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1965 Dodge Coronet - The Wheelstander

By , Photography by Mike Yoksich

Tech Notes

Who: Wally Peterson

What: ’65 Dodge Coronet

Where: Detroit, MI, home of really cool graffiti.

Engine: This is a production Chrysler RB block, bored out to 4.50 inches. Combined with a 4.150-inch stroke, Wally’s housing 528 angry cubes of vintage Hemi in the front of his Coronet. The rotating assembly is from Eagle, the pistons are from Diamond, and they put a 10.50:1 squeeze on the intake charge. Ray Barton of Barton Racing Engines spec’d the camshaft and performed the CNC-porting on the aluminum Mopar Performance cylinder heads. The cam itself is a mechanical flat-tappet grind with about 280 degrees duration and 0.565-inch valve lift. The engine is mounted 8 inches farther back in the chassis than stock, and motor plates replace the stock motor mounts.

Injection: Obviously, the towering velocity stacks atop the Hillborn mechanical fuel-injection intake manifold are the real eye candy here. Wally is a sucker for the fuelie look. The injectors are fed by a beltdriven mechanical fuel pump.

Exhaust: A local shop custom-made a pair of long-tube headers for Wally. They lead into a 31⁄2-inch exhaust system terminating in Flowmaster mufflers and turn-downs just in front of the rear axle.

Transmission: Wally knew he needed a heavily modified 727 transmission to withstand the abuse his Hemi could dish out. Terry Thurman, of Thurman Automotive in Howell, Michigan, built a worthy unit, complete with heavy-duty clutches, Kevlar bands, and a Griner Engineering manual valvebody and transbrake. Wally uses a TCI ratcheting shifter to change gears.

Driveshaft and Rearend: Wally has a custom-made chromoly driveshaft that incorporates Mark Williams yokes and universal joints. It spins 3.73:1 gears in the Dana 60.

Suspension: As we alluded to previously, the wheels aren’t exactly in their stock locations. The front axle was replaced with a custom-made tubular solid axle located 10 inches forward from stock. The change to the rear-wheel location is an even more dramatic 15 inches. Though both axles are suspended by leaf springs, Wally says dialing the rears was especially tricky. At 3,900 pounds, his car isn’t exactly a lightweight, and with all that mass bearing down on the rear axle, he was bending the rear springs near the shackles. Working with Eaton Detroit Springs, he came up with a combination of thicker leaves and heavy-gauge shackles that can support the full weight of the car without buckling under the pressure.

Wheels/Tires: We approve of Wally’s wheel and tire package. Up front are 15x4-inch TorqThrust wheels with skinny Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R tires. Out back are custom-offset 15x8 Mopar police car wheels and 275/50R15 ET Street Radial tires.

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