1966 Dodge Polara Pillarless Hardtop

This land yacht was originally equipped with Chrysler's 383 cubic inch big block v8, coupled to a Torqueflite 727 automatic. As of December 2005, it has a newly built 440 in place of the original 383, which was still running smoothly at almost 270,000 miles. But it was to the point of "check the gas and fill the oil," so it was time for a change.

Here are a few pictures of the 440 on the engine stand prior to installation:
Driver's side quarter
Passeger's Side top
On the hoist, with brackets and water pump
In the engine bay, just AC left to hook up
The engine is a 1970 block .040 over with KB Hypereutectic pistons, Forged crank, stock 440 (non-six-pack) rods, FelPro gaskets, 452 heads, and about 9.5:1 compression. Cam is a Roadrunner/Magnum repro grind, so the engine is pretty much a clone of a stock circa-69 440 Magnum other than the heads. Its going back together with the stock exhaust manifolds, with an eye toward TTI headers in the future. The goal is a stout daily-driver that will be fairly economical (relatively speaking!) with the 2.76 rear end in the car.

While the engine was out, disk brakes went in. All lines and components from the combination metering/proportioning valve forward are taken from a '72 Chrysler New Yorker. The lines literally snap into all the existing line clamps and retainers from the '66 single master cylinder disk brake setup. This conversion was easier than a B-body, and those are easy enough.  The line to the rear wheels hooked up to the new combo valve with a minor re-bending and an reducer adaptor. The combo valve itself is from an '85 Diplomat fresh into the boneyard with clean fluid still in the brakes, the combo valve from the '72 NYer was too far gone. The Diplomat combo valve was easily adapted to the bracket from the '72, which in turn bolts into the existing captive nut in the '66 which held the original distribution fitting for the drum brakes.  I should have done an actual weight comparison, but the disk drums, spindle, and backing plate weighed at least 50% more than the disk caliper, rotor, and spindle.  Its a significant weight savings, but without resorting to "lightweight" Wilwood/SSB/Viper etc. components with dinky little drilled rotors and aluminum hubs, they're stock '73 factory engineered land-yacht parts that should last forever under heavy use. Here are some pictures:
Left front disk
Left front brake line and hose fitting
Right front disk
Lines and MC under hood
Combo valve closeup

And after it was all together, it was time to have the cockeyed tailpipes replaced with something that looked like it belongs ont he car:

 I see quite a few Polara sedans around still, but its been many years since I last saw another hardtop (there is no "B" pillar between the front and back doors so that when the windows are down, the whole side of the car is open.) This is another car that's been in the family almost its entire life. It is now my everyday car- it sees a minimum of 55 miles per day, every workday of the year. Much of the car remains factory original, including most of the interior. It was repainted in about 1992, and the engine's heads were re-worked for unleaded fuel in 1991, but the engine block has never been out of the car. The odometer shows (or would if it had the extra digit needed) 225,000 miles. It is my favorite car to drive under almost any conditions, but its best of all on a l-o-n-g highway run.There's no other car, for any amount of money, that can beat a C-body Chrysler for highway comfort- smooth ride, effortless power, ease of control, and cold air conditioning. A 14 hour drive gives almost no fatigue. 

The Bridge....

Starbord quarter (old shot with stock wheels and hubcaps)


Port bow (recent shot with 80s vintage Police Car wheels and circa 1970 dog-dish caps)


Full side view- note the lack of a "B" pillar on this 4-door hardtop

Engine Room

The Engine Room.


Close-up of the Police wheel, "red circle" dog-dish and <ahem..> GM pickup trim ring ($10 at Hub-Cap Annie's :-)