Joe Cox was on the hunt for any old car to build. He didn't just want a racer; after 15 years of drag racing, his desire was simply to build a low-maintenance street machine. It could have been a Ford, a Chevy, or a Mopar as long as it was Arizona-desert rust-free. He found a '67 Dodge Coronet listed in his local paper and checked it out. The 74,000-mile original owner Arizona car was practically made to order. The interior was spotless, the body straight and completely free of cancer, and the V-8 powertrain meant that he wouldn't have to make major mechanical changes. Joe immediately set out to build his ultimate street machine.
Joe took the car over to Young City Auto Body in Youngtown, Arizona, where master metal-man Tony Musil ironed out the wrinkles, and his sidekick Brian prepped the canvas for paint. The big B-body was then shot in PT Cruiser White and polished to perfection. The interior, while in decent shape, still needed some refurbishment, so Joe had Joe Fimbres of Tolleson, Arizona, stitch up the stock seats with fresh vinyl. The trusty 318 was yanked and tossed aside for a 360. Joe had big plans for a stroked 360 in the form of a Mopar Performance 4-inch-stroke crank. Mike Townsend Machine was commissioned to perform the machine work, and Joe and son Joseph assembled the 408-inch small-block at home. To remove some weight from the portly B-body, Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads were chosen to feed the 10.5:1 short-block. A moderate Crane hydraulic roller was picked to tickle the valves maintenance free. A Holley Strip Dominator single-plane and 800 double-pumper round out the top end, and a set of TTI step headers expel the spent fumes to a 3-inch dual system breathing through Flowmaster mufflers. A 727 TorqueFlite handles power transfer with the help of a 9.5-inch Dynamic converter. The original 831/44-inch rearend was bolstered with 3.55 gears and a Detroit Locker for trouble-free performance.
The suspension was left basically stock but was completely rebuilt with urethane bushings, Competition Engineering shocks in the front, and KYB gas shocks in the rear. A stock pinion snubber handles axle windup, and Weld Draglites were chosen to hold up all four corners and were shod with BFGoodrich radials for good street manners. A set of BFG Drag Radials are pressed into service on its frequent dragstrip outings and help Joe's Coronet produce 1.80-second short times. To date, Joe Cox's best e.t. at neighboring Speed World dragstrip has been a 12.03 at 114 mph. He hasn't been kicked off the track yet for not having a roll bar, but we predict that time is quickly approaching. But Joe doesn't want to put a bar in the Coronet-it is, after all, a street car. He'll just have to back off the throttle a bit and be content knowing how fast his big Dodge really is.
Car Craft Q&ACar Craft: Were you actually looking for a B-body Mopar when you found this Coronet?Joe Cox: No, I was looking for anything old to build, be it a Ford, Chevy or Mopar. But I found this one-owner original Arizona car in the paper and liked what I saw. I spent a bit more than I wanted to, but rust-free makes up for it in my opinion. I wanted a comfortable street car that was hassle-free.
CC: B-bodies are big cars. Why did you choose to build a small-block over a big-block? JC: I chose the light weight of the small-block over the cubes of the big-block. These cars are already nose-heavy, and a 440 would have made it worse. But, because it is a big, heavy car, I decided to build a big-inch small-block. It is much more balanced with a small-block. The aluminum heads were icing on the cake. It produces a lot of torque-enough to put this thing into the low 12s at 114 mph with a 3.55 rear gear!