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Junkyard Gem: 1973 Dodge Coronet Custom Sedan

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During the middle 1960s through late 1970s, midsize Detroit sedans became the most mainstream of all transportation in North America. GM had countless variations of the A-Body, Ford offered any number of Fairlane/Torino family members, American Motors would sell you the Matador that best suited your needs, and Chrysler stocked every Dodge and Plymouth showroom with sturdy B-Bodies. From 1965 through 1976, the Coronet reigned as the main midsize Dodge available in North America. Today’s Junkyard Gem is a fairly well-equipped Coronet from the first year of the Malaise Era, found in a car graveyard near Denver last fall.

The ’73 Coronet came in two configurations: sedan and wagon. If you wanted the sedan, you either chose the base model for $2,867 (about $17,975 today) or the top-grade Custom for $3,017 (about $18,915 today). Those prices were for cars with Slant-6 engines and three-on-the-tree manual transmissions, of course; if you wanted a V8 and/or a three-speed automatic, you had to pay quite a bit more.

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When it arrived at the junkyard, this car had a small-block LA-series V8 engine… in the trunk.

I think this was a project car whose owner ran out of motivation and/or time and/or money and/or storage space.

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B-Body coupes and convertibles, especially those from the 1968-1972 period, are worth big money. A ’70 Charger with this sort of rust wouldn’t have suffered this fate. A non-hardtop four-door, on the other hand, just isn’t worth rescuing.

The “Music Master” AM radio was an extra-cost option, and this car has it. If you wanted a stereo cassette deck in this car, the price tag came to $362 (about $2,270 today).

Air conditioning added $358 ($2,245 today) to the price tag; I can’t find the price for the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission, but it would have been plenty. Prices for cars of this era seem very cheap… until you realize how many features that are standard today weren’t standard back then.

As is so often the case with junkyard cars in the Denver area, the interior of this one has containers that once held legal recreational cannabis. Looks like this bottle was just one day late to have been packed on 4/20/20.

These pleated cloth-and-vinyl seats were available in blue, green, black, or gold. 

Buford and J.W. tried to use a ’71 Coronet Custom as a bait car, with unpleasant results.

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