The Great Texas Mopar® Auction: Part IV

Well, I’m back from last week’s Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas collector car auction event. Regular DodgeGarage readers may recall that I had to short shift last week’s report on the Great Texas Mopar® Hoard Auction Event due to a lack of time. Last week, there was just one lonely preview car depicted here.

That was last week. Let’s pick it up here with a nice thick slice of the many amazing vintage and collectible Mopar products that will sell in mid-October (exact date to be determined) during the ONLINE ONLY Freedom Car Auctions Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event.

Freedom Auctions, by the way, is an auction company operated by none other than Spanky Assiter. Long-time Barrett-Jackson fans will recall Spanky (and his energetic wife Amy) as the lead auctioneer at Barrett-Jackson for something like a decade or more. Well, Spanky has graduated from the Barrett-Jackson scene, but is still totally active in the auction realm, selling real estate, livestock, race horses and vintage cars at events like the Great Texas Mopar Hoard.

What makes the Great Texas Mopar Hoard unique is that the vehicles on offer aren’t the highly polished show cars typically associated with TV auctions. Rather, they’re prime cut project cars. Yes, some of them may look like they’re ready to hit the road (and a few may well be), but most are vehicles that we consider project cars. That’s because most have been sitting still in the Texas prairie for at least five years (some as many as four decades). Thus, it’s to be expected that braking, cooling and electrical systems will be in need of a thorough refurbishment before driving is possible.

This likely need for refurbishment also holds true for the radiators, transmissions, engines and drive line components. All of these sub-systems (when present) will also need to be refurbished. But that’s the easy part of any project car restoration. The most difficult part is finding a solid restoration candidate. And that’s where the vast majority of these cars shine. As Texas vehicles, they rarely suffer from the severe structural rust that afflicts vehicles sourced from the rust belt.

As the following photos and walk-around videos will depict, the majority of the cars and trucks in the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event are solid, rust-free cores. Better yet, in most instances the chrome trim, interior bits and body panels are still present and go with the sale of the vehicle. In short, as any serious vehicle restorer knows, it’s better to have a solid, nearly complete project car that doesn’t run, than it is to have a running rust box. Think about that for a moment then feast your eyes on this week’s offerings from the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event.

1956 Chrysler Windsor: Lot #26

1956 Chrysler Windsor

This 1956 Chrysler Windsor packs a very special surprise beneath its sleek, complete skin. While the big Chrysler C300 of 1955 was the first post-war Mopar vehicle to advertise its horsepower with external metal emblems, this ’56 Windsor 250 is the second. Subtly positioned beneath the stylized “V” on each rear quarter panel are a pair of “250” emblems signifying the presence of the single four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust Power Package that elevated output from 225 to 250 horsepower.

But unlike the larger and more expensive Chrysler New Yorker and 300B models which had hemispherical combustion chambers and grew from 331 to 354 cubic inches for 1956, the entry-level Windsor utilized less costly polyspherical heads and related valvetrain bits and kept the 331 cubes of the 1955 HEMI® engine. Only offered in Windsors, this poly 331 Power Package is notable for its unique “250” body emblems.

Elsewhere, this great fifties cruiser packs power drum brakes, power steering, the two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission – with first-year push button shift controls – and a complete interior with nice door panels, instrument cluster – with factory AM radio – and bench seats with the predicted wear and tear on the horizontal surfaces. As for the body, as the accompanying video demonstrates, the paint is very likely the original coating applied 65 years ago. Rust has taken hold down low on the rear quarter panels and front fenders – again, see the video for more – but the grille and tail brightwork is complete. It wouldn’t take much to revive this beauty!

1963 Chrysler 300J: Lot F

Ahh, the mighty Chrysler 300 “letter series”. Made from 1955 through 1965, these “beautiful brutes” are as highly collectible as any sixties muscle car and for good reason. Built with Chrysler’s hottest available engine offerings, with superior brakes, firmer suspension and that all-important (and realistic) 150-mph speedometer, Chrysler letter cars are hot stuff.

This 1963 300J is the ninth in the series (there was no 300″I” slotted between the 1962 300H and this 1963 300J because Chrysler wanted to avoid possible confusion between the letter “I” and the number “1”) and features an all-new body design. Virgil Exner’s radical finned look of the late fifties was toned down, as seen here.

Not to be confused with the mechanically de-contented 300 Sport series, which arrived in 1962, the letter series was always as hot as possible. In this 1963 “J”, the ram induction intake manifolds were upgraded versus their 1960-62 counterparts with the elimination of the first half of the vertical intake runner divider walls. This move increased plenum volume and helped the ram induction system flow more air from the dual carter AFB’s to the big-valve heads and solid lifter camshaft.

While a total of 24,665 300 Sports were built in 1963, a mere 400 300Js were assembled, all of them hardtops like this one (a convertible would be added to the 1964 300K lineup). With a solid, rust-free body, factory-installed air conditioning, massive 11-inch power drum brakes, power steering and power windows all propelled by its 390-horsepower 413 wedge, this rare beauty isn’t too far away from being ready for the road. And though the bucket seat interior (complete with console-mounted tachometer) was disassembled during photography, we’re told the loose parts will be reunited by the auction date. Be sure to double check the situation before you bid and have a look at the video for more details.

