Darin Smith, of DWS Classics in Huntington Beach, California, has good taste in classic Mopars. His shop offers service, and restoration for classic cars. Parked in the corner of the shop is Darin’s personal Mopar, a Ruby Red Metallic 1965 Dodge Coronet 440 Super Stock clone, with white interior. Underneath the hood is a Mopar Performance 472, which is the same thing as a bored and stroke 426 Hemi. Fitted to the engine, are cheater carbs, with velocity stacks. The car currently sits on a set of original drag racing tires from the 1960s, two of which are an original pair of Hurst 12-inch cheater slicks. Underneath the rear of the car, is a Dana 60 rear end with all the Strange parts that were offered. Also, the car has a 727 reverse manual automatic transmission, and connected sub-frame.
Originally, this car started out, as a 1965 Coronet 440, in Ruby Red Metallic. The car was assembled at the Lynch Road plant in Detroit, Michigan, which first started production in 1928, as a plant for DeSoto and Plymouth cars. Darin’s car was among the many Coronets and Chargers that were built at this plant, before production at Lynch Road was ceased in 1981.
“I was in Arizona for Thanksgiving a few years ago when I found the car.” Smith recalled. “The owner advertised it for sale in a newspaper. He also had a post car that I wanted. When I got there, he had the car out back, but already sold the post car.” Darin also stated the car’s condition, as a rust-free shell upon acquisition. “I wound up buying what was left of the car, and the owner also threw in a ‘63 Corvair as part of the deal,” he said. After bringing the two cars back, Smith spent four years restoring the Coronet. Darin spent a lot of time, trying to find the correct trim pieces, going through ads on Recycler, eBay, and even spent time searching for parts at the Mopar Spring Fling and Fall Fling at Woodley Park, in Van Nuys, California.
The car was repainted in the original Ruby Red Metallic that it once wore when it was new. As a drag racing fanatic, Darin turned the car into what could have been a full-blown racecar. Smith found a pair of 12” Hurst cheater slicks from the 1960s, added, and installed them with the rear wheels. In went the bored and stroke 426 Hemi engine, by Mopar Performance.
As an extra add-on, Darin installed some Moon gauges and dash tach to make the car more suitable as a drag car. In the windows of the car are an original AHRA (American Hot Rod Association), along with a NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) sticker. The battery was relocated to the trunk, as most racing cars had that back then. “Technically, the car can meet specs, but I can’t run it at the drag strip because I don’t have seat belts installed, and the tires are old,” Darin stated.
Darin Smith enjoys taking the Coronet to shows, and events around the Huntington Beach area, and is a regular at the annual Huntington Beach Concours d’Elegance every June. If you get a chance to see this car in person, don’t pass it up. Be sure to get a closer look at it, the next time Darin brings this beast to a show.