Cohort Outtake: 1966 Dodge Coronet Deluxe – Farewell Poly 318

posted at the Cohort by Canadiancatgreen

This ’66 Coronet looks familiar, as I used to drive a taxicab just like it. It even had a V8 in it, the last year for the “poly” 318. And they also had a new ’67, with the new LA 318 with wedge heads. It gave me a chance to compare them.

Of course this was on the sly, as I was only fifteen.

My first job was at that age, opening and running a little two-pump Sunoco station on York Road in Towson. The guy that owned the station also owned the cab company, Adams Cab, which had white cars in comparison to Jimmy’s cab, whose were all blue. Jimmy’s is still going, Adams not.

Anyway, it was a small outfit, with about 7 or 8 ’65 Coronet sedans, all with slant sixes, the one ’66 V8 and the one ’67 V8. I was to open the station at eight in the morning on Saturday, meaning it was dead in town back then. I’d get up extra early, walk over and get there at about 7:30, and exercise one of the cabs a bit. Yes, I’m a risk taker.

The ’65’s were all-too familiar to me, given their resemblance to our ’65 wagon. But the ’66 was of course significantly restyled, in the new boxy, scalloped style of the times at Chrysler, thanks to Elwood Engel. Worked pretty nicely on the coupes and convertibles and the Charger, but it still didn’t exactly elevate the Coronet sedan from terminal dullness.

Anyway, after the ’67 showed up, I was curious as to how it ran compared to the ’66, since both were 318s and advertised to have 230hp. I assumed the ’67 318 was a totally new engine. It was actually the same block but with new wedge combustion chamber heads, a la Chevy small block. It made the engine look a lot more compact and modern.

And yes, it really did run stronger. The 318 poly ran out of breath sooner; I doubt it revved barely past 4,000 in actual operation. The LA pulled harder and longer before the Torqueflite shifted. That stripped ’67 was a pretty strong running car, for mat the times. As in the fastest car I’d driven yet.