CC Capsule: 1975 (or 1976) Dodge Coronet – Missed Opportunities

Posted to the Cohort by John Lloyd

(first posted 1/16/2018)       Everyone has their favorite places; Kansas City falls into that boat for me.  Despite the crummy weather it sees in the winter, KC is a prime location for finding terrific cars still in use.  Perhaps one could call it the Eugene of the Midwest.

A recent trip to Kansas City yielded a ’75 or ’76 Coronet percolating westbound on I-70 near downtown.  Naturally I was headed the other way and missed the opportunity to photograph it.

Capturing pixels of that buttercream colored Coronet would have allowed me to talk about it being an iteration of the new Chrysler B-body that was introduced in 1971.  Whether or not the update for 1975 was successful would have been fodder for great debate.

Both are appealing, but if having to choose I would pick one from 1975 or 1976 over one of the 1971 to 1973 models.

That said, the Coronet for 1974 is an intriguing critter given the one year only front end.

The 1975 and 1976 models just seem more cohesive despite what might be perceived as the retrograde move to single headlights.  And 1970s Chrysler build quality be damned.

Had I actually been able to take pictures of that Coronet, I could have elaborated how there were three trim levels in 1975 but only two in 1976.  Further verbiage could have showered everyone with the knowledge Dodge sold nearly 85,000 of these in 1975, a number which includes over 15,000 wagons, but the number of Coronets fell by just over half for 1976.

For 1975, Dodge sold approximately 75% as many Coronets as Plymouth did the nearly identical Fury.

Having pictures of that particular Coronet would have given me plenty of shots to spread throughout an entire full-length CC.  Part of that article could have been dedicated to that black and white elephant in the room – a lot of these were sold to police fleets.  While Dodge wasn’t as popular for this use as was Plymouth, the state of California took a real shine to the Dodge.

As an experiment the California Highway Patrol purchased 100 of these in 1975.  Liking what they saw, they purchased 1,511 of them for 1976.  This number equates to nearly 10% of all base model Coronets produced that year.

The Coronet cost the Patrol $150 per unit less than the C-body.  Weighing 600 pounds less than a Monaco but with the same 250 horsepower 440 in California tune, its 350 ft-lbs of torque had to really amplify that fun to drive factor.

A full-length CC would have also allowed opportunity to poke fun at the Coronet’s competitors such as the porkulent Ford Torino.  Just like it’s always fun to use any opportunity to poke fun at the miserable power output of Ford’s 300 cubic inch straight-six from its light truck line, it’s always fun to exploit opportunities to remind everyone of the Coronet’s corn-fed competition.

One has to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.  The Coronet was much more attractive than any Torino (or related Mercury Montego) but that simply didn’t translate to the market taking the opportunity to purchase them.  Chrysler was really starting to swirl the financial drain at this time.

In a sense, my missing an opportunity to capture a Coronet in Kansas City is much like what happened to it in the market.  But since I didn’t find a Coronet, I have no material with which to tell you all about it.

What a missed opportunity.