There have been no scarcity of history-making occasions in 1971. The Apollo 14 astronauts landed on the moon, the battle in Vietnam continued to rage on, Intel launched the world’s first microprocessor, and Soiled Harry made his massive display screen debut. However none of it mattered all that a lot to Frank Kassel on the time. His consideration was targeted squarely on one factor: scoring his very first set of wheels, which turned out to be a 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T.
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“In the summertime of ’71 I had simply graduated highschool,” Frank remembers, “and was working full time as a mechanic in a Cities Service gasoline station. My aim was to avoid wasting sufficient cash to purchase my first automotive.” After working on the service station for just a few months, Frank met a pal of his boss who occurred to be a supplier of used, high-performance automobiles. “I inquired if he had any used Chrysler Company automobiles on the market,” Frank remembers. “I used to be fascinated with Chrysler merchandise as a result of my father was a Class A Chrysler/Plymouth mechanic for a few years.”
Not lengthy after, the supplier confirmed up on the station with the very ’67 Dodge Coronet R/T that might ultimately change into Frank’s first automotive. “At first look the automotive seemed fully inventory, even right down to the whitewall tires and hubcaps,” he says. “A better look contained in the white inside confirmed a manufacturing facility Inland four-speed shifter surrounded by a console, with a manufacturing facility tachometer mounted in entrance.”
The four-speed gearbox acquired Frank’s coronary heart pumping, and his pleasure grew when he raised the hood and laid his eyes on the Coronet’s 440 Magnum engine. “I instantly fell in love with the automotive. The salesperson left it on the station, and I known as my father to return take a look at it and let me know what he thought,” Frank remembers. “He examined it and requested me what my intentions have been in shopping for this automotive. Along with his firsthand data of Chrysler high-performance automobiles, he knew what this automotive might do. We talked for some time, and he lastly gave his approval for me to by the automotive on the asking value of $1,100.”
Coronet Goes From Inventory to Dragstrip
The Coronet was bone-stock when he purchased it, however in line with the instances, it didn’t stay that means for lengthy. “My first modifications to the automotive have been what everyone was doing within the 1970s,” Frank says. “I added Cragar S/S wheels with 60-series tires on the rear and the ever-popular rear spring shackles to get clearance for the wheels. I additionally painted the entrance and rear undercarriages white. I raced the automotive on the native eighth- and quarter-mile dragstrips, with my share of wins and losses. I normally did fairly properly on the road, nonetheless, since this was my each day driver.”
Just a few years of fixed use precipitated the Coronet’s inside to indicate some put on, so Frank went to his longtime pal Freddy, who did a customized inside job on the Dodge. They bounced round just a few concepts till they agreed to get better the seats and door panels utilizing white Naugahyde with a Turkish diamond sample.
Shortly after modifying the inside, Frank had what he describes as his “most horrifying reminiscence” with the automotive. One night time, whereas it was parked in entrance of a restaurant, an unknown assailant crashed into the Coronet. “The automotive was blasted within the driver’s facet door and quarter-panel,” he says. “It was turned 90 levels, and the right-side tires have been on the sidewalk in entrance of the restaurant, all courtesy of a hit-and-run driver.”
Fortunately, the Coronet was repairable, and after it was fastened Frank continued having fun with it via the summer season of 1984. In July of that yr, he encountered some monetary issues and was pressured to take his beloved Dodge off the street. It remained in his driveway, below a canopy, for the following 26 years. “I used to be at all times hoping that in the future I’d be capable of restore my Coronet and drive her once more; and in 2009, as soon as I lastly completed constructing a brand new, two-car storage, it was time to revive the automotive,” he says.
Years Not Variety to the Coronet
After uncovering and inspecting his Coronet, Frank found that every one these years of out of doors storage had taken their toll. “Mom Nature was not too sort to me,” he displays, “because the automotive was severely rusted. I known as just a few buddies who owned or labored in physique outlets, and all stated it was too far gone and never price restoring.”
Due to his sentimental attachment, nonetheless, Frank wouldn’t hand over. He finally discovered a reliable store able to, and keen to do, the work. “I known as Paul’s Rods & Restos, a well known store in Deer Park, New York,” he says. “After inspecting the automotive, Paul defined that it will most likely value extra to revive than it was price. However as a result of it was my first automotive, he understood my place and agreed to do the work.”
Frank stripped the automotive to a rolling chassis in his new storage and despatched it to Paul’s. The Coronet went on a rotisserie, the entrance and rear suspension have been eliminated, and the physique shell was despatched out for media blasting. When it got here again, they may see precisely how a lot the rust had broken the automotive.
