Finders Keepers: Donald Fecteau’s One-Of-One 1968 Dodge Polara 440 4-Speed


C-bodies seem to be a love it or hate it thing in the Mopar world. When they were new, they were considered the classy “businessman’s car” or the weekend family hauler. While many automatically think of Charger R/Ts or Hemi ‘Cudas when thinking back to the 1960’s and 1970’s, C-bodies played a huge part in that period of time. Many were used for service purposes, acting as police patrol cars, ambulances, and fire chief’s cars; they were even used in the coroner service! Put away those muscle cars and you’d see C-body Mopars behind the scenes of a lot of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Besides the 300 Hurst editions and the very rare V-code 1970 examples, for the most part, there really was nothing muscular about them. While plenty were powered with big block 383 and 440s, they really just needed those big engines to haul that weight around. The C-body platform was very diverse, including everything from two-door convertibles to station wagons. These cars were big and heavy, quickly gaining the nickname “boats”. During its thirteen year life span, the C-Body platform would include the Chrysler 300, New Yorker, Newport, Town and Country, the Dodge Monaco and Polara, the Plymouth Fury, Grand Fury and VIP, and Chrysler’s ultra-luxury Imperial as well.

Even with these C-body Mopars being built by the thousands back in the day, they are actually becoming quite hard to find. Many have faced horrible fates being used in demolition derbies or scrapped for their big block drive trains. Demolition derby fans seem to love them, thanks to their solid sturdy frames, general bulky size and weight. We’ve personally lost count on how many we’ve seen destroyed in derbies. Tons of these C-bodies have also met the jaws of the crusher. Beautiful low-mileage examples have had the drivetrains torn out for B or E-body projects and then the rest crushed. It’s truly a waste. However, there are quite a number of true diehard C-body fans out there and if you look close enough, you will find some very rare and just plain cool examples. For Donald Fecteau of Ste-Marie de Beauce, Québec, Canada, he’s one of those diehards. When he contacted us about a rare 1968 Dodge Polara he has sitting in his barn, we had to know more!

Donald says, “The history of my car begins in 1967 when my father decided to buy a brand new 1968 Polara. After a few visits to the Chrysler dealers around town, he came to the conclusion that he would have to order one with his own specifications since nothing close was available.” Being as Donald’s father had a desire for power; he told the salesman that he wanted to order his Polara with the 426 Hemi. Unfortunately, the 426 wasn’t available in the Polara or any C-body for that matter in 1968. Instead, he had to settle with the biggest engine available, the 440 Magnum.

To back that big block, he chose to option his Polara with a 4-speed manual transmission and Sure Grip rear end, fitted with 3.31 gears. The Polara came with an Inland shifter like Chrysler used in the 1968 Dodge Super Bee. To stop and steer that beast, power disc brakes and power steering was chosen. “Since there were three kids including myself in our family, my father checked the option box for four doors. For the color, he let my mother choose,” says Donald. He continues to say, “She decided she liked a gold color for the exterior and a tan vinyl/cloth bench seat set-up for the interior. However when the car arrived at the dealership, it was yellow. After a rebate offer by the dealer, my father accepted it in the yellow color.” Many years later, Donald’s parents decided to repaint it brown and it’s been that way since.

Around 1990, Donald had possession of the car and decided to store it away in the second floor of his barn to keep it in good shape. Knowing there couldn’t be many four door, 4-speed C-bodies around, he knew his parent’s old car had to be special. Since the moment it was stored away, that’s where it remains. “As you can see in the pictures, the Polara is still in great shape. It fires right up and purrs like a kitten” says Donald. Since his father only used it for pleasure purposes, the Polara only has 64,494 miles on the odometer! After doing some digging and talking to Galen Govier, Donald was excited to find out that the Polara is believed to be one of one ever built! Donald finishes by saying “I think that my Polara could be a great addition to a serious car collection among other rare Mopars. It would be so great to see it spend its days like that. I always love when I watch the Vanishing Point movie; to see that it features Polara’s like mine as the police cars.”

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Cody Cole

Associate Editor – cody.cole@shawgroupmedia.com Since the age of 4, Cody has been obsessed with everything Mopar. On Christmas of 1998, Cody's parents gave him a rusty '69 Charger shell that his father saved from a field. Cody's garage still features that '69 Charger as well as the additions of a '70 Coronet, '71 Charger R/T, '71 Road Runner, '04 SRT-4, '06 Grand Cherokee SRT8, '08 Challenger SRT8, '16 Wrangler Unlimited Back Country and a '17 Ram 1500 Rebel. Cody can truly and proudly say him and his wife are true Mopar nuts in love with all types of Mopars!

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