Sometimes it seems the Mopar guys are so busy chasing Chargers and Daytonas that they forget about Dodge’s equally awesome, and often more exclusive, Coronet R/T. Available with the same ground-pounding big blocks as its brothers, the stalwart Coronet was the fratzog brand’s reasonably-priced alternative for buyers who wanted big performance for not a lot of money. And ultimately, when it comes to modern day collectability, living in the shadows of those more famous brothers was a great thing for cars like this sinister, HEMI-powered convertible. As one of only eight HEMI/A727 Coronet drop-tops built, and one of only three known to still exist, this square-jawed land rocket is an incredibly rare car that’s freshly restored, highly correct and fully documented from its Chrysler broadcast sheet all the way to its 2012 Galen Govier visual inspection, which landed the car a 1.1 score by Mr. Govier. If you’ve always wanted the chance to own a top notch, investment grade Chrysler, but don’t really care for all the over-hyped ‘regulars’ that seem to dominate the hobby, you’re looking at your next trophy winner!
Yes, this is a real 1.1 graded Coronet R/T. And yes, it is fresh out of a full, frame-off restoration conducted by our own RKM Performance Center. As you all probably know, the expert technicians at RKMPC have worked with a lot of Mopar metal; but given this stunning rag-top’s exclusivity, they pulled no punches in making it one of the absolute best HEMI restorations on the planet. Here’s how Galen Govier, who conducted his inspection after the restoration was complete, broke down the car’s VIN and fender tag:
* WS: Dodge Coronet R/T
* 27: 2-door convertible
* J: 426 cubic inch, 425 horsepower HEMI Head V8 that’s equipped with two 4-barrel carburetors
* 8: 1968 model year
* G: Assembled at Chrysler’s St. Louis, Missouri manufacturing facility
* 212214: Production sequence number
* WS: Dodge Coronet R/T
* 27: 2-door convertible
* 73: 426 cubic inch, 425 horsepower HEMI Head V8 that’s equipped with two 4-barrel carburetors
* 5: Torqueflite automatic transmission that’s equipped with a floor shifter
* 45: F70x15 Goodyear Speedway Red Streak tires
* 329: Scheduled for production on Friday March 29th 1968
* 078940: Shipping order number
* 19: Body sill mouldings
* 30: Body belt mouldings
* 78: Wheel lip mouldings
* A4: 8.75 inch axle that’s equipped with 3.23 gears
* X8: Sure Grip differential
* TS: Sport trim grade
* R6: Front vinyl buckets
* MB: Blue interior
* PE: Dark Blue Metallic roof paint
* NE: Dark Blue Metallic body paint
* T1: Monotone paint style
* UU: Light Blue Metallic upper door frames
* B: Non-buffed paint
* SC: Longitudinal, painted blue accent stripes
* A1: 26 inch radiator
* D9: Front disc brakes
* H1: Mandatory power brakes
* R1: Music Master AM radio
* S: Front heater that’s complete with a defroster
* X: Clear glass
* Y1: Black convertible roof
* a6: Console that’s complete with a floor shifter
* b4: Bucket seats
* m: Manual chrome mirror
* u1: Sold car/Expedite
This awe-inspiring drop-top came to the RKM Performance Center looking somewhat rough, but complete. Of course, after 14 years of sitting you might expect any steel body to be a ball of rust but, with the exception of traditionally troublesome quarter panels and a moderately decayed decklid, this Dodge was surprisingly solid. Our team’s goal was to keep the car as close to 100% Chrysler Corporation as possible, so they went to work straightening, flattening and finessing the body’s clean, existing panels into laser-straight surfaces. Since that body had never been wrinkled, or had any unfortunate run-ins with a drag strip guard rail, its panels displayed good gaps to begin with, and stellar gaps when reassembled. And finally, weeks of primer and sanding counted down to a fresh coat of Chrysler code E Dark Blue Metallic paint and a glossy clearcoat shell. Today, this killer Coronet reflects a finish that’s not too light, not too dark, has just enough metallic to glow, and is just as vivid and rich as its name implies.
With such a great shell, finishing this R/T in anything less than show-quality attire would’ve been a real crime. That’s why the car’s slick body is detailed in a healthy list of restored and NOS trim pieces. At the front of its dark profile a body-width, stainless-trimmed grille hangs a bright red “R/T” emblem and four clear headlights above a pristine chrome bumper and clear, round parking lights. Above that grille a smooth blue hood, which wears a traditional Mopar power bulge that’s been trimmed in bright silver, flows to new greenhouse glass that’s sandwiched between like-new trim, dulled stainless wipers and a correct black top. Below that hood subtly sculpted panels, which cast solid and unbroken reflections, hang fresh chrome door handles, new chrome marker lights and strategically placed “R/T and “HEMI” emblems between new stainless wheel trim, dent-free rocker mouldings and a traditional driver’s mirror. And at the back of those panels, a satin black valence hangs factory fresh tail lights and a fourth red “R/T” emblem above a bright “DODGE” script, a second pristine chrome bumper, and small, rectangular exhaust tips.
