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Selling on Friday

From The Tom Haag Estate Collection

1965 Dodge Coronet A990 Lightweight Two-Door Sedan

  • Correct date-coded Hemi V-8
  • A long list of deleted weight-saving items
  • Acid-dipped body panels, Corning lightweight glass
  • Well-documented with original IBM card, MSO and purchase order
  • Shortened wheelbase
  • Original radiator and exhaust system

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Chrysler allowed the development of its Hemi engine for one real purpose, to win races. However, NASCAR in 1964 decided that Chrysler's engine was not acceptable on their racetracks. Plan B was to build a factory car that would dominate the stock classes in NHRA-sanctioned drag racing. Thus, was born the era of “A990” Super Stock cars. A total of just 102 Plymouth Belvederes were produced and only 101 Dodge Coronets, one of which we are honored to offer. First, each engine was hand-assembled and fitted with many unique features such as a magnesium intake manifold topped with specially tuned Holley carburetors, special aluminum heads (which saved 80 lbs. over the factory cast iron units), and aluminum water pump housing. Saving weight was the number one goal with the development of these cars. The specially built TorqueFlite automatic transmissions were created with a manual valve reverse shifting pattern, the deletion of the parking pawl, and a tail shaft housing found only on these transmissions. To the rear, the 8 ¾-inch axle was installed with 4.56:1 gears and they could withstand the tremendous amount of torque being sent to the rear wheels. To reduce weight, NASCAR would not allow special body panels of fiberglass or other lightweight material so all of the sheet metal was treated to an acid bath to shave off a few ounces. The side glass was replaced with Corning lightweight glass and, while the front door window still operates by hand crank, the rear windows were fixed in place. Bucket seats were sourced from the A100 vans, and any unnecessary components were eliminated including armrests, heater, radio, outside rearview mirrors, and even the sill plates and step guards as well as the entire back seat including seat belts. A lightweight carpet was installed but absolutely no undercoating or sound deadener was installed. To the front of the car, the high-beam headlights and all related hardware were deleted with a specially stamped grille designed to conceal the empty headlight opening. So desperate were the engineers to save weight, the back-up lights under the taillights were even deleted and replaced with special aluminum block-out plates. Other modifications included moving the battery to the trunk and special rear springs were drilled which allowed moving the rear axle two inches forward, which was considered as still being “stock” by NASCAR. A special exhaust system was used with the header pipes fitted with cut-outs and when not opened, fed the gases through a single pipe to the rear that was channeled through a specially mounted transverse muffler.

This is one of those very special Super Stock Dodge Coronets that has been carefully inspected and restored to its original configuration. According to the original fender tag, it was painted white at the Lynch Road factory. The serial number starting with “W0” was used only on the Super Stock cars; it is a badge of honor. Close inspection of this Dodge will find that mounting holes under the hood for the battery were never used, same for splash guards and sill plates. Amazingly, this car was never tubbed-out or altered and retains all of its factory body panels, glass, radiator, exhaust system, and even the muffler. Front and rear bumpers have been replaced and replated. Much of the interior is also original though the door panels have been replaced. The Hemi engine is date-code correct and was completely rebuilt by Wheeler Racing Engines of Minneapolis. The chrome valve covers have not been restored and present their original finish and decals, which show a bit of patina. Many original items remain such as the Prestolite ignition and original steel headers which have been restored. The original owner filled the muffler with lead for added traction, so during restoration, the muffler was cut open and the lead removed, sealed back up, and is still beneath the car today. Both the 727 TorqueFlite transmission and rear axle are original to this car.

This Super Stock Dodge was delivered to Kolesar’s Garage in Westfield, Pennsylvania on April 21, 1965. It was sold to George McAndrews of Wellsville, New York, for the sum of $1,000 plus a trade-in of his near-new 1965 Dodge Coronet daily driver. Because this car was not meant to be used on public roadways, it was never registered. As a result, the original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, or MSO, is included as will be the original bill of sale date April 16, 1965. In a handwritten letter from McAndrews to a subsequent owner in 1991, he stated, “No matter which drag strip we took it to, we always won.” McAndrews went on to claim it would run the quarter mile in the “low 10s” at around 134 mph. Another important piece of documentation with the car is its original IBM Build Card, which was professionally decoded.

This Coronet has been restored to its original condition; the only item we found that was probably added when new is a Stewart-Warner oil pressure gauge mounted in the dashboard to the right of the instrument cluster. The body was treated to a full rotisserie process which confirms that, despite its life as a competition vehicle, there were no signs of accidents. All body panels line up with the same care as when installed at the factory and the battery and full-size spare are mounted in the trunk. For those who would like to give the car the appearance of being race ready, the original velocity stacks and under-hood sheet metal are included in the trunk of the car. During ownership in the Thomas Haag Collection, this car was meticulously cared for. Of the 101 Dodge Coronet Super Stocks produced, only a handful have survived. It is believed that this example is the most factory-correct restoration and would be the centerpiece of any performance-oriented collection. Just for fun, imagine the thrill of being able to light those tires up just once.

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