Back in the early ’60s, you could buy a turn-key racecar from your local Dodge dealer, and it would look a lot like this 1964 Dodge Polara 500 convertible
Of course, the full-race machines were incredibly rare, but the guys who knew their hardware also knew that when they saw a car that looked like this industrial-strength Mopar, they should probably steer well clear of it lest they get badly hurt.
Make no mistake, this no-nonsense Polara carries what appears to be its original 383 V8 engine, a more user-friendly version of the many venerable Mopar big blocks. It also offers the same bare-knuckle street fighter look that screams high performance in a very low-key way, like it’s almost contradicted by the easy-going nature of the vintage droptop feel. The bodywork is very straight, almost like it rolled out of the factory just a few years ago, and it shows off the work of guys who knew their stuff. They didn’t have to work very hard since this was a clean, dry car with no major issues to handle. It has been refinished in its original code P Ruby Red, so maybe it’s not designed to be subtle, but even in red, most guys won’t know what’s coming until it’s too late. Sure, the paint’s not perfect and there are some imperfections that can be found upon closer examination, but you can’t argue with the curb appeal of this dialed-in, driver-quality droptop. Chrysler’s turbine look was in fashion in 1964, and they retained all the chrome and stainless trim on this one to enhance the sleeper look. To guys who know what they’re looking at, this car is gorgeous. As for everyone else, well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Just because it was built to pound the pavement doesn’t mean it wasn’t also comfortable and stylish inside, where a recently refreshed red-and-white interior absolutely steals the show. With big-car comfort and sporty twin buckets flanking a stock center console, it balances just the right amount of flash with no-nonsense attitude. The interior is in excellent condition, with fresh red seat covers contrasted with white inserts, matching door panels, plush red carpets, and a surprisingly well-preserved dash pad. The intricate gauges are original and in fantastic condition, highlighted by the beautiful dash bezel that expands from end-to-end, and the chrome accents around the gauges, switches, and toggles add the perfect amount of bling inside. The factory center console houses a sporty shifter for the automatic transmission below, which really emphasizes the killer vibe of this Polara, and the big, original steering wheel was beautifully finished in matching paint and chrome, and it feel amazing in the hands of the driver. Amazingly, the original AM/FM radio is still in the center of the dash (and it works!), the rear seat looks completely untouched, and the beautifully finished trunk features a full-sized spare and correct replacement plaid mats.
The engine under the long hood is believed to be the car’s original 383 cubic inch V8, and the big block makes this Polara feel smooth and effortless in everything it does. It’s one of Chrysler’s most durable engines and performance is extremely entertaining. Looking pretty stock save for the shiny chrome dress-up kit and updated plug wires, it’s a reliable runner that seems as tight today as it did decades ago. Thanks to impeccable care throughout the decades and since this car was refreshed, the engine bay is really clean, and the condition of the paint-matched inner fenders and firewall speaks volumes about the easy life this car has led. A 727 TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission doesn’t seem to mind munching on all that torque, and with highway-friendly gears in the 8.75-inch rear, it seems that this car is a bit of a sleeper, too. The floors are impressively solid, the newer H-pipe dual exhaust system has a great sound, and those chrome wheel covers with super-cool spinners are wrapped in whitewall radials that are the perfect rolling stock for this neat Mopar.
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States