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Still In The Barn: 1953 Dodge Coronet

The Coronet nameplate was part of the Dodge portfolio off and on from 1949 until 1976. In the early 1950s, it would be the highest trim level offered by that Chrysler division. This 1953 example has been residing in a barn for the last 32 years and has multiple layers of dirt and grime to prove it. And the seller has priced the automobile to move, so if only one bid is submitted here on eBay, $10 could take it home! Hitch up the trailer and makes tracks for Delano, Minnesota. Thanks for the tip on this true barn find, Larry D!

If you look up “coronet” in the dictionary, you’ll find that it’s a type of crown worn by royalty. Because the Coronet was Dodge’s top car at the time, the name seems fitting. Seven generations of the auto would be produced with a break between 1960 and 1964. When it returned in 1965, the car was positioned as a mid-size model, just as Chevy had done with the Chevelle and Ford with the Fairlane. In 1953, Dodge built 124,000 versions of the Coronet as a 4-door sedan like the seller’s offering.

This Dodge has a bit of a story to go with it. The owner bought it when he graduated from high school, though we don’t know when that was. Then 32 years ago, he drove it into the barn, parked it, and it has remained there ever since. Supposedly it was running fine at the time. No mention is made of the engine, though it does have an automatic transmission. It could be either a 230 cubic inch inline-6 or Dodge’s new (at the time) 241 CI “Red Ram” V8, beating Chevy to that scene by two years. We understand that it was quite potent for its day and set more than 100 land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

It’s hard to tell the condition of the body here with the thick accumulation of dirt. So, a safe assumption is to plan on some rust. Thorough washing will be needed to determine the shape it’s in. No photos are provided of the interior, so we hope that furry critters who may have also lived in the barn didn’t make the Dodge into a home. The odometer reading is 67,000 miles, but after sitting since 1990 all bets are off as to what work might be required to get the car running again. But considering the starting bid was just $10, this might turn out to be a real bargain.

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Russ, that’s a “Veight” badge on the trunk lid, so I’m guessing a buyer would at least get their money back, even if the bids went up to $20 or even $30….

    Personally, I’ve never been particularly interested in the early-50s Chrysler products. The styling seemed uninspired at best; these were truly anonymous cars.

    A Mopar fan would certainly have to go through everything before putting this back on the road. Might be a fun project for someone who wants to do their own wrenching and doesn’t care about going underwater.

    Like 5
    • Dave

      They probably were anonymous cars… in the 50’s. Drive that car (cleaned/fixed up) down the street today ALL heads will turn.

      Like 9
    • Chuck Simons

      Until Virgil Exner came on the scene.

      Like 2
  2. Jeffry Hayes Member

    I got the ten bucks, I got a trailer hitch on the van, I can rent a trailer, and Minnesota is not that far away. The only issue is where the $$ to fix it up will come from.
    Look at the chrome around the windshield and the taillight, the trim on the sides, and the door handles. It all looks to be in good shape. It is hard to tell from these photos whether the bumpers are rusted or just very dirty. You can see part of the front seat through the open driver’s window, too. If the paint under all that grime is decent, this car would be a steal.
    About 20 yrs ago, I looked at a ’46 Studebaker business coupe at a lot off the interstate south of Little Rock, Ar. The dealer said he got out of a barn in Mo after years of storage and it was covered in dirt & grime like this one. The chrome on that car was not rusted at all and the paint was decent, but the interior was shot. He said this is what the car looked when got it cleaned up. If his story about the Studebaker was true, it could be true about this one, too.
    I think this car may well be worth taking a chance.

    Like 8
  3. Bob C.

    The Chrysler Powerflite automatic didn’t come out until 1954. If this IS a 53 it would likely have one of the fluid drive semi automatics.

    Like 2
  4. Joe Machado

    Got a Hemi? 241 C I

    Like 2
    • Chris M.

      Did you own a few of these Joe?

      Not nearly “cool” enough.

  5. RNR

    I remember reading a contemporary road test of a muscle era Dodge where the auto journalist wrote a line to the effect of:

    “There was a time when the only people who knew you just bought a new Dodge were your immediate family and the banker who financed it.”

    This Coronet is squarely from that era. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it!

    Like 2
  6. Tort Member

    With the exception of mice and pigeon droppings that can be addressed with a tarp and some bounce dryer sheets and mouse traps the second layer of a barn is an ideal location to store a vehicle
    long term with a wood floor and air flow underneath. Too bad he had it on the lower level with a cement floor that once was for milking the cows that has moisture that the second level doesn’t.

    Like 2
  7. Troy

    Bidding is currently at $237.00 that is about scrap value. were they still 6 volt in this year or had they converted to12 this would be fun just to get it on the road again without complete restoration

    Like 3
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Chrysler and Ford didn’t go to 12V until 56. By 55, all GMs were 12V (the ‘big’ cars were first, Pont and Chev came in 55).

      Like 2
      • Troy

        Thank you for answering my question

  8. Allen L

    It has a ram hood ornament, another hint that there is, or was a Red Ram hemi under the hood?
    We need to know!

    Like 2
  9. Pete Phillips

    Says “Dodge V Eight” right in plain sight on the hood emblem.

    Like 1
  10. Mike Ingran

    My first car. Had the Hemi with the semi-automatic (clutch required to shift gears) transmission. Got it at 80,000, drove it to 130,000 with no problems. Strong motor but terrible handling. Finally scrapped it and got a Volvo 122S. Fondly remembered.

    Like 2
  11. Bj

    Put a hellcat engine in it, dust it off and go

    Like 1
  12. OLGYRENE Underwood

    The V in the hood embellishment indicates that this unit has a Red Ram V8 engine under the hood, if the unit is not a rust bucket / mouse home it wil, be a reasonable project for someone if the price of acquisition stays reasonably low!!

    Like 2
  13. Pnuts

    Says V8 right on the hood. I’ve never seen a 241 Hemi. I’d assume this is the baby hemi. Interesting but not interesting enough. For me anyway.

    Like 3
  14. Bob McK Member

    The license plate is from 1968…. A true Barn Find. Who knows, maybe it will actually run and drive with little work…… Bidding is up to $502.

    Like 1
  15. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Yes, the 241 is a hemi motor, produces 150 hp thru 1954.

    Like 1

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