based on early '60's Mopar Logo

Mopar Memories -- yarns spun, stories told!

Tales of '62 to '65 Mopars that got away; that stole our hearts; that burned vivid images in our mind that still pleasantly shock us today....

Personal reminiscing

JBPandGWP writes:  I enjoy this Web site! I've been a Mopar fan since the early 60's. I can remember when seeing those candy striped Candy - Matics and many others in the Drag mags as an everyday thing. I really miss those days, the fierce competition and the awesome advancements in drag racing. I consider the 60's decade as the "Golden Age" of drag racing. Those of us who were there are indeed lucky to have known the best years of the sport.

Pete Farris writes: I was sitting in my living room watching Popular Hot Rodding this morning when an old memory popped up in my brain.

In 1964 I was a junior in high school in Newark Ca. and very interested in drag racing, when one Sunday morning I went into town (Newark wasn't big); anyway I went into town to see a friend my who was working at a gas station on Thorton Boulevard, (the Main Street of Newark).

While standing talking with my friend, Dick Landy pulled into the gas station driving the flat bed truck with the A/FX Dodge on the back. Dick got out of the truck and asked me for directions to Fremont Drag Strip. Of course I wanted to get in the truck and show him how to get there! Well after this green horned high kid got done wetting his pants, I told him how to get to Fremont Drag Strip.

Landy came across the Dumbarton Bridge from Hwy 101 through Newark to pick up Hwy 17 south to where the old strip was located, across the highway from the GM Plant. Of course, I went to the drags that weekend and drooled all over the his Dodge A/FX. Since that day I always admired Dick Landy, always thought he was the Best Drag Racer ever, and when I heard his name I would stop and listen, then say how I showed him how to get to Fremont Drag Strip.

I'm 57 now and live just outside Springfield, Mo. and if Dick Landy came to town today I would be the first in line to see him. And like so many others I said he always had the very first FUNNY CAR. Thanks Dick.

Reminiscing about a 1965 Dodge Coronet 440

I inherited a 1963 Sport Fury from my father, who always liked a car that could move. He traded in a 1956 Chrysler New Yorker for the Plymouth in 1963. We lived in Newport News, Virginia, and in 1964 I went off the the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Beginning with my third year, Dad let me take the Plymouth to school as my car. When I graduated in 1968, he gave me the title.

The car was white with a red interior. I always thought it looked sharp with the burnished metal side strips and the red, white and blue chevrons on the sides of the roof. It had the Golden Commando 383 with the dual point distributor for extra spark. When you floored it at highway speeds, that Torqueflite transmission would downshift to second, or, depending on your speed at the time, perhaps all the way to first. The engine didn't so much roar as wail as that big four-barrel carburetor did its job, and it slammed you back into the seat.

I always wondered what the top end would have been had it not been geared so strongly for acceleration. As it was, it would pretty much jump to seventy or so, then move steadily without fuss up the dial past the 120 mark to an estimated 130, where it peaked. I remember it running at about 90 for mile after mile along I-80 through Nebraska without the least strain.

It was a great car.

Still, my fondest memories have little to do with performance. Those wonderful Chrysler engineers gave us two bucket seats in front with a nice, flat-topped console, just at or below the level of the two seats beside it. Those were the days when guys like to find a secluded spot to “park” with their girl. With experimentation, I found that a folded car blanket atop the console made it quite comfortable for the two of us to sit together. Ah, Pam!

I kept the Plymouth until 1976, by then, with over 140,000 miles, it was in rough shape, and I finally sold it. Many times since I have wished I had kept and restored it.
- Terry Grinnalds
Yorktown, VA

What pulled me into this Web site was that I was checking around for any info on the Dodge 880's. A 4-door white 1962 Dodge 880 w/red interior was my first car (way back in 1974!). The dodge was my family's daily driver and when Dad got a new car, I inherited the 880. I was the most popular guy at my high school....due to the cavernous back seat! It wasn't 'til recently that I discovered how rare the car was. Alas, if I only had foresight back then!

