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