Finding The Car You Bought New 46 Years Ago
by Chad Parrish
Chad writes: In 1965 I bought a new Dodge Coronet 500, red with black vinyl top with a 426 street wedge/4-speed from Dodge City in Spokane, Washington. That car was sold to a Spokane disc jockey when I ordered a new 1969 Super Bee from the same dealership. In 2005 I set out to find my original 1965 Coronet. I found the disc jockey that I sold it to in Birmingham, Alabama and discovered that he had sold it to some guy in Oakland when he left the Bay area in the 1980s. After checking the web sites of various Bay area Mopar clubs, I found a photo from the San Jose Mopar Alley 2005 summer rally.
Mopar Alleys president identified the person in the photo as John Winslow from San Jose, and gave me his phone number. I called John, and told him that I thought his car might be my old Dodge. He sent me the VIN, and we sent it off to Chrysler Historical.
Sure enough - Johns car was sold new at Dodge City, Spokane, Washington. It was one of 729 1965 Coronet 500s built with a 426 street wedge and 4-speed. It turned out to be the same car that I bought new in 1965. John now had the complete history of his car. His son bought the car for him as a Fathers Day gift in 1994 from some guy in Oakland. John has since turned his car into a Super Stocker and races throughout the west. The old Dodge has made a lot of mid-10 second trips down the drag strip as Grandpa Gone Wild. Racing this car is Johns passion.
So, obviously John was not interested in selling his Coronet. He did, however, help a great deal in locating another 1965 Dodge in Novato, California. I bought the all-red Mopar in 2006. It was a 361/auto car with the same black and silver interior that Johns car has. With a lot of help from my son in Las Vegas, we completed a rebuild of this Coronet.
|Heres what it looks like today.|
The 1965 Coronet now has a rebuilt 1969 vintage 440 with a 4-speed, and is a lot closer in performance to the original street wedge car. The Mopar now has a black vinyl top. It came from the factory with a white vinyl top when delivered new to El Paso. The factory air blows cold and adds a level of comfort that the original Coronet did not have. This Dodge has many parts from Johns car. The Hurst shifter - console top - 426 Wedge air cleaner and valve covers - and bellhousing all come from Johns car and were on the car when I bought it new in 1965.
It is a story of two guys – one from California, the other in Montana - who have become friends and have one thing in common: red and black 1965 Mopars.
The Dodge is pretty special to us, and my wife and I drive it throughout the West. For example, in 2012 we drove the Mopar from Missoula, MT to Las Vegas for Mopars at the Strip .... to Seattle for The Spring Fling ... to Sandpoint, Idaho, Kalispell, MT, Palouse, WA, and to Spokane, WA, where it won "Mopar Muscle" at The Great Northwest Good Guys Show. In other words, we put a lot of miles on our Coronet 500 and have a great time doing it.