1971 Dodge Polara Custom
383 Auto 8-3/4 3:55 Sure Grip
Owner: Dave Carson
Location: Brantford, Ontario
Presenting the newest member of the Maple Leaf Mopar fleet and Mopar of the Month for May and June 2009, here is my 1971 Polara Custom. I know its a bit tacky to feature your own car for Mopar of the Month but I am a bit behind this month and don't have anything else ready ;) So here it is, enjoy!

I bought the car in January 2009 after seeing an ad on Moparts.com. The car was located just outside of Detroit Michigan and was listed for $1000 USD. I remembered reading about the car when another Moparts member Carmine had owned the car and always thought it was a rather cool old ride. I ended up making a deal over the phone with the present owner Erick Hoscila. The guy was a true gentleman. We quickly made a deal for $875 and Erick helped make the whole transaction go super smoothly. When I came to pick up the car he had everything ready including the factory Assembly Manual. The hardest part was pushing the non running Polara up to the borrowed trailer (thanks Paul, Rick and Ron) and winch it up for the trip to Canada!

The car I would say is rather unique with the High Impact GY3 - Citron Yella paint, black vinyl roof and of course being a factory big block (383 2bbl - L code) 4 door sedan. I really can't see there being to many more like this one, if any. Not that it matters as I don't think of it as a collectible, but just more of a neat machine to bomb around town in. The car is wearing pretty much all of its original paint, original vinyl roof and has its original matching numbers engine and transmission. Rounding out the
package is its original fender tag, door sticker and dash VIN. A quick search of the interior didn't uncover a broadcast sheet. Hopefully there is still one out there to be found!

Much of the history of the car is unknown. It was a Y14 coded car so somebody somewhere sat down with a salesman and started clicking boxes to create this rather striking car. Even wearing its 38 year old paint this car screams at you for attention. Its hard to miss. You gotta wonder what somebody was thinking when they were ordering it and what the reaction was when they seen it for the first time. It would be great if someone could fill in the early history of the car. I am counting on the power of the internet for that!!!

Some of the more recent history is known. As mentioned Moparts member Carmine owned the car for awhile and  I will let  him fill you in:

"I hate to disappoint, but I can't tell you anything that useful about the car. Here is what I know...

I first saw the car on Ebay around 2003-ish. It was listed in Ferndale, MI (I think). Not that far so I took a drive over. The owner also had a '70 Dart that was Vitamin C. (Don't know if it was orig). He was a younger guy and said he was moving to California. I think he wanted about $4000 for the car, and I passed. He didn't know anything about the history.

In the summer of '07, the car showed up on Craigslist. This time the price was more reasonable, but the condition was a lot worse. It was at a home about 5 miles from Chrysler's HQ. The owner was some kind of hippie/transient and was never home, so he pissed off a lot of people but I finally managed to see the car (he still wasn't there, left the keys with a neighbor).

I made a lower offer on the car, and he accepted over the phone. I got the title from the same neighbor. The car had about an inch of water standing on the trunk floor, the paint was super faded, and the whole inside was filled with trash. This new owner also hacked-on the MSD system. I sealed-up the small rust holes under the window with JB weld, wire-brushed the trunk floor, spray painted it, buffed the car to get it shiny, and vacuumed out the interior.

I really didn't have time/room to fool with the car, but it was really getting trashy in the hands of this hippie, so it was kind of a "mercy purchase". After the clean-up, (Hours spent with spray cans and simple green) I drove it to a few local shows (on fake plates) then put it on Ebay.

The winning bidder said he was going to "restore it", but he kinda sounded like an idiot. He then sent a truck from upstate NY (without arranging anything with me... He just called out of the blue and said the truck was coming with the money). The driver got lost numerous times and kept having to call me for directions. At one point he called and just said "I'm in front of a party store"... That was it!

He finally arrived and when I offered to drive the car out into the street for loading he said "Oh wow, it runs?" I said yes, and he said, "My boss usually doesn't buy stuff that runs, I guess that's why he's pulling the engine on this one before for the derby."

If you think about it, a '71 383/727 + four newer tires + rear axle + MSD box and other assorted junk + good derby placing + last year's crazy scrap prices and it becomes believable. I was kinda fed up with the driver (who I think was stoned) the buyer, and the derby stuff was the last straw..

So I told the guy to beat it. No money had changed hands yet. Driver was plenty pissed, but I told him to leave my property. He pulled a holeshot with his crappy 1986 Ford flatbed hauler.

Then I put the car on Moparts and sold it to the guy you bought it from. He was absolutely in love with it, but didn't seem to mechanical. I offered to guide him a bit since he didn't live far at all, but I never heard from him much after that.

Keep me (and moparts) posted with updates. I'd love to see somebody do something useful with that car!"

-Carmine

Thanks Carmine for saving the old girl, it would have been a shame for it to end up as a derby car. Not too many people would have cared about what was going to become of the car and would have taken the cash in hand and never given it a second thought.  I guess its up to me to make good on its second chance.

