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2015 CRO Night – 1965 Dodge Coronet 500

1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Owner: Jay Rodriguez, New Britain CT Engine: TNT 440 from a ’71 Chrysler Imperial


Jay being presented with the Cool Rides Online Trophy by Charter Oak Firebirds at the Cool Rides Online night.

This car was purchased from the original owner in 1984 by Jay. At the time the original gold paint was covered up with a badly done black paint job, and the car had the factory 318 Polysphere engine.

Jay had a vision of what the car could be, and started down a long road reviving it. Working with his son, they replaced the motor with a 1971 TNT 440 Hi Po engine borrowed from a ’71 Imperial. Jay described the rebuilding:

“The engine received a complete rebuild, along with a 491 lift 274 duration Comp Cam setup that included a double roller timing chain, heavy duty matching Valve springs, new hydraulic lifters and push rods. I decided to install a new set of Manley Intake/Exhaust valves with a 3 angle Valve Job in order to revive combustion, new valve guide’s set up for unleaded gas, along with a Melling heavy duty oil pump a Milodon  windage tray and a Hemi orange paint job. The 440 now has a Protronix II ignition system, a Holly 8 psi fuel pump, Holly Street Dominator manifold and Holly dual feed 750 cfm carburetor.”

Cooling for the 440 is handled by a hand-fabricated high-efficiency aluminum radiator with a 2 rows / 1 inch tubes fabricated by Smith Racing Radiators.

The power is transmitted to an original cable shift 727 TorqueFlite transmission. I had the transmission changed over to a 1965 big block housing, and then completely rebuilt. A new transmission mount, B&M Stage II shift kit, and Custom made 19-spline 2800 stall torque converter from Hughes Converter, along with a B&M flexplate.

Putting the power to the pavement is a 1967 differential with 3:23 SureGrip, new universal joints, and a Mopar pinion snuber. Consequently, the Coronet runs at a steady 70 mph at 2800 RPM’s: a good highway car!   The car is now painted a stunning Inca Gold Pearl. The interior was custom made in black & gold and traveling music is provided by a 750 watt system with four 6×9’s.  This Coronet is one of only 12,999 made, which Jay says makes finding parts for it challenging!

Jay’s car has been a 30 year labor of love, and he is always happy to talk with people who approach him at shows about the beautiful Mopar.  Jay was presented with the Cool Rides Online Trophy by Charter Oak Firebirds at the August 15th 2015 Cool Rides Online night. The vote among the club for the CRO winner was unanimous!

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