The 1960s cars were some of the most beautiful cars ever to cruise the asphalt jungles of cities and country alike. If there is a golden age of cars, then it's the '60s. From the birth of muscle cars, to the surge of sports cars from Europe, the 1960s are steeped in automotive lore. But it's the look of 1960s cars that outdoes anything else. Without doubt, the best-looking cars ever to grace the Earth were made in 1960s, and the best-looking automobiles of today are only trying to copy them.
In today's Crown Auto Classic Car Blog we are looking at one of those greats. When size and power ruled the roads this week’s car comes to mind. Take a look at the 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T. This was Dodge’s first car to display the R/T badge. Dodge was determined to send a message to anyone driving a Ford or Pontiac. You’ve got another thing coming, there a new sheriff in town and the badge reads R/T.
The Coronet was completely restyled in 1966 under the direction of Chrysler’s Chief Stylist Elwood Engel. Engel’s designs had remedied the not so eye-catching styling of previous Chrysler products and the Coronet’s design was no exception. The new R/T was available as a hardtop coupe or a convertible for those willing to whip out a little extra dough. The Coronet R/T featured Charger-inspired grille work, nonfunctional hood scoops, and louvered taillamps. R/T badging is prominently displayed on the grille, rear quarters, and tail section. Chrome bumpers and mirrors along with brightwork on the window trim, rocker panels, and wheel wells add a little extra flair to this pavement pounder. A lower-body paint stripe was also available as a dealer option for drivers wanting some extra styling cues.
The base engine for the Coronet R/T was a 440 Magnum V8 that produced 375 horsepower and 480 ft-lb of torque. It could be mated to either a A-727 TorqueFlite 3-speed auto with column shifter or an A-833 4-speed manual on the floor. However, for those wanting to go over to the Dark Side and strike fear in the hearts of Ford and Chevy enthusiasts, Dodge offered the bad boy 426 Hemi. This twin carb powerplant was rated at 425 horsepower and 490 ft-lb of torque. Hemi-powered Coronets are rare since this engine tacked on an additional $$$ to the price tag and only a few buyers were willing to the high dollar price for this upgrade in 1967. This makes finding an original 426 R/T 1967 even more difficult and rare to collectors.
Meant to convey the impression of a dual-purpose performance machine (for Road and Track), the Coronet R/T was available only as a full-on performance car--fast engines, cop-car suspension, a 150 MPH speedo, and no nonsense. The standard 375hp, 440-cu in V-8 underscored that point. The 10.1:1-compression mill was tweaked for performance duty starting in '67--new heads with 1.74 intake valves, larger ports, new low-restriction cast-iron exhaust manifolds, and a lumpier camshaft were among the tweaks needed to make the Carter AVS-fed four-barrel reach its 375hp peak at 4,600 RPM. The R/T's only ($457) engine option was Chrysler's legendary Street Hemi. Twin Carter four-barrel carbs, cast-iron heads filled with 2.25/1.90-inch intake and exhaust valves, 10.25:1 compression and low-restriction dual exhaust strove to manufacture a conservatively estimated 425hp, 490-lb ft Hemi-powered anything is rare, owing to the high entry price; just 238 Hemi Coronet R/Ts were built for 1967.
The R/T benefited from what Dodge called its Police Handling package--heavy-duty (.92-inch) torsion bars, ball joints, one-inch shock absorbers, a .94-inch front anti-roll bar, and six-leaf extra-heavy-duty rear springs. Standard binders were manually operated 11 x 3-inch drums in front and 11.25-inch drums in the rear--a step up from the standard manual 10-inch drums that lesser Coronets received. Of course, vacuum power assist and 10.04-inch front disc brakes were available on the order sheet; the front disc brakes, which required power assist, are a coveted option today.
So how did the two engine stack up at the track:
Coronet R/T outfitted with the 440 Magnum and TorqueFlite 3-speed transmission = best time recorded at 14.35 seconds running 99 MPH.
Coronet R/T outfitted with the 440 Magnum and TorqueFlite automatic transmission = best time recorded quarter mile times between 14.7.
So, how does the Coronet R/T measure up against its competitors from GM and Ford?
1967 Pontiac GTO equipped with a 400 cubic-inch V8 and 3-speed automatic. Rated at 360 horsepower and 438 ft-lb of torque, the GTO ran from 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and the Goat dashed the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds. Clearly, just a little bit faster than the R/T. However, it was no contest when compared to the 1967 Ford Fairlane GTA. The Fairlane’s 390 cubic-inch V8 produces 320 horsepower and 427 ft-lb of torque. It was also equipped with a 3-speed automatic transmission. Motor Trend recorded a 0-60 run in 8.1 seconds and completed the quarter mile in 16.2 seconds. Hands down, the R/T with more 55 more horsepower bests the Fairlane in both categories.
Beginning in 1967, Chrysler decided that the Hemi should be available only in their badged muscle cars: the Dodge Charger and Coronet R/T and the Plymouth Belvedere GTX. The top engine option for the rest of the Coronet line was supposed to be the 383-ci, 4-barrel V8. Despite this, some Hemi-powered 1967 Coronet Deluxe two-door sedans were produced. There is also one Hemi-powered 1967 Coronet 440 two-door hardtop known, and One Hemi-powered 1967 Coronet 500 two-door hardtop known, which is not among the 55 WO23 Super Stock cars produced for Dodge drag racers.
A total of 10,109 people agreed that the Coronet R/T two-door hardtop was the way to go, which emboldened Chrysler for future high-profile performance models clear into the new millennium. True R/T convertibles are rare: Just 628 were built.
For 1967 Dodge felt it was time to use the GTO’s formula, and the Coronet R/T checked all the boxes. Inspired name? Check. Hoodscoop? Check. Prominent badges? Check. High trim level? Check. Horsepower? Impressive check. Image and style? In spades! Not only did the Coronet R/T have a name that implied a car suitable for road and track, but it also featured the largest performance engine in the industry—standard! All this makes it the classic it is today and a true part of muscle car history.
And as always if your looking for parts or rebuilding needs for your 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T be sure to contact Crown Auto Parts and Performance or check out what we can do online at www.Crownauto.parts or www.Crownautoperformance.com