Make/Model

1965 Dodge Coronet

Chattanooga – Tennessee

Black

Engine

493ci Big Block Mopar

The RB big block started life as a 440, but now boasts 493 cubic inches, thanks to the full treatment from Hensley Performance of Knoxville, Tennessee. The displacement comes from the combination of 4.150-inch stroke and 4.350-inch bore, while compression comes in at 11.0:1. Atop the block is a pair of Max Wedge Stage III cylinder heads, heavily reworked by Hensley Performance. An aggressive idle and crisp throttle response is a product of a Direct Connection “509” camshaft, which features 292 degrees of duration and 0.509-inch lift,

Horsepower

600

Transmission

Backing the stroked big block is a 727 TorqueFlite automatic, built by local drag racer Melvin Croft. Ken matched the camshaft power band with a loose torque converter that stalls to 4,400 rpm before transferring the power. Ken still uses the stock column shifter to operate the three-speed automatic.

Rearend

Out back is a Dana 60 rear end built by Hudlow Axle and packed with a Sure Grip differential and 4.10:1 gears.

Suspension

Ken focused most of his effort on the killer engine, so the suspension, steering and brakes got a basic rebuild. The only modification underneath is a pair of Super Stock leaf springs, which help plant the horsepower to the ground.

Tires/Wheels

Paint/Body

The paint and bodywork was a team effort, with help coming from Henry Johns and NuNu Lowry. Ken was blown away with solid and straight panels, considering this car’s drag racing history. He laid down a few coats of Sikkens base coat/clear coat Euro Jet Black paint after massaging the body to perfection, then rubbed on it even more to polish the fresh finish.

Interior

Inside, it’s a pretty simple setup, with a bench seat, a big steering wheel and lots of red material. Ken ordered new carpet and door panels from Legendary Interiors, while Kyle Wilson at Fully Loaded Interiors stitched new covers for the seats. The dash and trim is immaculate, another rarity with an ex-drag car. Ken restored the interior with all original components, and put the same amount of effort into the trunk, with superb details throughout.

Special Features & Modifications

Ken spent a couple years of evenings and weekends working to revamp this Mopar into something that would stand out at a car show, while also looking right at home at a test and tune session at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. With a 493ci big block Mopar under the hood, and plenty of supporting parts and pieces, Ken’s Coronet is ready for action, and will likely surprise a few folks when those two four-barrel carburetors are opened up. The car is certainly a sanitary sleeper, and serves as a rolling memorial for Ken’s late brother, Rick, and father Kenneth, who were both responsible for adding fuel to this Mopar guy’s fire.

History

In 2005, Ken bought the car from L.C. Bigham, who has been drag racing for as long as Ken has been alive. L.C. is the master of a class known as “footbrake”, which is an sportsman bracket racing class that doesn’t allow a transbrake or any type of delay box or electronics. It was said that L.C. won more than $40,000 with this particular car, which is a fraction of his total winnings in his ongoing career. The car never had a radical engine or suspension, and it was surprisingly well preserved, compared to most cars that are subject to the drag racing lifestyle. The weekends of racing action was the best possible treatment for this Coronet, and Ken admits that it was one of the most solid cars that he’s built through the years.

Video

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