based on early '60's Mopar Logo

Mopar of the Month: December, 2000

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible

Curtis French writes:

Here are pictures of what is now my brother George's 1962 Polara 500 convertible.

1962 Dodge   Polara 500 Convertible

George wasn't even born yet when Mom and Dad bought this car new in November of 1962 in Lexington, Kentucky. It was a factory executive car with about 3,000 miles on it, but not titled until we bought it.

The dealer had three '62 Polara 500 convertibles, one red, one blue and one black, all with 361 four barrels and pushbutton automatics. The dealer also had a '63 Polara convertible with a 383 two barrel and the same rated 305 horsepower.

Early Summer, 1965 photo of 1962 Dodge Polara 500 ConvertibleEarly Summer, 1965 1962 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible
361 in Early Summer, 1965

We considered them all, but picked the black one:

1962 Dodge   Polara 500 Convertible
Summer, 1968 photo

1962 Dodge   Polara 500 Convertible
Spring, 1967 photo

Our trade in was a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk -- (factory equipped with a 352 Packard motor, overdrive and 3.92 gears - actually a faster car than the '62).

The Polara was Dad's first new car.

I spent my allowance money to chrome the motor a bit, but otherwise it stayed stock until the spring of 1968 when we put a 440 in it that came out of a 67 GTX. Still had the pushbutton automatic and original 2.76 gears until about 1976, when we swapped in a 3.23 sure grip and four speed out of a Road Runner. We used the stick shift dash parts and pedal assembly out of a junkyard Slant 6 62 Dodge, plus an early style Hurst shift handle to make the installation look factory; (although, of course, 4-speeds weren't available in '62). The Road Runner 4-speed has since been replaced with an 18 spline Hemi/440 four speed, and the motor is now a 1969.

Dad passed away in 1984. I inherited his '67 Hemi Charger and my brother George got the '62.

The '62 still had its original paint as recently as the early 1990s, but had a bit of road rash, plus over the years the front wheel openings had gotten hacksawed for tire clearance and the original hood had been cut for a scoop.

George and I replaced the hood and front fenders, and he took it to the body shop for fresh paint.

1962 Dodge   Polara 500 Convertible
That's Mom in the photo of the 62 just before we took it to the body shop.

440 in 1962 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible
I freshened the motor,

440 in 1962 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible

and he spent $$$$ for chrome and upholstery...
...and after some re-assembly the Ole '62 looks like its old self again!

1962 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible

Great going Curtis and George!

I can't think of much better than driving an original family-owned Mopar!

Indeed, your Polara has "lived" as part of your family all these years.

Thanks for keeping and restoring the car. I can't tell you how many people I correspond with who comment: " Boy, I wish I kept that________" (fill in the blank with the name of a long-gone Mopar they used to own).

Your car has gone through a lot of time and tide, but, with all the tlc and efforts from the family, the Dodge again is a stunning Mopar! (Let's see, 3 motors, 2 4 speeds....) :-)

I wonder how the '56 Studebaker would do against the Polara 500 now?

Yes, the car looks great! Who can resist liking a big block Mopar 4 speed 'vert? :-)

Gary H.
December 1, 2000

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