I traded the car in to a dealer in southern New Jersey and purchased a new one (not even for a Dodge!). A few weeks later, I was visiting my parents in Pennsylvania, and my younger brother come into the house and asked me when did I got the Dodge back. Asking what he was talking about, he told me that my car (the 880) was parked outside! Upon inspection, sure enough, it was the 880! A friend of a neighbor had recently purchased it and was visiting them.

How did I know it was THE car?

My father, when he owned it, did repair work on the trim. A chrome strip ran down the sides of the car front-to-back. In the trunk area on the passenger's side, a clip holding it on broke. His repair...a sheet metal screw thru the trim and into the body! Sure enough, there was that ghastly sheet screw!

Another highlight! While I had owned it, the Dodge had been stolen. It was shortly recovered, an apparent joyride, no damage. About a year after I traded it in, I was contacted by the police department from the city in which it had been taken. Seems they had a guy in custody who was stopped driving it, and the VIN # came up stolen! Seems they never took the car out of the system after I recovered it! This poor soul was at the police station for 8 hours while they tracked me (now living in another state) down! That was my last contact with the car.

One again, thanks for the memories and all your hard work and allowing me a few moments to wax nostalgic.
- William J. Wray

In 1973 my brother and I were G. M. fans, he had a 1964 Chevy with a 396 and I had a 1963 Pontiac with a 389 3x2. Early one morning when I came home on leave, it was about two am I was awakened by my brother. He said "you have to take a ride in my car." I told him I had a million times and to go away.

He said with a sheepish grin....not this car.

I went outside to see a black 1962 Plymouth and under the hood was a 440 six pack. Well.....I have to say that one ride down the road was all it took. I said "where can I get one of these?"

I have been a Mopar fan ever since and have had and still have Mopars.
- Michael A.

My Most Memorable Ride

Thinking back on all the cars I've owned, I guess my favorite would have to be my 1965 Dodge Coronet wagon. I found it through a want ad I saw while looking for a replacement for my '70 Cadillac. The ad said that it had a 383 4bbl and factory air, so I had to take a look.

So I grabbed a friend, the better to get an objective opinion, and headed out to see what the thing looked like. My first impression was of a white station wagon, with tinted glass, full wheel covers, and dual exhaust. I looked inside and noticed it had a blue interior (is there a law that mandates a white car must have a blue interior?), and had AC outlets but was otherwise unremarkable, so I crawled underneath to check on rust. When I saw that it had glasspacks, I told my buddy "Well, this thing's sold!"

After talking with the owner and doing the normal road test, we made the deal and I took her home. That Dodge had the greatest set of pipes; I don't remember a sweeter tone. I drove that thing everywhere; not realizing it probably didn't get 15 mpg. It was a pooch coming off the line, but it sounded good doing it.

After a year or so of putting up with a burned valve, I pulled the heads and started doing a valve job. Started, because I took some bad advice about how to knurl the guides, and ended up taking them to machinist Gary Ostrich. After I got them back I did a very mild porting job on them, mostly just matching the gaskets, and I put it back together with a factory high rise intake and a new timing chain and gears.

Unfortunately, a few months after the valve job she started pumping oil. Then the transmission started leaking, so I had to make the tough decision to send her down the road.

I enjoyed the time I had her, and hope that someday I can find another car like her.
- Mark

A few years past the time frame of this site, (Landy did drive '64 and '65 Dodges), but a note on the "Dandy One", Dick Landy and his never say "no" attitude to a fellow Mopar owner.

Mr. Landy has helped me several times in the past. a.) Dick Landy is a good man to have on your side if you have or like Mopars, I bought a new 1969-1/2 6 pack, went 4 miles from the dealership - Dodge City/Denver - and the rearend burned up. This was one of two of these model cars in a five state area at the time. The dealership had no parts and I was told it would take 4-6 weeks to get repaired. I was beside myself and went into the parts dept. and was raising heck when Mr. Landy walked in. He asked what was wrong and then asked the new car manager "why not pull the rearend assembly out of the other car" (no.#2 car). I had the car the next morning and stayed for the Performance School. b.) At 1,200 miles the convertor went bye bye, I talked to Dick, he called my dealership and they replaced it with a Hemi convertor - N/C. I saw Dick when he was racing here and was having problems with the starter, the dealership won't replace it because of the headers, Dick called them and they gave me a heavy duty unit N/C if I did the work.

I talked to him several years ago at the Great Salt Flats race, he had the flathead flyer there, we are all older but he hasn't changed after all the years, still a great guy and fun to talk to.
- Barry Conner

I drove a 1963 Plymouth Fury with a push button trans, 383 c.i. and a 4 barrel carb. It never lost a drag from a red light nor helped me talk myself out of a ticket :{)
Nice to see '63's brought back into sight.
- Vic

I had a 1965 Dodge Coronet Sedan Full race from the factory. When I registered the car on the Pink it said "Dragster". On the steering column was PRN12D. The side windows were Plexiglas and it had a rollbar. It came factory with no radio or heater. It was built to satisfy Nascar rules at the time. It weighed 3240 lbs. It had a Hemi w/ 456 Posi-rearend. It had only two headlights instead of four. The battery was in the trunk. Above the rear end third member was a half a leaf-spring. It had two bucket seats w/ no back seat.

- Dan

Around Christmas of 1965 my parents went out car shopping to buy my mom her first new car after 25 years of marrige and six kids. I had just turned 15 but was already a car nut, thanks to my brother nine years my senior, who had already driven me around town in a long succession of ’34 and ’40 Fords with Olds and Caddy engines.

I expected the folks would bring home a Chevy or Ford station wagon so I and my brother two years older than I were suprised to say the least when they drove home a spanking new ’66 Coronet 440 2 door hardtop. It was an ugly “Citreon Gold” color with white interior, but all that was ignored when we spotted the 383 Four barrel plaque on the front fender.

That car got a workout for the next couple of years; we borrowed it everytime we could to “go to the library” or whatever excuse we could find, and many a SS396 or GTO were amazed at how “Momma’s Dodge” left them in the dust on the quarter mile someone had marked out on the east side of town. I got the Mopar bug from that car.

Fast forward to 1972 - The Coronet is now mine; mom having opted for something a little easier on gas. With a slightly modified 383, a manual shift valve body and a SureGrip rear, my wife is driving the car every day and tearing up the Palmdale dragstrip on the weekends. Consistant 14 second flat runs wasn’t too bad in those days, especially at the 2500 foot elevation of the Southern California high desert.

An aquaintance of mine was into Hemi cars. Hard to believe now, but used Hemi cars were not that hard or expensive at that time. Many were bought by people with more money than sense, and after rather brutal break-in periods resulting in blown head gaskets, they passed into the hands of others, to be stripped of the Hemi engines and Dana rear ends and passed on down to “low - bucks” car nuts such as myself. So it was that I ended up with a ’67 Sport Satellite convertible - A factory Hemi car with the original engine and 4 speed trans as well as the Hemi k member and Dana rear end having been removed. The pristine black factory interior fit perfectly into the Coronet, and I had no use for the rest of the car. A friend of a friend was racing a ’67 Belvedere stock car at Saugus Speedway and needed the quarter panels, front fenders and hood, so I traded him the hulk for a ’64 Dodge 330 2 door post that just happened to be a factory lightweight car. I helped him cut the quarter panels off the Satellite and haul the rest of it to the junk yard.

Most of the original body parts on the ’64 lightweight car had been removed by a previous owner and replaced with stock items, but the aluminum front fenders remained. The plan was to build a bracket car out of it and retire the Coronet to everyday street use.

Like many plans, the 330 never got out of the starting blocks. It sat in the garage for a few months, and the wife got tired of driving the ’66 Coronet with no power steering and no air conditioning, and eventually both the Coronet and the 330 were sold or traded or whatever in favor of a new ’73 Charger.

I honestly can’t remember what happened to the 330 - I think I traded it to someone but can’t remember the details.

So, for a short time in the early 1970’s, I had a Sport Satellite convertible Hemi car (one of something like 7 built), and a ’64 factory lightweight. If I had just hung on to them.......

Reminiscing about a 1963 Dodge Dart and a Barracuda

I stumbled across your site tonight and boy did it bring back memories. I’m still a Mopar Guy. Can be seen all over town wearing a new Hemi flame hat.

My favorite memory of a '62 to '65 Mopar (I had five over the years) was my black 1962 Dodge Polara. My dad owned an auto parts shop on Van Nuys Blvd and the next block over was this Mopar guy. He raced at Bonneville. Norm Thatcher was his name. I used to spend hours hanging around the shop dreaming. When I got my 1962 Polara it had a 361 four barrel with torqueflite. Push buttons of course. I decided to build a street tribute to Norn Thatcher. So in goes an Isky 505 roller cam with 320 duration. Fender well exit Hedman headers. A dual four barrel offy manifold with carter carbs. This car could fly, after you got over 3500 RPM that is. Cam was way too big for stock stall converter. I did nuetral drop the car a couple of times. With a 2:76 SureGrip rear end it still lit up the tires for over 300 feet. My buddy measured it, since I did it in front of his house. Boy was his mom mad. So one night I’m late for a date and I’m driving from Thousand Oaks to Sunland. About 60 miles. Don’t know what possesed me but I decided to open her up. I was rewarded for my decision. A ticket for doing 135 MPH in a 65 MPH zone, pulling away from patrol car rapidly. I would have got away but caught up to traffic and just pulled over. The cop was so impressed with the car, he kept me talking about it for thirty minutes. His mistake was not arresting me. As I left I decided to give him a thrill. I saw some dirt on the side of the road. Drove into it and punched it. Smoked the hides through first gear and half of second. He didn’t come after me, so I guess he WAS impressed. I got traffic school. Met Gene Windfield’s son there, the famous custom car builder. Things always came out that way for me. So many memories. So many Mopars. It's been a sweet ride for sure. Thanks for giving me a place to remember the good old days.
-Hemi S.

My pop was a Ford man. In 1964 it was time to buy his first new car. He really surprised mom! A 1964 Plymouth Fury, 383, 4 speed, turquoise with white painted top. I was only 7 years old. Over the years all of dads friends cars were outrun by that---- “mayflower”,to quote them. When it came time to learn to drive dad could tell I was itchin’ to gas it, and I nearly lost it, 13 and scared. Dad bought a farm and traded it for a truck just before I could legally drive, but the seed was planted. My 1st car was a ’66 Plymouth Satellite, 383, 4 speed. Love that car! After nearly 30 years and 23 Mopars later I still have the '66, but she is very rusty and parked behind my shop. After searching for a long time a finally found a 1964 Plymouth Fury to build as near to dad’s as possible. All my children are Mopar gearheads and I couldn’t imagine growing up without dad’s 1964 Plymouth Fury.
John H.

My 1963 Golden Commando Fantasy Come True
When I was 13 years old, I came from poor parents in Brooklyn, New York, and our first car was a 1955 Plymouth Belvedere in two tone peach and black. It was a pretty car, although it had a small 6 cylinder engine...but from that point on I became partial to Plymouths and in 1956 when Chrysler introduced the new Fury model, with 240 whopping horsepower, my childhood auto fantasies centered were inspired and the Fury became the car of my childhood dreams.

My love and admiration for these cars continued through my teenage years during the middle 1950s. In 1960, I got my license and was still driving the beat-up ’55 Belvedere. By 1963, the old Plymouth was in bad shape and needed lots of repairs but it was all we could afford and I used to look longingly at all the new models that were being introduced and I would dream about Furys -- sometimes to the detriment of even thinking about the opposite sex.

To this day, I don’t know how he did it, but my dad said he had found the means to buy us a new car and was probably going to look at a Plymouth. I was naturally excited but I had no idea what my dad was really planning. He and my mom went shopping a few times and one night they told me they had bought a nice new 1963 Belvedere. I was somewhat happy but the thought of a plain family style car didn’t get me that excited. In those days, you had to order cars and wait a few weeks for them to arrive at the dealership.

One day after I got home from my college classes, my dad said that the car had arrived and asked if I would I like to go with him to pick it up. So we both got into the old Plymouth and drove over to the dealer. Up to this point, I was still not excited ....but then it happened. The salesman said to my dad and I, “wait here while we bring the car around.”