1966 Dodge Coronet 440: Lot D

1966 Dodge Coronet

Still wearing its medium gold metallic paint, this 1966 Coronet 440 hardtop is a wonderful, original example of what was once a common sight in parking lots and roadways all over America – 40 years ago. Today, sights like this are seen only at car shows and in private collections. Packing the optional 383 four-barrel big block wedge, the only thing hotter in the 1966 Dodge Coronet catalog was the 426 Street HEMI (the 440-powered Coronet R/T arrived a year later).

The one sad note about this offering is the fact its body shell has been bent. A look at the door gaps reveals trouble. Most likely this Coronet left the road, went airborne and landed on a mound or peak as if the Duke Boys were having some fun. The roof skin seems unaffected. Otherwise, the body is rust free and packed with potential.

Goodies include the 383 four-barrel – complete with the unsilenced air cleaner used on these high-performance bruisers – factory dual exhaust, air conditioning, power steering, a 26-inch A/C radiator with three rows of tubes, a heavy-duty 727 TorqueFlite® with column shifter, original body colored 14-inch steel wheels with Coronet hub caps and an 8-3/4 rear axle, inside of which may (or may not) lurk a coveted Sure Grip differential. There wasn’t access to a floor jack during photography, but the 383 four-barrel was often coupled with Sure Grip. A competent body repair shop with a frame machine could probably make it square in an afternoon. Otherwise, this Coronet 440 hardtop is loaded with rust-free panels ready for use on a rusty restoration. Check out the linked video for more details.

1958 Chrysler 300D: Lot C

1958 Chrysler 300D

In its fourth year, Chrysler’s “letter series” 300 muscle car grew from strength to strength. Packing the mighty 392-cube Fire Power HEMI head V8 with 300-specific dual quads, solid lifters, adjustable rocker arms, large-port cast iron exhaust manifolds, high-flow dual exhaust, extreme-duty 12-inch drum brakes, this 1958 300D is the final year for HEMI engine power before the less-expensive-to-produce 413 wedge replaced it in ’59. Only 809 of these 300Ds were produced in 1958, a miniscule quantity compared to later output of Dodge Chargers, Plymouth Road Runners and other muscle era Mopar collectibles. These “letter cars” are very uncommon.

Without the usual rust and corrosion that consumes Exner-era Chrysler products with abandon, this Texas king is virtually rust free. The Aztec Turquoise paint (one of just six colors offered on the 300D) was partially hand-removed via a razor blade to expose a solid foundation for restoration. The heavy-duty TorqueFlite automatic transmission takes commands from a push button control pod situated next to the D-only 150-mph speedometer.

Factory options include air conditioning ($540 in 1958), power windows ($107.60 in 1958) and the Music Master AM radio ($99.80 in 1958). Though the photo and video depict the car sitting on jack stands and in less than complete condition, many (if not all) of the loose items will be reunited prior to the auction. To wit, the wheel covers, fender emblems and many other items were found in the trunk during photography (unfortunately, a search for the extremely rare Bendix Electro-Jector electronic fuel injection option turned up no evidence. This is, without a doubt, a factory carbureted 300D and not a “fuelie”). Be sure to inquire with Freedom Car Auctions about any missing parts prior to bidding.

1956 Chrysler Industrial HEMI Generator: Lot #300

With all of the attention given to Chrysler Corporations’ many automotive offerings, it is often forgotten that as far back as 1931 the Chrysler Marine and Industrial Engine Division produced stationary power plants like this 1956 electrical generator.

Though the DC generator portion of this item is interesting – it’s a three-phrase, 120-volt unit made by the Electric Machinery Manufacturing Company (EM) of Minneapolis, Minnesota – the real interest comes from the 354-cubic-inch Chrysler Industrial HEMI engine making it go ‘round.

Like many Chrysler Industrial engines, the 354 HEMI is bolstered by special bearings, hand-selected parts for maximum durability and a conversion from gasoline to LPG fuel. The benefit of LPG is how it burns cleaner than gasoline and reduces the amount of sludge in the crankcase.

But most importantly, these Industrial HEMI engines (and their Marine counterparts) were equipped with solid lifters in place of the quitter (and more expensive) hydraulic lifters used in passenger car applications. And as any hot rodder knows, solid lifters also allow higher engine speeds before the onset of valve float.

Getting to the point of what makes this portable generator so important, we have to look at the rocker arms and the rocker arm covers. To achieve the necessary operating clearance between the valve stem tips and rocker arms, special adjustable rocker arms – with threaded pushrod ends – are required. These same adjustable rocker arms are also used in the 1955-58 Chrysler 300 “letter series” muscle cars. And yes, these rocker arms are highly desirable among First Gen HEMI builders today.

But not only are the rocker arms in demand, so are the specific “humped” rocker arm covers. As shown in the picture, clearance humps are formed into the surfaces between spark plug tube holes. These are a must when the bulkier adjustable rocker arms are used on any 331 – 392 HEMI. And this generator has them! So that’s why this Generator is of particular importance.

Though a handful of collectors exist who might treasure this generator for its novelty, the majority will quickly scavenge the ultra-rare adjustable rocker arms – and the related “humped” Chrysler Industrial rocker arm covers – for use in a hopped-up 331, 354 or 392 HEMI engine. Check out the pictures and video for more info!

Okay, that’s it for this week’s preview of the Great Texas Mopar Hoard Auction Event. Stay tuned to DodgeGarage next week for even more.

0 Comments