based on early '60's Mopar Logo

1963 Dodge Polara 500

My name is Randy Ruh. I'm a member of the Capitol City Mopars here in Sacramento.

The 1963 was pretty clean when I got it. One of the guys in the club has a little classified paper he puts out every month on Mopars and parts. The '63 had been advertised in that paper for three months before I got interested in getting another car. The guy started out asking $2,500 and got little or no response. He lives at the top a hill in a not too accessable area overlooking the Napa Valley. It's beautiful once you get their but is a lot of trouble getting to. Nobody else took the time to check it out.

1963 Polara 500

Anyway, after hearing his description on the phone, I told him if it was as he described I'd be willing to give him a thousand for it. He was a little reluctant but had lost interest and wanted to get on with his Barracuda project so accepted.

I had to have it the minute I saw it. I love neglected orphans. I just had to bring it back to life. It had been painted a couple of years but not driven since. All of the trim was back on but the engine was still not done and the interior although intact, was very moldy and sopping wet.

It was in a big garage with almost no roof and this was the rainyest winter yet. The garage had about two inches of water on the floor. The windows were down and rain just poured in. The third member was out as well as the tie rods and center link. It was really fun sloshing around trying to put the drop-out back in.

Saving a 1963 Polara 500

After I got the car home I discovered why I think he lost interest. He had spent a lot of time preping the car for paint and probably spent a fair amount to get it sprayed. Like I said, it looked as good as the pictures. Unfortunately, something is happening under the paint. Old stripper or something is reacting to the paint and is showing through on the trunk, top, and one side. It's not ungodly yet but will have to be redone at some point. I think the disappointment of going to a lot of trouble for nothing got to him. Oh well.

I'm running a 440 with the stock trans for now.

440 1963 Polara 500

440 in 1963 Polara 500

The trans is weak though and will get rebuilt this winter. My plans are to upgrade to a '65 727 with newer guts when I can. As far as upgrading my transmission to a 65, I'm not having trouble with the ball and trunion. I just like the u-joint set-up better. I'd also like to have newer guts so I can use one of the MP torque converters. The splines are different in the older transmissions and its a problem getting one built when you want to try different stall speeds. I had the one in the Savoy built to stall at 3,000 to 3,500 for about $400. After I got it, I wished it came in a little closer to 2,400 for better street drivability. Driving around with a high stall converter is like always having a slipping trans.

I put in the Legendary interior.

Interior in 1963 Polara 500

I put the dual master cylinder on it. It was something that I bought for my 1962 Plymouth that I used to own and never got around to. You know how it is. I also have all the disc brake stuff but most of it needs to be freshened up before I start that project.

What non-Mopars see of the 1963 Polara 500

My heart is in pre '65s. I've had five '62 Plymouths. My baby was my great aunt's 1962 Savoy which I turned into a semi-clone. It had a '62 413 from a Chrysler 300, 509 Cam, 906 heads, headers, frame connectors, 391 sure-grip, torker II, and carter 750. It ran 13.2 at 102. It was in Hot Rod's Reader's Rides in July '97, page 67. How's that for nearly big time? I also had another Savoy and a Belvedere, both 2-door post cars, and two station wagons.

Thanks, Randy! You have a very fine Polara 500 there! I like saving orphan Mopars too, but I don't seem to get around to getting them back in traffic soon enough! Please keep us updated!
December 7, 1998; revised and moved to the new web site garage August 18, 1999.

Go back to the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Web Site Home Page.