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1965 Dodge Coronet AWB Project

Vince B. writes: A little over 2 years ago I sent you pics of a 1965 Dodge Coronet convertible 4X4 conversion beast that I had picked up real cheap. Original plan was to use the shell for a topless/roadster AWB Coronet. The more I looked at it, the more rot I found. I was starting to think that it was too far gone to even save the shell for my roadster AWB project.

While it was sitting in the backyard literally falling apart and upsetting off the neighbors, I came across a 1965 Dodge Coronet 4 door sedan that was also cheap and only a few hours away. So I decided to make 1 out of the 2!

1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, complete car 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, interior
1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, passenger side rear 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, passenger side rear wheel

I sliced the 2door doorjambs and quarter panels off of the obscenely rotted convertible and set them aside to convert the 4 door into a 2 door sedan AWB ride.

Other bobtailed AWB racers of the 1960s are a big influence here, such as Shirl Greer’s Tension Dodge Coronet, Leon Fox’s 1964 Dodge Polara with a 1965 Coronet nose, and the Candies&Hughes Jake’s Speed Shop 1965 Plymouth.

Currently I have only gotten so far as completely stripping everything inside and out, doing the 2 door conversion, and “roughing in” the shortened tail and wheelbase. Once I get the rear half all welded up solid with a roll bar, I will take out the 4 door pillar and doorjamb. I bought a straight tube front axle for the car, but have not installed it yet. It will end up at least 10 inches ahead, but hopefully closer to 12 inches or so.

1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, passenger side rear 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, passenger side wheel
1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, driver side rear wheel 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, trunk

Being in the frozen northeast has put a damper on my progress. Once the decent weather comes back around I should have the shell up on 4 wheels with the wheelbase all sorted out.

1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, deck lids 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, rear deck

I bought both cars for a total of $750, and made about $400 back on parts that I stripped off and sold thru ebay. So far, not bad for a roughly $350 investment. Probably would have been $3500 or even more if I started with a real 2 door sedan that wasn’t a rotted mess.

Since I’m working with the remains of 2 otherwise undesirable/unsaveable cars, anything is fair game and I don’t have to worry about wasting anything that could serve a better purpose: it’s all fair game here!

Everything is covered over and hiding under snow-covered tarps right now, since I am working outside on a concrete slab. Will probably be another 2-3 months before we “thaw out” up here in the northeast. Once that happens, I will be able to send some progress updates. Immediate plans are for getting the front axle/suspension figured out and MAYBE running a full 2X3 tube frame under the front portion of the car.

Thanks for everything Gary, this ’62-’65 web site is a great place!

Update July 30, 2010

The conversion to 2-door sedan status is about 95% done: Just needs a little more tack/stitch welding in a few spots on the outer quarter skin. The rear portion of the AWB surgery is maybe 75% done. I still need to figure out and incorporate the last of the structural braces and at least the beginnings of a rollbar.

1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, post repositioned 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, rear wheel well
1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, door frame, wheel well 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, passenger side

Once that stuff is done, then the next phase of the project is going to be reworking the front framerails and tying them into the rear with some 1/8-wall 2X3 tubing.

Contact Vince 1965 Dodge Coronet AWB project, contact owner

Thanks, Vince!

You are onto a great project. Keep up the good work!  smile!

Gary H.


January 28, 2009; July 30, 2010

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