Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I guess yesterday was Mopar Tuesday!

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful so I took a long and ambling bike ride past Coney Island and the Rockaways, around JFK, and all the way out to Rosedale on Long Island. This took me past areas I normally only see from a car window. On North Conduit Ave by the Belt Parkway I ran into this beast:
This is a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner with the 440 V8 and Six Pack carb setup (3 2-barrel carburetors are lurking beneath that hood scoop).
The guy filling up was kind enough not to mind me snapping a couple quick pics. With the side marker lights not being installed (note the rectangular hole behind the bumper edge) I'm guessing this thing is more about drag racing than grocery-getting. I'm willing to bet this guy has another set of wheels for the track, especially with the fully-removeable hood as indicated by the hood pins on all four corners.
Now on to a proper Hooptie, and a massive sled at that!
Just up the street a block or 2 from JFK I ran across this flat black monster! This thing is so huge it deserves its own mailbox.
This is a 1972 Dodge Coronet Station Wagon in all it's spray painted glory. These wagons are getting seriously rare as they're extremely thirsty and impossible to park. I love them though for their muscle car fronts, tall rear quarters, and overall sportiness despite their size. 
By 1972 the Coronet was only available as a wagon and a sedan. This example doesn't seem to have ever had the faux woodgrain panels so prevalent on wagons of this vintage. If it had I would expect to see the chrome trim outlining where it would have been, or at least holes where the trim was installed.
These loop bumpers encasing the grill and lights look great but were unfortunately scrapped when federal safety regulations called for more impact absorbent units the following year.
This thing looks like a leering muppet with its slightly askew googly eyes. Beneath this flat hood lies a V8; either the standard 318 or one of several 400s. I knew someone in high school who had use of his parents immaculate, and very brown, Dodge station wagon with a 440 under the hood (must've been a bit older than this). Despite its gargantuan proportions it was very fast and could lay strips all day. With a gleaming chocolate brown paint job and brown leather interior it was the coolest!
I had to get right in there to show the pointed grill hidden within the loop. If you look at the lower part of the bumper a few inches to this side of the bumper guard you can see a vertical slot. This was the spot where you placed the old school jack for changing a tire. I had this sort of jack on a couple of older cars and they're a bit nerve-wracking to use as the car needs to be on perfectly level ground or it will topple over, ruining the jack in the process. Trust me on this (that's all I'd like to say on the subject).
It manages to come across as a balanced design in my book even though it is enormous.
It's amazing that this thing has a full luggage rack on the roof since the interior is large enough to have a 4x8 sheet of plywood lay flat on the floor. It makes more sense when you look inside and notice that it has the rear-facing 3rd row of seats in the back. You could take a trip with 5 adults, 2 kids, and all the necessary luggage in and on this ride which is somewhat remarkable.
From this angle you can just make out that miniature wing above the rear window. This is a great detail actually since it directs fresh air down across the rear window for when riding with it down. If the wing wasn't there exhaust fumes would fill up the cabin if you had the window down.
The back door is dual-action meaning that you can open it down flat like a tailgate or swing it open to the side like a traditional door depending on which way you turned the handle.
Unfortunately the headliner is giving out on this ride but it does afford us a view of the rear dome light which could be turned on for the rear facing passengers in the far back.
Straight-up dog dish hubcaps perfectly fit the flat black vibe of this roller. Leaf springs give an idea of how old the technology is on wagons of this vintage. The rust is still very fixable as shown here.
The interior is BLUE like really blue. Unfortunately the plastic try-spokes of the steering wheel hasn't aged as well, turning into a faded green over the years. Just in case you forgot it was 1972 they have a faux woodgrain center of the wheel as well as dashboard surround. I wish I knew what the original color of this wagon was because that interior is so intense! Dodge offered amazing colors in '72 including several different greens, Banana Yellow, an array of golds and browns, and Sun Fire Yellow which was closest to chartreuse.
Here's a glimpse of the rear seat in its upright position. When the rear seat wasn't needed it folded down into the well where your legs were meant to go leaving a completely flat cargo area. With the 2nd row folded down it was colossal inside. In this last shot we can also see where they kept the (full size) spare tire; it was tucked into the side panel along the wall.
Well there we have it; a super-rare wagon hidden away by the airport. Hopefully I run across some other wagons now that the nice weather has taken hold, but for now I feel lucky to have even found one.

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