----------This car has been sold and is no longer available----------
Does the color "Hemi Orange" ring a bell with you Mopar fans? Typically, it was the color of one of the most fearsome racing engines Detroit ever produced. As Dodge and Plymouth soon discovered however, the fabled color applied to the car's exterior gave it additional racing and street credibility. Even today, the phrase "That thang got a Hemi?" is one of the most successful marketing brand catch-phrases in North America. Well, even if this car doesn't have one of the 740 Hemi's produced
in 1966, it DOES have Hemi Orange ALL OVER IT!
The car you see above, and in the 60 photos below, is a recently restored 1966 Dodge Coronet 440 with a VIN of WH23E67311361. It was originally produced in the St. Louis, MO., assembly plant as a "Sold" car on July 1, 1966, having a 318 cubic inch - 2 barrel carbureted motor with 230 HP and a 727 TorqueFlite transmission and an open 3.23 ratio 741 axle in an 8.75" diameter axle housing. It was White with a White top, had a Blue vinyl bench seat, requiring Dark Blue "E" code upper door
frame paint. The prospective buyer, looking over a long list of options, chose just one option: a 2 watt Music Master AM radio.
In 1966, Dodge was still playing catch-up to the Chevy, Pontiac and Ford muscle cars in finding a proper blend of performance, styling and price. In the previous year, both Dodge and Plymouth had offered an entire range of 6 cylinder, small blocks, big blocks, 426 wedge and 426 Hemi racing motors. In '66 however, if you wanted a real performance motor in a big Dodge like the 440 Hardtop, your choice was the 330HP - 383ci motor OR you could get in line for the bank busting 426 Hemi, that was very conservatively
rated at only 425 HP. In this year, Dodge only sold 2976 copies of the hardtop 440 model with the 383 motor, and only 288 cars were equipped with the solid lifter, 8 barrel 426 Street Hemi.
As Chevy and Ford were outselling Dodge by about an 8 to 1 ratio, these 1966 Dodge cars are relatively rare. The 1964 models introduced the 4-speed and the 426 Street Wedge. That tradition was carried on by the '65 Mopars. By this time, the 66 Charger was being designed for the upscale buyer with all the luxury appointments and the larger engines. In 1967 the High Performance 440ci, 375HP engine was first introduced in the Dodge RT. As a result, the '66 Coronet has been underappreciated and undervalued
it's place in
the common lexicon of Mopar afficionados has been overlooked. Any serious Mopar guy will want to have an example of this bold "middle year" styling in his collection.
About 40 years pass, and this car was found in Colorado, virtually rust-free, still laboring along with it's original 318ci motor. A full scale restoration was begun, taking the entire body down to it's bare metal skin, sanding and straightening and filling, polishing and replating until you have an empty shell ready for paint. And what color should it be? With a massive yet muscular shape... what else but Hemi Orange? And a blue interior? Nope! It's gotta be black! With new carpet and new door panels and
a new headliner! And what kind of motor should live in this 440 Coronet? If it's not a Hemi, it's got to be a 440!
As you can tell from the photos below, this is a really stunning car. The Hemi Orange two-stage paint really works with this body style. I did not change or alter the color hues in any of the photos: I didn't PhotoShop anything to give it more "pop". What you see is how the car actually looks at 4:00pm on a cloudy day. Take note of the reflection of the sky and the clouds in the hood and the trunk deck. (I should mention that a strange charcoal spot randomly appears on the lense of my camera. Seems
to move around, but it's not ON the car!)Take special note of the chrome and the stainless trim all around the car. It's in outstanding condition!
The motor currently in the car is a 1974 casting block, with a standard bore, reworked "906" heads with the bigger valves, and a slightly more lumpy camshaft. On top is a new Edlebrock carb rated at 750 cfm and you can see the chrome valve covers. The TorqueFlite transmission has been freshed, the case cleaned, and it shifts beautifully. I must tell you however, the front main seal has developed a slight leak and you will probably want to give it some attention to avoid using a drip pan on your garage
floor. The car ALWAYS starts easily, whether it's been sitting for a few days or if I've just run into my office for 10 minutes, and it's picked up some temperature with heat soak.
The suspension has been freshened and the car handles exceptionally well. The brakes work great, the steering has no play, and the car goes where you point it. As you can see from the photos, there is a new set of BFG Radial TA tires on the car, 225/70-14's on the front and 235/70-14's on the rear. They are mounted on what appears to be an original set of Magnum 500 wheels. You will note from the photos, there is an additional Magnum wheel in the trunk, with an original Goodyear F70 Polyglas tire, but I wouldn't
guarantee that it has NOS 1966
air in it! There ARE some blemishes on the wheels, and the right rear has a tendency towards a very slow leak.
If you have a sharp eye, you will notice in the photos that the car has a new radio antenna, but is missing the 2 watt Music Master radio! I've not searched for a correct factory radio, so the dash has a factory correct radio-delete plate in it. I've preferred to drive the car with the windows down, just listening to the exhaust note of this beast. The exhaust system, from the factory exhaust manifolds, clear back to the turn-down tips is brand new and has less than 250 miles on it. From my own experience
driving the car, I would not hesitate to drive the car to either coast from it's garage in Colorado.... it's really that comfortable to drive.
As with all cars that are about 40 years old with 92,000 miles on the odometer, there ARE some things that you might want to correct and I want to tell you about them. The spindle on the upper part of the passenger's vent window is broken and is reluctant to open or shut easily. Both the driver's door and the passenger door need adjusting to close without lifting slightly on the handle when you close it, and the gas tank filler neck needs to be positioned securely inside the fender flap.
After scrolling through all the photos, if this car doesn't appeal to you... you haven't truly caught the '60s Mopar Muscle mystique. I'm really going to hate to see this car leave, and I'd love to keep it if I just had more room. So.... my loss is your gain.
If you have further questions, please give me a call at 303-324-3300. I'm in the Denver Colorado area and would highly urge you to come personally inspect the car, see it and drive it for yourself. You won't be disappointed!!