Classic Industries Docks A Big Ol’ Boat: 1968 Polara 500 Convertible

Anyone who has ever driven a drop-top C-body knows that few kinds of automotive joy can compare. A Hemi ‘Cuda or Six Pack Superbird would surely be more sexy, but nothing floats on air like a big ol’ Chrysler boat. Cruising with the top down can be truly cathartic with maximum interior space making the most of Mopar’s massive whales.

Chris Berdit’s 1968 Dodge Polara 500 convertible is certainly a fine example. Purchased as a partially-finished project, the southern-California native just “wanted a cool beach cruiser,” according to Classic. “At the time of purchase, it was partially-restored, but the interior needed several replacement parts, because the previous owner had installed Challenger seats and incorrect interior door panels.”

The aftermarket parts industry has been slow to come around for Chrysler’s oft-overlooked body style, but Classic Industries and others will surely catch up as these cars gain more and more of a following. Under the hood of Chris’ is the old standard 318. While it won’t win many burnout competitions, it also won’t need to with miles and miles of beachfront highway to hit up. Minor but tasteful upgrades include vintage-feel gold Moroso tin work on the top end.

Power steering and power brakes are probably both appreciated with the big C-body’s heft. Inside is a sparsely-optioned interior highlighted by a console shifter for the automatic transmission. No frills doesn’t mean no fun, though. With room for six, it’s definitely on the list of ultimate grocery-getters.

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Kent Will

News Editor Kent grew up in the shop with his old man and his '70 Charger R/T. His first car was a 1969 Super Bee project when Kent was fourteen. That restoration experience lead to pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a career in manufacturing. Since then, the garage has expanded to include a '67 Satellite, a '72 Scamp, and a 2010 Mopar '10 Challenger.


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  1. Rip Masters 3 April, 2020 at 10:00 Reply

    This article would be better with more appreciation of the car itself …and C-bodies, without the boat, whale etc references. In its time this was a standard, normal car and it is actually not larger or heavier than what many people drive today….at 3755 it is only around 40 pounds heavier than a ’69 Coronet R/T convertible and comparable to a 2020 Challenger which can go from 3800 to 4400 pounds. It’s a Mopar at heart and it seemed to me the article had a negative tone to it. We need to bring folks in and include them in our hobby and passion.

    • Kevin Shaw 3 April, 2020 at 11:04 Reply

      There’s nothing negative about this at all. Clearly this small quip of a story has struck a very sensitive nerve and we’ll keep this in mind for future C-body related content.

  2. Brian 3 April, 2020 at 11:01 Reply

    Right on Rip. I owned 3 C-body convertibles and it really gets old fast when the first thing out of peoples mouths is negative. I have heard it all. Whale, ferry, ocean liner, couch on wheels etc etc. The sad thing about it was most of these comments came from the people who were in the WPC car club I belonged to. It seemed if you didn’t own a B-body or an E-body you weren’t worthy. I just wanted to cruise and love my C-bodies. I quit the car club soon after. Thanks for your support. Brian from Vancouver Island.

  3. Capt Jeff Inshaw USCG Ret 3 April, 2020 at 13:09 Reply

    We have 68 Fury lll convertible and have owned her for over 42 years.
    We have know what a great feel the old C bodied cars feel like.
    I to need some interior idems and with 213k miles on the original untouched 383 she could use a rebuild. I want to keep her all numbers matching.

  4. Will Irby 3 April, 2020 at 19:27 Reply

    I didn’t think the article was negative at all. Although I have a ’65 Barracuda with an aluminum 3rd gen Hemi, I can appreciate most of the cars from the ’60s, including those of the non-Mopar variety. It would have been nice to see an interior shot of this one, incorrect seats and door panels or not.

  5. Thomas Tiritilli 4 April, 2020 at 04:30 Reply

    I had a 1967 Chrysler Newport, i got from my Dad for 400 bucks in 1978, first car I own. IT had a 440 in it i built the engine put fat tires on it and beef up 727 Torqueflite, I was 16 years old, that car was my first car and it was FAST, i beat Roadrunners, Cudas, Chevelles and other cars as well, My 440 had lots of head work done by my friends dad who was a race team head guy, i took my Whale as the writer here calls them to Carlsbad race track one weekend it was running consistent 10.50’s all day long not bad for a boat. I kept that car for years even though i did get a 1967 GTX, and a 1969 GTX, in 1980, and 81, The 1967 GTX End up being my fastest but not by much over my BOAT. I ran 10.30’s in the GTX, But it wa built almost the same as the 67 Chrysler, Oh in case you were wondering my Chrysler was a 2 door, it look cool when i lower the front raised the rear slightly, i took off the fender skirts and shorten the Dana 60 i stuck under her with 4.10 gears. I was a MOPAR GUY though and though, love them all A,B,C, And E Bodies.

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