based on early '60's Mopar Logo

Polara 500 Pass. Front 1963 Dodge Polara 500

Jimmy Peavy writes:  The Polara 500 I own is only one of 5,676 two door hardtops made in 1963. I own another I bought as a parts car that is the same primary color known as Polar, but with a different secondary color or trim color known as cordovan poly. The trim color of my car is called slate turquoise poly. I know of another car from the Houston area that is the same Polar color with a vermillion colored trim.

Anyway, mine originally came equipped with power widows,
am radio, tinted glass, power steering and brakes, air
conditioning, aux-emergency brake indicator light, automatic
transmission and the optional 383 cubic inches,
four barrel carb. The old 383 ran fine, but was tired.
Polara 500 pass. Rear Driver

When I bought the car my goal was to keep the original color scheme's inside and out, but to upgrade to more power for more fun. Gas mileage wasn't a consideration since I rarely leave my immediate area. So I picked the more traditional route by building a 440 cubic inches bored .030 over to 446 cubic inches. One of the hardest things for me to do was to stay focused on the fact that the car had be built to run fast, but not at the expense of reliability, or derivability. So that left out things like radical camshafts, high compression pistons, transbrakes etc. I came real close to installing a transbrake and had to pinch myself. So, having mentioned those near mistakes, this is what I did.

The motor again is a 440 cu. in bored .030 over with 9 to 1 compression ratio cast pistons. It is a 1971 block with a 284 degree 484 lift street hemi camshaft. The crankshaft is steel, and there is a street hemi 1/2 inch oil pick-up tube. The oil pan is a reproduction Max-Wedge 6 qt. The heads also are 71's that have been pocket ported, and hard seats installed with 2.14 stainless intake, and 1.81 stainless exhaust valves. The wasted exhaust gases exit via CPPA 2 inch totally under chassis headers with 2 1/2 inch pipes swedging down to 2 1/4 inch reproduction street hemi muffler's. On the induction side is a new Carter 750 cfm sitting on a new dual plane aluminum Mopar Performance M-1 intake.

1963 Dodge Polara 500 Dash The original push button transmission utilizes a late model front oil pump
assembly and a Turbo-Action 11 inch torque converter. It also has been retrofitted
with a 1965 slip-yoke style output shaft and output shaft housing.
The transmission was rebuilt with a Turbo-Action rebuild kit, and incorporates
a street hemi governor shift weight for automatic upshifts in the 5800 to 6000
rpm range, depending on the tires I'm running at the time.

This transfers through a 1965 Polara driveshaft down to a 1965 8 3/4 inch rear with a 742 carrier spinning 3.91 to 1 gears on a Dana Power-Lock limited slip unit. That's the good rebuildable unit with the clutch pack. The axles are stock, but spin on the newer ball bearings known as Green bearings. This is all hung up there by Mopar Performance super stock springs with an adjustable Mopar Performance pinion snubber.

The brakes on the car have been upgraded from 10 inch x 2 1/2 inch drums to 11 inch x 3 inch drums. Since the car weighs approximately 3850 pounds, and is driven primarily on the street, the change to the larger brakes was an appreciable improvement in braking. The car is shod with Weld Racing Drag Light wheels 15 inch x 8 inch with 4 1/2 inch of backspacing on the rear, with 275 x 6O T/A radial's. On front are 15 inch x 6 inch with 3 1/2 inch backspacing and 235 x 6O T/A radial's. At the track I run Goodyear 28 inch x 9 inch slicks on another pair of Drag Lites with the same spec's as my street tires ride on.

The car was recently reupholstered using Legendary reproduction seat covers
in the original dark white and turquoise color scheme. One of the last remaining
projects is to replace a badly cracked dash pad and radio speaker grille.
1963 Polara 500 Interior

I take the car to the track and run it about once a year. It had a problem miss at the upper end of the scale and still managed to run upper 13's with a best of 13.579 at 101.01 mph. I have since found the problem, but haven't as yet been back to the track. With the present gearing the car is loafing as it passes through the traps at 5000 rpm., so I'm sure a lower gear, maybe a 4.10 or 4.30 to 1 would really wake up my e.t.'s, but then there's that old conservative voice telling me `It's just a low compression street car dummy.'

Polara 500 Pass. Side View April, 1997: In the beginning my objective was an early B-body street
car running an occasional 13 second quarter mile. I was completely
satisfied with the results.

Update, Fall, 1997: Gary Hamel found a hood locally
for Jimmy and Jimmy upgraded the '63 to give it the Ramcharger look:
63 Dodge & scoop

UPDATE: August, 2000
Jimmy reports the 500 is running 13.136 at 103.21 MPH in the quarter, and he has has proof!

UPDATE: October, 2000
Jimmy writes: I've been tuning recently,trying to get into the 12's. I rejetted and went back last night to Houston Raceway Park. The car always runs slow when the engine is cold. I suspect the reason is that the transmission does not up-shift at my 6000 rpm preset until it is warm.

Anyway, the 1st run was a slow 13.17 et. The second run was a 13.07 et, but I let off early when I heard something that did not sound right.

The last run launched hard, but at about 3/4 track I heard and felt something break loose, (really bad vibration), so I had to get out of it.

The 500 ran a 12.98 et @104.03 mph!

But the 12's were achieved not without paying dearly. This morning I see the problem. The front U-joint came apart, destroying the 1965 tailshaft housing (broken off)!
See the 12.98 timeslip!

Update: October 9, 2004

The tranny is fixed, and the car is running consistently,
as shown by my timeslip at Houston Mopar Show and Race,
October 2004, at Houston Raceway Park:
Timeslip at Houston Mopar Show and Race October 2004 at Houston Raceway Park

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