1964 Dodge Polara Convertible
Curtis French writes: My 1964 is a factory 383 4 bbl car, red with red interior, factory equipped with manual steering and manual brakes.
The Polara has a cheapie paint job and interior which is not quite the
right color. I rescued it from a 17-year-old five years ago. I have not
done anything about the cheapie paint job other than to clean off
massive amounts of yuckie yellow primer overspray and blobs of pine sap
from where the kid had parked it under a pine tree; but I have
mechanically rebuilt it, and replaced much of the trim with better
pieces from my 4-door parts car and a few NOS and repro parts.
Presently, the car has a 1964 383 block, 1973 forged 440 crank with
counterweights turned down, 440 rods, JE forged stroker pistons, 346
heads with 2.14 intakes and 1.81 exhaust, Comp Cams 282S solid lifter
cam (282 duration, .495 lift), Performer RPM intake, 750 Holley, 1970
hi-po exhaust manifolds with TTI 2 1/2 inch pipes, 2500 convertor, 3.23
sure grip, factory HD torsion bars, rear springs and front sway bar.
Front disc brakes are a couple of weeks away.
This is a very solid car, especially for a formerly sadly neglected
convertible, and now runs and drives great.
Update: May 2002
Since I sent the original pictures, I bought a 1959 Coronet 2 door
hardtop with a 413 and a low-mileage Tampa turquoise and black '56
Belvedere 2 door post with an original 277 power pack, so I have not done
much to the 64 Polara except drive it!
In fact, I still have not put disc brakes on it, but I did swap the cast
iron 346 heads for some aluminum Edelbrocks a couple of weeks ago. I
painted the aluminum intake, water pump and housing and the Eddy heads
turquoise to match the rest of the motor. The motor itself is pretty
well detailed but the engine compartment still has its original (and
worn) factory red paint. The original steering wheel was cracked pretty
bad and I couldn't find a decent replacement, so I swapped in a
Plymouth three spoke imitation woodgrain wheel, replacing the original
Plymouth horn button with an NOS Dodge button.
The vert runs pretty stout for a street car with 3.23 gears. I drove
it to work two days last week. Id drive it every day except Id
probably get in trouble (gotta goose it every once in a while, you know).
Update: June 2010
I wonder how many who owned their 1962-1965 Mopar in 2002 still have it. I cant believe eight years have gone by so quickly, but I still have my 1964 Polara convertible, and cannot imagine ever getting rid of it.
I finally got around to putting disc brakes on it a couple years ago, which I must say work a whole lot better than the 10 inch drums. Otherwise just a few minor things, like dyeing the brown dash pad red, new chrome arm rest bases, new interior dome lights (located on the rear side panels), and new top motor, rams and hoses. I still need to put a new top on it; but since I usually leave the top down I dont usually notice how bad it looks.
Engine and drive train are unchanged; still have 434 cubes, factory hi-po exhaust manifolds and 3.23 gears.
I took the Dodge to the strip for the first time Memorial Day weekend (2010), at the Mopar Southern Nationals. Found out it had a bad bog if I gave it full throttle off the line (which Ive never noticed because on the street I cant give it full throttle from a stop even with drag radials), but I finally got the Polara to run consistently by leaving at half throttle and easing into it. On the second day, my best run was 8.45 at 85 mph, worst was 8.47 at 84+.
It was kinda strange, though, with a handicap start, to get to leave first on an 8.20s car, get passed within the first 2-3 seconds, and then run it down and pass it before the finish line. The Polara obviously will run at least a tenth or two better with some carb tuning. Maybe Ill get to it before another eight years go by.
It is wonderful that you found that Polara and rescued it!
Poor paint, nah...it still looks fantastic.
I can't think of much more fun ride than a early B body big block 'vert!
RE: Update: Quite an awesome Mopar fleet.
Driving that 'vert to work also makes you look forward to the ride home!
RE: 2010 update: Time flies when you are having fun. Keep enjoying the Mopar!
Thanks for the updates and for sharing your very nice Dodge!
October 9, 2000; revised May 12, 2002; June 9, 2010