My buddy Xav and I have been friends since sophomore year of high school when we discovered that each of us were of the rare breed at a Catholic high school in the 90’s who loved cars, and loud music. Shortly after I met him I discovered something that never changed – he always wanted a Mopar, preferably a Barracuda or Cuda, but he would have settled for just about anything. Through the years we’ve remained great friends having been roommates, been each other’s best man in our weddings, and working on a lot of cars together. Either of us would drop anything to help the other out or to witness an important moment in the other’s life so when I got the text “Dude I’m getting a Dodge!!” Thursday afternoon I realized I’d be making a trip out to the small town where he lives this weekend.
Xav has had some pretty sweet cars in his lifetime, from the 1980 Turbo Trans Am that he swapped in a ridiculous 383 stroker when he realized the turbo motor wasn’t enough to the 1989 Taurus SHO his liberated from his parents for several years but somehow – never a real Mopar. Sure, while we shared a apartment while I was in college he had a Dodge Aires – but that doesn’t really count. He’s watched as most of our friends have had Mopars – from 340 Darts to Hemi Rams, and even seeing me who was likely the last person he thought would get a Mopar stumble into one several years ago. It had to be torture.
As they say, good things come to those who wait. My good buddy is a bricklayer by trade and while working on a garage over the past few weeks he noticed some familiar lines buried in the back lot of a service station in town. When checking it out from a different angle he noticed something else – a For Sale sign. So he did what any man who had seen good deals come and go over the years would do – he asked.
What he, and I, first thought was a Dart he found out was a 1965 Dodge Coronet with the legendary 225 Slant Six and a three on the tree. It had been bought five years ago from the city impound auction by an older gentleman who in turn brought it to the station to get needed mechanical work done before he started any cosmetic work. During the course of the work being done the old gentleman fell ill, but his family insisted that he wanted to keep the Dodge so they would take care of it – but shortly after all phone numbers stopped working. Without a way to contact the family and a bill for a new clutch and some other work outstanding, there it sat for five years until they were finally able to sell it.
Upon hearing the story my buddy inquired on a price – and was told a number that is right about what a single payment on a new F-150 SuperCrew XLT 4×4 with the 2.7 EcoBoost would run (yours truly likes to gawk). He collected himself enough to ask to take it for a drive and sure enough even though it had been sitting long enough to make the battery go flat, the mighty slant six fired right up when the booster was attached.
Despite the seat not necessarily being attached to the vehicle, he found that it drove great and had plenty of power so it was a quick no haggle sale. A day after he brought his new baby home, when I saw it, indeed the big slant six fired right up and settled it’s typical sewing machine sounding idle with nary a puff of smoke or odd smell.
About those seats and, well, that decor. It seems as though the owner prior to the elderly gentleman was likely someone into the lowrider scene in the late 80’s and early 90’s. While the car has a patina going it’s very clear by the peeling clear coat that it’s not the original paint, and from the fade it looks to have some age behind it. I’m sure at some point those wheels were rather pricey objects, but the surface rust on the spokes show it’s been a long time since they’ve been polished.
As hideous as it is, the interior cladding has a huge added benefit that we found out quickly – it protected the original two tone vinyl! It’s likely that without all that.. whatever it is the vinyl would have long been baked and faded under the Nebraska sun, but thanks to years of being clad in ultra suave lowrider decor it’s been spared from the elements. Once off, and adding some nuts to the mounting studs of the front bench, the interior is a good detail job away from looking great.
In our younger years we would have talked about how easy that engine bay would be to drop in a 340, 360, or even a big block. Now as we get older and slightly more tame both of us appreciate the fact that the slant six will make this car one heck of a reliable and smooth cruiser on good summer days.
With the semi-factory A/C still completely intact, assuming it all still works, this car is even a R-12 charge away from providing cooled comfort when it gets a little too hot in Firth, Nebraska. It’s a good thing my buddy and his Dad stocked up on R-12 many eons ago.
This car is truly a diamond in the rough taking just the right kind of person to appreciate it and bring it back, thankfully that person found it. He’s been waiting his whole life to get a Mopar and man – what a way to get there! I can’t wait until all that.. whatever it is removes itself from the interior, some brake lights are added, and my youngest son can go for a ride in that big back seat and maybe catch the bug himself.