Work-In-Progress: 1970 Dodge Coronet 440

The Coronet was Dodge’s full-size car largely in the 1950s and 1960s but spent another decade or so after that as an intermediate. The 1968-70 restyle of the cars shared the fuselage look that other Chrysler products adopted. The Coronet 440 was the mid-level trim version for 1970, which included this 2-door hardtop which looks like a work-in-progress. Mechanically it’s mostly sound, but there is some undercover rust to deal with. The car is located in Clinton Township, Michigan where the bidding here on eBay has reached $8,300 as has the reserve.

The Dodge Coronet served as the launching pad for the Super Bee in 1968, so you might think of it as the muscle car the Coronet never was. But far more Coronets were sold as family cars than anything else. Out of nearly 115,000 Coronets sold for 1970, nearly a quarter of those were the 440 series 2-door hardtop, many of which had the 318 cubic inch V-8 like the seller’s car. This Dodge looks like a restoration that started from the outside in. The sheet metal all looks good with much of the chrome pieces removed in order so that dark red primer could be added. Yet, the undercarriage is rather crusty and there are rust holes in the trunk. So, if a restoration was started, it happened in the reverse order (in my book).

The car was originally finished in Hemi Orange, which you can still find under the hood and inside the trunk. It had a white vinyl top, too, but evidence of that is gone repairs made, if any. Staying on the subject of corrosion, the seller tells us the frame rails are solid as is the cross-member, but some welding was done in the back end of the car where the bumper attaches. A shiny new gas tank sits where the original once was, but the fuel lines are still going to need work. Oddly, there are no photos of the interior, so we can’t assess its condition in this restoration process.

This seller has had the car for about a year and needs to let it go because he has too many vehicles. It’s said to have 60,000 miles on the clock and the car was built early into the 1970 model year, coming with a build sheet. It’s a good running car, but its stopping power is limited, and a new set of brakes will be needed. The original 318 V-8 is a good one, but a 4-barrel carb has been added which the seller admits might be too much for the car. The recently serviced TorqueFlite automatic transmission is also original to the Coronet.

This Dodge has been off the road since around 1990 when it was last registered. Until recently, it spent most of its time in a dry garage. Due to difficulties in getting to the DMV with pandemic closures, the seller has not been able to transfer the title of the car to his name. So, it would logically be in the name of the party he bought it from. If this is an issue, you should not bid on the car. But he’s willing to work with the buyer to get the title business sorted out. NADA believes a car like this in good shape is a $10,000 proposition, while Hagerty is slightly more optimistic. But either way, that doesn’t leave a lot of room to finish the car properly without going into the red.

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    More work is needed on this one! I Personally, I don’t care for cars in primer, because it can hide issues (your idea of a primered repair might not meet MY standard of repair!) I also would have replaced the straps for the gas tank, along w/ the tank. GLWTA and to the next owner!! :-)

    Like 8
  2. Classic Steel

    Yep only 60 thousand miles on this babe 😉

    Its a mopar and better than some but less than many on state of repair 👀

    I like the color!

    Like 1
  3. Keith

    Wow, look at that crispy carburetor, wonder how many backfires went through that Holley?

    Like 2
  4. Ray

    Carburetor looks like caught fire because either timing off or its got to big of jets running to rich cause it look black meaning spark plugs fouled

    Like 1
  5. Rich

    Ow.
    The pain on this one is real. Save your money, and look for what you truly want to buy. Although I can admire the tenacity it requires to complete a project car, the 16 year old me would much rather pay more up front. Had too many cars when younger that lived in the garage awaiting various repairs, when all I really wanted was to be able to drive them. Personally even now just want to enjoy and drive, not spend months/years getting them drivable. But that is just a crabby old fart talking here…If one enjoys doing the WHOLE car resto thing, more power to you friend. But life is short, and to some the cost of a well sorted out car is money well spent vs several years of waiting for a projects completion. Best to all on this one, and Happy Holidays to all.

    Like 9
  6. Mark

    Would make a great Coronet RT clone. Real Coronet RT’s cost a fortune now.

    Like 1
  7. JohnfromSC

    Agree with Mark. The only path is a clone with a crate hemi. Magnifying the pictures there is a white interior, parts of which may be salvageable. Body panel fit not too bad. And I think that may just be a black gasket on the carbs as you can see the “brassy” throats.

    A shame though that it is primered. And it is a MI car. Only thing worse for rust in my experience is a MN car.

    Like 1
  8. Desert Rat

    I would have to agree with what Rich said, when you first get a car project your so excited that you would clime Mount Everts for it but by the time you get it done, if you get it done, you don’t have enought enthusiasm left to go out and change the oil in the thing. It just took to much out of you the get it to where you wanted it. 16 Years ago I bought my 69 Camaro out of an old guy’s back yard I went through the whole car rebuilt every thing drivetrain wise, replace every piece of sheet metal except the roof and painter the car in my garage and new interior. The car looks great and if it was in this conduction when I bought it I would been doing cartwheels to have a Camaro like this but now after 15 years of working on it off and on and all I went through ,well It’s not so exciting for me now. If I had it to do again I would buy something in better shape and get to the driving part much sooner. It’s like going to work on Monday morning, you think to your self “Man if it was only Friday I would bee sooo happy”, then Friday comes and it’s no big deal because of all you had to go through during the week just to get to Friday…

    Like 5
  9. DuesenbergDino

    Reminds me of the early 70’s when the hot item was to do the body work and slather it with DuPont 80s red oxide primer.

  10. MoPar Mike

    Scoops are too close together. I’d have to remedy that before being seen in public.

  11. Kevin Kendall

    Always thought the 70 Coronet/Super Bee frontend looked like a pissed off 71 Charger 😆

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