Carmine had also written one of the better for sale ads that I have seen:

Well you had to know I'd own this car eventually. Consider this another rescue mission, as it appears the prior owner simply lost interest and let the car sit under a tree in the yard. The good news is, not for long.

After a LOT of clean-up and buffing compound, I give you this:

Don't adjust you monitors, that is the ORIGINAL PAINT!

I looked at this car 3-years ago when it was on eBay for a lot more than the $2500 I'm asking. It was very tempting to me, as I figured this might very well be a one-of-one car. It was also in nice survivor car condition, in the hands of a Mopar collector. Ultimately I passed.

The chance to own it popped up again this summer and I grabbed it this time. I'm still in no better position to actually DO anything with it, just didn't want to see it deteriorate further. So I brought it home and...

Also cleaned-up and painted the trunk floor, which remains solid. (The yellow doesn't match, but it serves the purpose.)

Having shown you that, let me tell you how the 383 runs...  Somebody has obviously done some engine work to this car, because she pulls real hard, especially at higher RPMs. It has a factory iron 4bbl intake topped with newer Cater carburetor. Accel/MSD-6 ignition system and a pair of Flowmaster Dual exhausts. (It sounds great) The 8 3/4" rear axle is a Sure-Grip, but I am unsure of the ratio... Likely not stock, because the speedo is reading too fast. Also includes a monster tach & oil pressure gauge that were thankfully installed without hacking anything up.

The original AM radio (with 3-speaker dash?) works fine. Not much else on this beast by way of options, and who cares? A full option load would be wrong for this car anyways! I can't imagine who (or why) somebody would order a car like this, and if a dealer sales manager did, he should have been fired!  36-years later, his mistake makes for a cool car!

So here are the rest of the pictures I'm sure you'll want to see. They are presented here both to sell the car, and to archieve a real oddball C-body:

A few other things to mention... As you can see, the driver's seat is torn & patched-up with tape. Same goes for the top of the rear seat (sun). The carpet is shot. Good news is that all the door panels, arm rests, dashpad & headliner are in excellent shape.

Found a bill in the glovebox for $1000 worth of brake work to all four wheels, including new drums. (Car stops great.) Another $200 was spent on inspection/seals for the "posi" unit. 

While the driver's side appears to be 100% original paint, there are some obvious old touch-ups on the passenger side. However they do not show up on camera. Basically looks like somebody tried to spray over a few rust spots, realized it looked like crap, and stopped. I would say this car is VERY solid, just the typical plugged-drains type rust. No weak floors, subframes, doglegs, etc. No collision damage, car is straight. Vinyl top is in good shape except under the back window. I'd probably piece-it to keep it more original.

It starts up and drives very well in fact... So good I'd consider using it as a daily-driver if not for the approaching winter. Chrome is good... Not perfect, but good. I have nothing to back it up, but I assume this wasn't always a MI car. Tires are Radial T/As, 235/70/15 on 15x7" rims. They are like new. Wipers/lights/etc work fine.

Overseas sales are fine with me, you guys seem to appreciate the cars more than the typical knuckle-dragger hot-rodder in the US anyways! I am told that cars can be shipped to Europe from the port of Detroit, so no need to ship to NYC.

As stated, my price is $2500, and that will be my eBay reserve should it not sell here. If it doesn't move on eBay, this will be next year's project!

My e-mail is: fifth89 AT yahoo DOT com

Saving the whales since 1989 ®

Pretty much covered it all eh?

As the car sits today, I have the car running good, everything works with the exception of the horn and turn signal assembly needs to be replaced. I am a bit of a stand still on how to fix up the rear quarters. I thought it would be nice to find some rust free patch panels to weld in and then blend in the paint. If you know of any rust free sheetmetal for the car please contact me at liftoffregistry@hotmail.com   

The future plans are just to pick away at making the car better on a budget, keeping an eye out for parts that may be better then that are on the car presently, specifically seats and trim items, getting the required bodywork completed and enjoying the big yella bomber around town and maybe to the odd test and tune.

I was thinking in the not too distant future it may be a good car for my kids to drive as they a sneaking closer and closer to driving age...I guess we'll have to wait and see on that one.  
Here is the car as it appeared on Ebay around 2003.
Another picture from 2003 , notice the quarter panel just has some surface rust.
1971 Polara Custom - 13,892 produced - How many could be GY3 - Citron Yella?
The rest of the pictures are from September 2007.
Still nice and solid back here....seems like the perfect Drive-In vehicle!
Matching Numbers Engine with a Carter 4bbl Carb added along with a MSD Ignition. Notice all the factory black out paint!
Car looks mint in this picture.
Nice dash pad, door panels, headliner, but the cloth seats are a bit worn. Just over 99,000 on the clock.
This is what happens when you leave a car outside subject to weather...Rust never sleeps!
This side is worse, a real shame as the car was quite a bit more solid only a couple of years earlier!
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