“When it got here again from the blaster, Paul informed me there was a whole lot of Swiss cheese. Nonetheless, I used to be not discouraged, and the restoration course of started.” All the physique was painstakingly restored by the Paul’s workforce over a 22-month span. Amongst different issues, they changed each doorways, one fender, the left-side quarter-panel, each entrance floorpans, the rear trunk ground, cowl, and each rocker panels, utilizing a mix of fine authentic and new sheetmetal. Additionally they fastened minor rust spots in varied locations by fabricating new items and welding them in place. As soon as all of the rust was eradicated, they perfected all physique strains and gaps and labored the surfaces of all panels till they have been as near excellent as potential. After the bodywork was completed, Paul’s sprayed the automotive its authentic Darkish Turquoise coloration, utilizing PPG’s two-stage Deltron system.
After Paul’s was completed and the fully restored physique was in his storage, Frank started working placing his beloved ’67 Coronet again collectively. The unique 375-hp 440 was rebuilt to manufacturing facility specs by G&R Efficiency in West Babylon, New York. Frank resealed the automotive’s authentic A-833 four-speed gearbox and three.54-geared 9-3/4-inch Dana 60 rearend however in any other case left them alone since each have been nonetheless in nice working situation.
As with the engine and drivetrain, Frank rebuilt the Coronet’s chassis to manufacturing facility specs. The duo-servo, single-pin brake system was restored to new situation, as have been the entrance and rear suspension.
For an entire, appropriate inside package, Frank turned to Legendary Auto Interiors. His previous pal Freddy, who put in the customized Naugahyde seat covers and door panels again within the late 1970s, restored the seats to their manufacturing facility look with Legendary’s replica covers.
After Frank put in new door panels and different inside trim gadgets, the automotive seemed precisely because it did when he purchased it again in 1971. Nicely, nearly precisely. One necessary merchandise was lacking. When he purchased the Coronet, it nonetheless had its authentic Inland four-speed shifter, however like most house owners again within the day, he changed the manufacturing facility gear selector with a Hurst setup and failed to avoid wasting the unique components. After a whole lot of looking, he managed to find an authentic Inland shifter, finishing the inside restoration.
To complete the outside, Frank wanted so as to add a vinyl roof and loads of vibrant trim. R&R Seats in Plainview, New York, expertly put in the brand new vinyl roof. Among the automotive’s authentic physique trim was in good situation; with some finessing, sprucing, and/or replating, it went again on. Different components needed to be discovered, and that may be fairly a problem with a 1967 Coronet R/T. “Among the trim was used for that yr solely,” Frank explains, “so discovering it in present high quality situation is sort of exhausting. The entrance grille surrounds have been extraordinarily troublesome to seek out. The within R/T door emblems and trunk panel have been additionally very exhausting to seek out.”
When the automotive was nearing completion, Frank needed to decide relating to wheels and tires. He nonetheless had the Coronet’s authentic hubcaps however determined to take some liberties and deviate from how the automotive was initially outfitted. “I just like the look of Magnum 500 wheels, which have been an possibility again then,” he says of reasoning, “so I went with these.” The wheels and original-style Firestone 7.75-14 redline tires have been sourced from Coker Tire.
After engaged on it on and off for about 5 years, Frank and his resto workforce lastly completed the Coronet in September 2016. He couldn’t be happier with the outcomes. “After I lastly accomplished the construct, the automotive seemed prefer it simply rolled off the meeting line. I entered my first present and took dwelling the best-in-show award,” he says. “Since then, the automotive has earned a number of best-in-show trophies and lots of different awards, and I obtain a whole lot of favorable compliments from spectators. All the exhausting work, analysis, and monetary funding have been properly price it. Driving her once more in any case this time brings again nice recollections. And collectively, we’re making a whole lot of nice new recollections!”
1967 Dodge Coronet R/T Construct Particulars
- Owned by: Frank Kassel
- Restored by: Proprietor; Paul’s Rods & Restos, Deer Park, NY; G&R Efficiency, West Babylon, NY; R&R Seats, Plainview, NY
- Engine: 440ci/375hp Magnum V-8
- Transmission: New Course of A-833 4-speed handbook
- Rearend: Dana 60 with 3.54 gears and Certain-Grip
- Exterior Shade: Code LL Darkish Turquoise Metallic
- Inside: White vinyl bucket seat
- Wheels: 14×6 Magnum 500 by Coker
- Tires: 7.75-14 Coker Firestone bias-ply redline
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