CC Capsule: 1966 Dodge Coronet 440 – Keep Out Of Reach Of Children

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I’d like to offer my apologies in advance to anyone who’ll find my treatment of this car uncharitable, but sometimes it’s difficult to keep my criticism to myself.  This is especially true when the reasons for my disapproval could’ve so easily been avoided.  It’s no secret that I love mid ’60s Mopar styling, so when I saw this B-body hardtop sitting at a used car lot nearby my home, I had to take a look.

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And of course, I really wanted to love the car and nearly managed to convince myself that I did.  But there’s simply been too much done to deface it and that simply left me feeling disappointed.  Why, for instance, this orange peel-y paint job in a shade more appropriate to a Caliber?  If the budget for a high-quality respray isn’t available, couldn’t a more conservative color be chosen?

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And why these seats from a late ’90s Chrysler product?  It’s pieces like these which hinted at the shaky foundations of the company’s ’90s renaissance.  Why put them in a golden age Dodge?

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Most importantly, why is this priced at $11,000??  There’s nothing written here to lend any validity to the high price; no mention of the many possible performance enhancing mods or of the car’s powertrain option.  No, all that’s boasted here are the elements of this Powerade-inspired re-do: its new paint, interior and exhaust.  And would you believe this is being sold by the original owner?  I don’t know whether to feel pity or to be insulted, though I’m leaning toward the latter.  As this car’s been sitting for over a month, I can’t be the only one who feels so strongly.

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Note the unpainted screws on the unfortunately blacked-out grille.  Not only does this seller expect eleven grand for this expression of his questionable taste, he also expects to be rewarded for sloppy workmanship.

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Ah yes, painted-over or missing chrome taillight surrounds to announce your wise purchase to motorists following you.  It wouldn’t be so sad if the car hadn’t begun life with such sharp style, but here we are with misaligned trim and panel imperfections.


Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves how this car likely looked when new, shall we?  Lean, linear themes dominated the ’66 Coronet’s bodywork, with a decklid treatment thoughtfully conceived to match the rest of the car.  While some might’ve regarded it as plain, it looks quite nice in this dark color.


This is more like it; take it all in. The ’66 B-body was one of the most conservative shapes on the market when new, but also one of the most handsome and enduring.  Screwing it up to the extent that our featured car’s overambitious seller has managed turns bad taste into an art form.  It’s almost as though such sensibilities were deliberately cultivated.

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So let me leave you with the portion of the bodywork whose good looks are most difficult to sully: the reverse tapered C-pillar which defined period Mopar hardtops, from the lowly A body all the way up to the full-sized C.  It’s said that remembering one’s heritage during times of extreme alienation helps to guarantee integrity and perseverance.  So I figured I’d do my part in helping us remember this Coronet for what it is underneath all those blemishes.  Stay strong, ol’ beauty.



Related reading:

Curbside Classic: 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 – This B-Body Earns an ‘A’

Car Cruise Classic: Nine Reasons to Buy a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere