While a lot of guys are busy chasing Chargers and Daytonas, it's easy to overlook the Dodge Coronet R/T. Available with the same ground-pounding big blocks as its brothers, it was a reasonably-priced alternative for the guy who wanted big performance for not a lot of money. This particular 1968 Coronet R/T packs its original, numbers-matching 440 under the hood, and has been treated to a high-quality rotisserie restoration that pegs the wow meter thanks to a brilliant QQ1 Bright Blue Metallic paint job.
Yes, this is a real R/T, restored to stock specs except for the addition of a 4-speed manual in place of the original TorqueFlite after all, what fun is a big block muscle car without the ability to hammer it through the gears, right? The fender tag verifies the rest of the cars current specifications:
CAR: Dodge Coronet R/T 2-Door Hardtop
ENGINE: 440 cubic inch 4-barrel V8
TRANSMISSION: 3-speed automatic
TIRES: F70x14 Red Sidewall, Steel Belted
MODEL YEAR: 1968
BUILD DATE: October 24
AXLE: 3.23 Rear Axle Ratio, Sure Grip
INTERIOR: Sport Trim Grade, Vinyl Bucket Seats, Black Interior
PAINT: Monotone Bright Blue Metallic Paint
OTHER: Black Upper Door Frame Color. White Bumble-Bee Sport Stripe
MOLDINGS:19: Wide Sill Mouldings25: Drip Rail Mouldings78: Wheel Lip Mouldings
ABC OPTIONS:R1: AM RadioT7: TachometerX2: Tinted Windshield Only
ABC OPTIONS:A5: Center Front Seatb4: Bucket Seats
A lot of shops get the QQ1 Bright Blue Metallic wrong, but the guys who sprayed this one nailed it. Not too light, not too dark, it is indeed vivid and bright as the name implies, and there's just enough metallic in it to make it glow without looking like some escapee from a mid-70s AutoRama. Restoration photos show a clean, solid original car in surprisingly good shape before the project started, and thorough examination of the body shows that the workmanship is first rate. Panel gaps are very good, and panel alignment is excellent, with doors that open and close with precision and a hood that closes with a gentle push instead of a violent slam. Correct white bumble-bee sport stripes were applied around the tail, and their alignment is proof that the bodywork was exceptionally well done.
The Coronets were a little plainer than their Charger siblings, but a lot of people, me included, like the contrast. Four exposed headlights are reminiscent of the Charger 500, the interim car between the Charger and the Daytona, and they're nestled into a correct blacked-out R/T grille. Out back, the Coronet got unique taillights that are integrated into a ribbed tail panel that's virtually impossible to find intact today. Correct R/T badges have been installed fore, aft, and on the flanks, and those cool round side marker lights are one of my favorite details. All the chrome and stainless has been restored to show standards, including the unique hood scoop trim and the bright pieces along the rockers. New tinted glass has been installed throughout.
The engine is the original, numbers-matching 440 Magnum, which has been fully rebuilt and detailed to original specifications. The engine bay is extremely well finished, with beautiful paint and correct components, ranging from the black wrinkle finish on the original air cleaner, to the Mopar Turquoise engine paint, to the beautifully preserved exhaust manifolds. Chrysler restorers have raised the restoration of the engine compartments to the level of art, and the contrasting and correct colors and materials used throughout will win awards at the highest levels. In fact, the only possible demerit I can find is that there's no engine paint overspray on the battery ground cable, but many restorers prefer the perfectly detailed look of an unpainted cable and most clubs won't deduct for it. Proper decals and markings have been used where appropriate, and things like the ballast resistor and wiper motor are correct for the cars October 1967 production date. You'll also be pleased to find a reproduction red cap battery instead of some parts store generic piece, an oversight many restorers forget.
As I mentioned earlier, this Coronet was originally equipped with a 727 TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic, but during the restoration, a 4-speed manual was installed in its place. The conversion was correctly done, with a modified transmission tunnel to accommodate the transmissions side-mounted shift mechanism. Out back, there's a correct 8.75-inch rear with 3.23 gears and a Sure Grip limited slip, as original. Yes, the floors are over-restored and have been painted to match the body, but you can't argue with how good it looks imagine the comments from your friends as you wheel up in your new Coronet and instruct them to have a look underneath, and again, the judges probably won't hold it against you if you're on the show field. Everything is new, from the brake lines and hoses, to the gas tank, to the fresh dual exhaust system with the correct tips. New shock absorbers and fresh bushings have been installed at all four corners, so it will ride like a new car. The finishing touch are those gorgeous Magnum 500s wearing BFGoodrich Silvertown redline radials.
The interior has been restored to the same brilliant standards as the rest of the car, including the buckets with the unusual a5 center seat that makes this a true 6-passenger automobile. All the soft parts, including the door panels, carpets, dash pad, headliner, and seat covers are brand new and correct in every way, right down to the "Coronet R/T" emblems on the doors and dash. The gauges have all been restored with sharply detailed faces, including the tic-toc-tach. As I mentioned, the transmission tunnel was correctly modified for the 4-speed's shifter, which is a Hurst unit topped by a white cue ball knob. The original Music Master AM radio with funky roller-style knobs remains in the dash, and sounds as good as AM radio can sound today. Fresh R/T logo floor mats have been recently installed to protect the carpets, because this is a car you're not going to be able to resist driving once in a while. The trunk features a new mat, full-sized spare on a steel wheel, and a correct jack assembly.
We have a full restoration album, which documents the transformation from fairly nice, but tired R/T to the jaw-dropping piece you see now. You can see that it was stripped to bare metal for the rebuild, and every inch of the car was detailed to show standards. There's also an original owner's manual and warranty booklet.
With all the focus on the other members of the Dodge lineup in 1968, it's easy to overlook the Coronet. But that also means that the R/Ts like this one are screaming bargains, and still offer all the same performance and handsome good looks as their siblings. The way this car is priced, it's like paying for the restoration and getting the car for free and without the wait. Beautifully finished in every way, this is a car that will show well at major events, and is an absolute blast to drive thanks to the addition of the 4-speed transmission. The cruising season is here take this one home and don't sit out another year waiting for the right car to come along. Call today!
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