Posted by: Mark Polk | 2017

Project 426 Street Wedge – A Little History on the 65 Dodge Coronet 500

When I purchase a classic vehicle with plans to restore it I like to learn as much history about the vehicle as I can. When I say history I mean historical data about the year, make and model and history of where it originated and who owned the car. Sometimes it is difficult to get this information.

When I got the 65 Coronet home I found part of the original broadcast sheet. A broadcast sheet was used on the assembly line so workers knew how the car would be built and equipped. There were usually several broadcast sheets throughout the assembly process and sometimes you will find one (or more) tucked away in different places in the car. It might be under a front seat, above the glove box or like in my case located in the springs behind the back seat. Only about half of the broadcast sheet survived, but it’s pretty amazing any of it was there seeing as how the back window was out of the car for quite some time.
I could not get any information from the broadcast sheet, but I am glad to have what is there. Chrysler has a historical services department and you can write to them and request the build card for your vehicle. All you need to do is show proof of ownership. They have microfilm records on most cars up to 1967 models. You send a check and they make a copy of the build card and send it back to you. When I got mine they apologized for it not being very clear, and they even sent my check back. I was able to verify everything I thought to be true about the car. It was a 65 coronet 500 and it did leave the factory with a 426 street wedge engine and 727 transmission.
Something else they told me was the original selling dealer was Lynn Cooper Inc. in Clinton SC. When I bought the car the owner, who lived in NC, told me he saw an ad for a tractor in SC and when he went to look at the tractor the family had the 65 Coronet 500. They told him the previous owner started restoring the car and then got sick and passed away. The man I bought it from purchased the tractor and the car. This guy builds 426 hemi cars and he needed some money to buy a 70 Cuda body from a junkyard so he sold the Coronet to me.
I thought it was interesting that we traced its roots back to SC and just for the heck of it I searched the internet for the original selling dealer. Turns out Cooper Motors is still in business after 70 years. Lynn Cooper senior started the dealership in 1938 and passed it on to Lynn Cooper Jr. in 1956 who in turn passed it on to third generation Lynn “Chip” Cooper III who still runs the dealership today. I wrote to the dealership and told them I thought it would be cool if they had a dealership badge that I could put on the deck lid after the car is restored. They immediately got in contact with me and said they were sending a package with several different badges to choose from.
Knowing the history of a vehicle makes you feel more attached to the vehicle. I have to finish a Jeep CJ7 restoration project I am currently working on then I can turn my attention to the 1965 Dodge Coronet 500. I can’t wait and I will do the owner who started the restoration proud!
Mark Polk
Auto Education 101
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