customers, he’s holding the drivetrains ransom from the new owners who bought them from the bank. I wouldn’t mind owning this car for the right price which would be about where the bidding is now. It’s a very nice car and not much work to bring it back and since he won’t give up the original motor & trans unless you pay big money well I would take that money and invest in a good used hemi & trans out of a wrecking yard, they are out there but then I’m not a purist I am a modifier and proud of it.

    • Dolphin Member

      Right you are, but it comes to the same thing from the car owners’ point of view. The bottom line is the shop owner is holding some car guys ransome because he has a dispute with the bank who lent him money for a business. Looks like there’s a good chance that everyone will lose something, except maybe the lawyers involved.

    • Ed P

      If the new owners of these cars don’t buy the drivetrains at his outrageous price, he is going to get junk yard prices for them. I would look elsewhere for what is needed.

  4. Dave Wright

    Sounds like a job for the sheriff, Something like grand larceny…………….it is amazing what can happen when words like felony, fraud and prison are thrown around.

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Yeah it’s the bank’s fault. Guy will die with his greedy stash of drive trains and then they’ll be lost to everyone.

    Reminds me of the guy in my city that wouldn’t sell his house to the developers that had collected all the properties but his for a shopping plaza. Was out for the biggest payout he could get, passed on some amazing offers thinking he had all the cards.

    Up went the plaza and his little property and shack were entirely surrounded by parking lot for several years LOL. Got diddly squat in the end.

    • JW454

      Bobs, Do you live in my town? The same thing happend here. The guy knew the Walmart wanted all the homes along the main street right outside of town. He was offered about double what it would have sold for but he told them he wanted 1 millon for it. He became the only house surrounded by parking lot. 2 Years later he took a “Revised Offer”.

      The Dodge story is just sad for everybody.

  6. Jason

    Gah. Either the story is true and the shop owner is a dirtbag, or the story is fake and the current seller is a liar. Maybe both. The seller keeps denying it, but his description clearly says, “1969 Dodge coronet R/T 440 hemi” and “REAL R/T HEMI”!

    • Rocco Member

      He said the car is a 440 with a Hemi 18 spline trans 4-speed. He just doesn’t use punctuation or periods very well. Almost all of his sentences are a run on sentence. I think the whole add is one sentence. Well it’s gone now anyway.

  7. BrentF

    Is it any wonder the restoration shop failed? Sounds like it was run by a pretty unsavory character……removing essential parts from the cars to screw the bank that lent him money for his business….and then holding the ultimate owners of those repossessed cars for ransom by offering these parts for ransom-type money. What a compete jerk! I guess he got what he deserved in the end.

    Like 1
  8. cory

    Total bs story cooked up by a seller trying too get more for his car by dangling out that it might have a correct engine and tag. I hope someone bought it for what it is and not with any hopes of the story being true

  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Some of this story is probably true, but I’m doubting the part about him pulling the motor to spite the bank. If true, he would not have cared to make sure that every wire was correctly disconnected. He would have just yanked the motor and cut off anything that was holding it in. Then, the bank would get getting just a hacked up shell.
    More likely, he had started an engine out restoration when the bank came calling. He grabbed what he could and the bank took the rest.
    Regardless, I wouldn’t even bother. At the price it went for, just get a nice crate motor and drive it.

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