Well, we stood there and all of a sudden, the salesman pulls up slowly in a gleaming baby blue, 1963 Sport Fury and the first thing I noticed was the small metallic decal on the fender that read Golden Commando Power. Needless to say, my heart started pounding and I thought I was in a dream.

Then dad said to me, “do you want to drive it home?”, and I literally broke out in tears of happiness. The car was sitting and idling and anyone who knew anything about motors knew that something monstrous was beneath the hood. In those days, we used the term “Hairy” to describe a hot engine and this baby was hairier than I had ever dreamed!

I got into the Plymouth and even though I only feathered the gas pedal, the 330 horses, the dual exhausts and the 4 barrel carb immediately peeled out. Even when that baby was idling, you felt she just wanted to go. It was like a wild stallion that was bred to race and just wanted to gallop away as soon as you touched her.

I have many more stories about my adventures with that Sport Fury but that long ago night in 1963 ranks among the 10 happiest moments in my life and I wanted to share it with all of you....
Michael B.

While in college back in 1969 I traded my 1960 Chrysler Saratoga 2dr HT in on a 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury. It was white w/red interior. A 361 c.i. eng. w/single 2 barrel carburetor and a factory Hurst 4 speed. After driving it for several months I got a deal on a 1965 Dodge 383 eng. out of a dirt track car. This thing had a cam in it that rocked the world. I had it put into the Fury by a friend over a weekend. It was starving for fuel because I had to put the 2 barrel back in it until I could afford the new manifold and 4 barrel it needed to run properly. I was so excited about this car that I ran the snot out of it. Unfortunately, I had to get rid of the Fury and replaced it with a 1965 Dodge Custom 880 and a wife.

Today I am still searching for a 1963 Sport Fury to fulfill my dream. I saw one at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Florida. It sold for $54,000 a far cry from the $900 I paid for mine in 1969.
—Ed Bandics

I spent most of the summer of 1966 traveling with my Dad, Mom, Brother and Sister halfway across the United States from Houston to Washinton DC in an unairconditioned 1965 red Dodge Dart 2 DR Sedan with a 225 cid slant six and tourqueflite tranny. We carried a big tent in the trunk (along with all the camping accessories) and spent each night camped out at some park or wide place in the road all along the way. My Dad's objective was to visit every Civil War battleground between here and there and I guess we did. We never spent a single night in a motel. My brother and I got to where we could put up that tent in about 3 minutes which was helpful as it usually was raining about the time we'd pull in someplace.

We ended up in Washington DC and camped out somewhere near Vienna, Va. for a week where we met the Howard Johnson family from Sioux Falls, SD with their two lovely teenage daughters and his 1964 Dodge Coronet with the 361 V8 that he would let us use in the evenings to cruise the local scene. My parents still exchange Christmas cards with his family to this date.

As by that time I had my driver's license it was my pleasure to handle most of the trip’s driving duties. I can tell you that little Dart had to huff and puff a bit to get up and down the Appalachians, loaded down as it was with the five of us and all the camping gear. But we made it. I was glad to get home and head off to college. When I close my eyes I can still smell the odor we generated all cooped up in that Dart for six weeks sweating like the bunch of Okies we were.

We also had a white 1965 Playmouth Sport Fury Convertible 383 4bbl. But my Dad insisted on taking the Dart because of the good gas mileage. (And also because I had put twin glass packs on it and my mother complained about the noise.)

Trust me, I can tell you every nuance of a 1965 Dodge Dart.

Bill Liles
Houston, Tx

1962 Dodge Dart Station Wagon Drag Car — The Tennessee Hustler

Do you have a story about a 1962 to 1965 Mopar that you previously owned?

How about a story about one of these Mopars that somehow changed your life and made you fall in love with these beauties?

Or how about suggestions for links to other web sites with historical references and stories about these years' Mopars?

Send me a note and it will get shared with everyone viewing this page! contact Gary is the address.

Thanks for contributing!

Gary H.

Page first uploaded January 6, 2000 and revised 41 times: the latest version is April 16, 2012

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