Fully detailed, covered in HEMI Orange paint and wearing only break-in miles since a complete rebuild, this slick Dodge’s 426 cubic inch warranty replacement V8 is spectacular in every measurable way! As Chrysler’s top option for power hungry gearheads this legendary elephant block, which is complete with its famous 2468330 casting number, utilizes cast iron heads, an oversquare bore, a forged steel crank, forged steel connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons and solid lifters to turn stout 10.25 to 1 compression into an advertised 425 horsepower and 490 lb./ft. of torque! Of course, the car’s engine bay wasn’t always this glorious and, while our team definitely knows their way around a 2G 426, we opted to enlist Larry Shepard & Hemi Only in Akron, Ohio for a full powertrain overhaul. At the top of the monster motor, two correct Carter carburetors sip Sinclair through fresh stainless fuel lines and suck air through a large chrome air cleaner that’s branded with a subtle orange decal. At the base of those carburetors, an aluminum dual quad intake props a familiar points distributor between traditional Organisol covered valve covers. And at the sides of that intake, fire travels into the cylinders via eight reproduction Chrysler Corporation Electronic Suppression wires while spent gases travel out of the cylinders thanks to two correctly restored exhaust manifolds. Cooling for the big engine is provided by a familiar 26 inch Chrysler radiator which circulates water through reproduction Chrysler hoses and correct squeeze clamps. And like the motor itself, the car’s Dark Blue Metallic engine bay is highly detailed and exceptionally impressive from its fresh decals and correct chalk marks all the way to its reproduction Mopar red cap battery and Chrysler branded washer fluid tank.
Underneath the car’s nearly perfect body, the concours-level restoration continues. Rock-solid floorpans were updated with a fresh coat of primer and then garnished with a healthy coat of overspray, just like the factory did it. The original front and rear suspensions were completely rebuilt to factory specs all the way down to the torsion bars where the infamous factory paint finish was recreated. This chassis left the factory with power steering, and so it remains, as do the original Kelsey-Hayes 4-piston front brake calipers. Behind the legendary HEMI street block you’ll find a correct A727 Torqueflite 3-speed which sends power to factory 3.23 gears via an original 8.75 inch Sure Grip rear end. At the center of the floors, a free flowing, true dual exhaust system sends charred dinosaurs through an H-pipe crossover to factory correct mufflers, factory correct resonators and traditional stainless tips. And at the corners of the suspension, original steel wheels spin period correct F70-15 Goodyear Speedway Red Streaks around fratzog branded hub caps that are seated in Dark Blue Metallic paint. The car’s correctly restored floors have been fitted with all new hardware that includes a new stainless fuel tank and new stainless lines. And its entire chassis has been detailed with correct chalk marks, correct pencil marks and accurate paint textures.
Open this B-Body’s elongated doors and you’ll be greeted by a showroom fresh blue vinyl interior that’s been restored to the same brilliant standards as the rest of the car. In the late 60s Chrysler was still well into its personal luxury phase, and that mindset certainly shows in the design of this cockpit. From the driver’s seat, completely restored to match the rest of the passenger’s perches, a blue-rimmed and satin-spoked steering wheel extends beyond a well thought dash. To the far left, controls for lights, flashers and a dimmer for the instrument panel are tucked into neat rectangular housings. Directly in front of the wheel, a broad speedometer interrupts a grid of secondary gauges which keep track of alternator output, fuel levels and temperature. And to the far right, a correct Dodge Solid State AM radio sits between Chrysler’s familiar rolling tuner knobs. At the floor, fresh blue carpet is protected by heavy duty, color-keyed mats. On the doors, ornate panels hang stainless trim, chrome handles and small courtesy lights below Light Blue Metallic frames that are branded with contrasting “Coronet R/T” emblems. And behind the passengers, a blue convertible cowl snaps tightly over a fully finished trunk that features a correct lid decal, a new mat, a full-size Red Streak spare and a correct jack assembly.
The sale of this factory fresh Coronet includes a copy of the car’s original Chrysler broadcast sheet, a reproduction owner’s manual, an extensive owner history, documents from Larry Shepard pertaining to the car’s rebuilt engine, a cam card, pictures of the engine rebuild, a three ring binder that chronicles the car’s entire restoration, a large display board, the 2012 Galen Govier inspection outlined above, and a small binder of Govier’s pictures of the car’s critical components.
With the primary focus on other members of Dodge’s incredible 1968 family, it’s been entirely too easy to overlook the storied Coronet. But that also means while killer R/Ts like this one offer the same performance and handsome good looks as their siblings, they’re much more rare and a much better long-term investment. Professionally finished in every way, this sinister convertible is a fully-sorted classic that will show well at any major event and hold its own at any stoplight in America. And it simply doesn’t get much better than an extremely exclusive Mopar built by some of the best in the business. Don’t miss your chance to take home the finest ’68 Coronet R/T HEMI on the planet!