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Selling on Saturday Evening

1966 Dodge Coronet 500 Hemi Convertible

  • Believed to be 1 of just 9 automatic ’66 Coronet 500 Hemi Convertibles built
  • 36 years of single enthusiast ownership; known history from new
  • Documented with two original broadcast sheets, original Certicard, copy of window sticker, and original owner’s manuals
  • Two-time AACA Grand National Senior Award winner with over 65 awards to its name
  • Equipped with the legendary and desirable 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine

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In 1964, Chrysler found itself at the top of the NASCAR podium with more than just one of their drivers. With Richard Petty leading the charge in his Hemi-powered race car, four of the top five finishers for the Daytona 500 that year would be Hemi-powered Mopars. Not happy with the Hemi cars quite literally tearing up the track and blowing the competition away, NASCAR banned it from competing for the 1965 season, claiming it was because it wasn’t offered in a regular production car. To meet homologation regulations, Chrysler pledged to offer a Hemi option for their 1966 model lineup, which could be ordered in any Mopar B-Body. Essentially taking the exact setup used on the race cars for the production cars, the high-winding street-legal Hemis became legends on the open roads.

For the 1966 fifth-generation Dodge Coronet, buyers had the option of a two- or four-door sedan and six-passenger station wagon forms, the upscale Coronet 440 in four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, convertible, and six- or nine-passenger station wagons, all the way up to the Coronet 500 in two-door hardtop and convertible body styles. If this wasn’t hard enough to choose from, they also had five different engine options, ranging from a six-cylinder to the 426 Hemi V-8.

For Mopar cars, engine specifications, and documentation are everything, and this example has just that and more as it reigns as one of the scarcest ’66 Coronets produced; this 500 Hemi Convertible is 1 of only 9 automatics to leave the factory. With known history that can be traced back to new, this 500 Hemi would be sold on April 4, 1966, to George Walther Jr., owner of the Dayton Steel Foundry, who made a name for himself in the automotive world by fielding Indy 500 cars for various drivers. From there, this Coronet would be acquired by famed collector car dealer, the late Leo Gephart. Gephart would then sell this car to David Block of Wilmington, North Carolina; under his care, he would perform an extensive body-off-the-frame restoration including sourcing a period-correct 426 Hemi replacement engine – the block is a 1968 426 Hemi, while the cylinder heads are 1964. This would bring us to the current owner, an AACA Assistant Chief Judge, who would acquire it on April 3rd, 1987, which is documented by a copy of the bill of sale. Under his 36 years of careful ownership, he would keep a meticulous maintenance log documenting everything that happened during his ownership. This rare Coronet 500 Hemi would also go on to win an astonishing 65 awards, most notably two AACA Grand National Senior Awards and the Concours Award of Excellence at the Pearl S. Buck Concours d’Elegance. A full and detailed list of all the awards is on file. Having only been driven around 500 miles per year, under current ownership, this Coronet 500 Hemi Convertible presents very well and is ready for continued showing at important events around the country.

Documented by two original broadcast sheets, its original Certicard, a copy of the window sticker, original owner’s manuals, and dealer pamphlets, this beautiful blue ’66 Coronet 500 Hemi convertible left the factory with the desirable and rare 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine, dual four-barrel carburetors and a TorqueFlite middle console automatic transmission. Optioned with the 351 Coronet group and 362 Light Package, its rarity is further enhanced with power steering, power brakes, a sure grip differential, and an array of interior factory options. Toward the end of 2013, a new top and rear window were installed.

Thoroughly documented and meticulously maintained under the watchful eye of just one owner for the last 36 years, this award-winning, rare, and highly desirable 426 Hemi Convertible would be a rightful addition to any car event and surely any Mopar or muscle car collection.

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