Lot 34 1965 Dodge Coronet A990 Lightweight Hemi-Charger
Selling on Wednesday
CHASSIS NO: W051249555
• Exceedingly rare Hemi Lightweight • Incredible preservation class example with just 887 original miles • Original condition including the engine • Interesting period racing history • The most significant A990 in existence
426 cid Race Hemi V-8 engine, twin Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors, 425 HP (factory rating), cast aluminum 727 TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 117”
Throughout the 1960s, Detroit’s major automakers chased sales success with increasingly wild, production-based cars designed and built to qualify for NASCAR and NHRA Super Stock competition. While the various General Motors automotive divisions tried to cope with the giant corporation’s self-imposed anti-racing policy since 1963, Chrysler and Ford produced virtually race-worthy machinery in an all-out arms race for domination in virtually every type of motor racing. Technology increased rapidly at the factories’ development labs and at the track and by 1963-64, many stock-appearing drag racing cars arrived with lightweight body panels, heavy-duty components and monstrously powerful race-worthy engines. As raced, these cars became quicker and more specialized with altered wheelbases, radical lightening and exotic multiple-carburetor setups, fuel injection and superchargers and volatile Nitromethane fuels in quick succession. Elapsed times dipped into the nine-second range with wild wheel stands, often to the chagrin of auto-company PR departments but utterly delighting fans everywhere.
For its part, Chrysler’s 413 Super Stock and 426 Ramcharger drag cars of 1963 and 1964 were succeeded by the redesigned Dodge Coronet and Plymouth Belvederes powered by the new 426 Race Hemi by 1965. With development led by Tom Hoover the “Godfather of the Hemi” and engineers at Chrysler, who also moonlighted as the famed Ramchargers racing team, the cars powered by the Race Hemi were built and sold strictly to race, as-is and not for street use – in fact, they didn’t even carry the usual factory warranty coverage. The Dodge version went by several names, internally designated ‘A990’ and referred to as the “Coronet 426 Hemi-Charger.” Just 102 Plymouth- and 101 Dodge-branded examples of these track-bound monsters were produced, including this amazingly preserved Dodge A990 Coronet, one of only an approximate 30 remaining today.
With surprisingly gentle use and fully known ownership from new, the A990 was purchased new from the famed Mr. Norm’s Grand-Spaulding Dodge in Chicago. This 1965 A990 Super Stock Dodge Coronet was acquired by second owner Rick Ingles of Benton Harbor, Michigan, who would retain the mighty Mopar until 2010 when he sold it to the current owner, a private collector of rare Mopar legends. According to Ingles, the Coronet was minimally drag raced by the first owner and parked at just 400 miles before selling the car to Ingles in 1968. Since Ingles was fully involved in the AMC drag-racing program at the time, he did not race the Coronet until mid-1970; However, once back on the track, he raced the A990 weekends in Super Stock B/Automatic (SS/BA) as the “Hustlin’ Hemi,” running 10.30-10.50 second elapsed times with 132-133 mph trap speeds. Usual tracks were Milan Dragway in Milan, Michigan, Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton and US 30 Dragway in Merrillville, Indiana, among others.
Offered with just 887 original miles at the time of writing, this Coronet is one of the finest in existence. It retains all the original lightweight, thin-gauge steel sheet metal, lightweight Corning Plexiglas, seat belts, the optional 14x6.5-inch steel spare wheel and roadside jack. The original, 12.5:1 compression 426 Race Hemi engine has never been blown. Nonetheless, Ingles did bore it 0.030 over, added a high-lift Crane roller cam and had Mancini Racing in Clinton Township, Michigan, send the Holley four-barrel carburetors to John Bauman, the Ramcharger carburetion expert, for tuning. Other original items include Bostrom Viking bucket seats secured with aluminum brackets. Included at the delivery-use single exhaust system, original headers along with the stock muffler, Y-pipe, cutouts, and fine details including the original shocks. Lightweight engine components include the magnesium intake, aluminum water pump, aluminum cylinder heads, aluminum fan and original date-coded wheels, tires and date-coded spark-plug wires. The body was stripped to remove the old race lettering and repainted. While the carpeting was replaced, the rest of the interior remains original.
This extremely rare A990 Coronet is very well-known to knowledgeable Mopar S/S enthusiasts and was a featured subject in Jim Schild’s definitive book, “Maximum Performance: Mopar Super Stock Drag Racing 1962-1969.” It created a sensation at the Las Vegas 50th Anniversary Hemi Reunion in 2014, where it was autographed by Mopar legend Tom Hoover, who proclaimed it “…the most significant A990 in existence.” It was also photographed there and signed by the surviving members of the Ramchargers racing team who were integral to the Hemi’s incredible success, as well as selling dealer “Mr. Norm” Krause. Predictably, feature articles followed in the September 2014 edition of Hot Rod and December 2014 Muscle Car Review. In addition, the Coronet is accompanied by a detailed report and appraisal by Mopar expert Dave Wise plus period images of the A990 cars being shipped for delivery from their simple cinderblock production facility. Highly original, correct and authentic, down the smallest detail, this extremely rare, race-bred legend is quite likely the finest in existence and available.