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1962 Dodge Polara 500

Featured Mopar Ride

David writes: I had always wanted a 1962 Dodge B-Body but in a search for nearly 40 years the effort was futile. Most were cut up in the 1960's to serve as drag cars. One day while reading a daily Hemmings this one was featured as the Car of the Day. I could not believe my eyes and immediately began to negotiate with the seller, Classic Rides Factory, LLC from Calimesa, CA.

We agreed on a price and based on pictures, the right answers to my questions, I purchased it sight unseen and the seller set out to make it ready to transport to my location ASAP.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, front driver's side
1962 Dodge Polara 500, stored in garage

The Dodge was transported to my doorstep and put in the garage;
the Mopar was waiting for me when I returned from my month-long plus travel.

Engine and Vehicle Data

1962 Dodge Polara 500, front passenger side 1962 Dodge Polara 500, rear
1962 Dodge Polara 500, front driver interior 1962 Dodge Polara 500, front passenger interior
1962 Dodge Polara 500, interior

The Dodge arrived with two very small 6 inch air cleaners. I first changed with 10 inch and then with the help of Mancini Racing I was able to obtain two 14 inch dropped down (1.5 inches) base plate to allow clearance under the hood. That improved the Mopar's breathing greatly, meaning better acceleration.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, engine with 6 inch air cleaners  
6 inch
1962 Dodge Polara 500, engine with ten inch air cleaners  
10 inch
1962 Dodge Polara 500, engine with 14 inch air cleaners   
14 inch

The Dodge did not come without a few minor problems. Apparently, the previous owner drove the car about 20,000 miles after the engine build and never changed the spark plugs. The engine was only firing on 5 cylinders. Pictured [right] you can see the plug gaps. The video below shows how the porcelain insulator in the plug hardest to access was loose and that cylinder made a chugging sound.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, spark plugs
1962 Dodge Polara 500, spark plug

Click to play video of loose spark plug insulator.
[Note: This will open a new window and play the video,
or will download the video to play on your computer,
depending on what web browser you use.]

The second problem was that the intake manifold was incorrectly installed; it was missing spacers and did not have gaskets at the heads -- just a thick glob of some type of sealant that had blown out in several places. Vacuum levels and braking efficiency were consequently negatively impacted.

Replacing the bad plugs and fixing the leaky intake manifold really woke up the 413. And with vacuum for braking, the Dodge stops well too!

The third challenge was the missing 500 script from the passenger side door.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, missing 500 script
missing 500 script

It took me nearly two years to find the part. Using the resources of the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Website and associated 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse I was able find two scripts that needed posts added and re-chroming.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, found 500 script 1962 Dodge Polara 500, found 500 script installed
500 script installed

I obtained these through connections with a member of a 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse from Ohio. (A big THANK YOU to him! And also to everyone who helped me search for, acquire and repair these very hard to find 1962 Dodge Polara 500 door scripts!)

I also had a new headliner installed, which required the rear window to be removed. So the next challenge was finding a gasket. Problem solved by Kramer Automotive Specialties [Editor's note: listed on the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Vendor's Page. ] The installation went well; the upholstery person used to work for the Harris Car Collection years ago and obtains period correct materials. (Note: He had did a fantastic job on my 1957 DeSoto Fireflight over 20 years ago. Pictured to the right.)

previously owned 1957 DeSoto Fireflight pictures

Also, I replaced all the rubber bumpers, as well as the door, trunk and ignition lock cylinders so that one key works every thing. I got a carburetor synchronizer so both carbs pair perfectly. I installed new front and rear shocks; the Dodge tracks straight as an arrow.

Once I began to have everything in good order, I decided to try and contact the previous owners. The one whom I purchased the Mopar from was not much help and due to some of the items not being well maintained I determined that was not a good source. So I found an old car show plaque in the trunk, an Inland Mopar So. Cal. sticker and a 1962 license plate apparently used by the first restorer for car shows.

old Inland Mopars image 1962 Dodge Polara 500, found old car show plaque

The Inland Mopars So. Cal. sticker and the old car show plaque with 6th Annual Rosa Maria's Wild Summer Nights

The car show plaque investigation came up blank. So I contacted the president of Inland Mopars. He questioned members of the club. They did not remember the Dodge, but remembered the owner who was known as Susan Koch in August 2001; but there was a name change and the trail went cold. That is, until I clicked on the 1962 Dodge Polara section of B-Bodies on the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Website and found a web page from August 2000 posted for this Dodge.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, photo from 2000

I now have the exact car, except I have black dice in the windshield now.

Car Shows

The judges are all over this 1962 Polara 500 at every show.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, at car show being judged

1962 Dodge Polara 500, filmed at car show

1962 Dodge Polara 500, at car show being judged 1962 Dodge Polara 500, at car show being judged

First show out the 1962 placed in the Circle of Champions at Redding Kool April Nites.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show 1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show

1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show 1962 Dodge Polara 500, $100 cash award at car show
Plus $100 cash!
1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show
1962 Dodge Polara 500,  at car show 1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show
1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show 1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show

This was a totally Mopar meet. Mopars in the Park put on by Capital City Mopars. I picked the wrong category. I should have gone with B-Body. But I went with 1955 to 1975 which was a huge number of cars. Getting third.

This show the Dodge was lumped in with every car from 1960 to 1969. 1st and 2nd place were both highly customized. The 1962 Dodge is stock.

1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show
1962 Dodge Polara 500, best of at car show
Best of Show
1962 Dodge Polara 500, at car show

Ask me if I am having fun YES!

1962 Dodge Polara 500, award at car show

Right now as far as being a dependable "jump in and go" vehicle, I would put this 1962 Dodge against the family's Range Rover Sport. Of course, the the Rangie is soother, quieter and has AC. It lacks the same "fun factor" though. (Adding AC to the Dodge is a future challenge.)

The bottom line is that this 1962 Dodge Polara 500 runs perfect! I have run the car back from shows at 105 degrees outside at 80 MPH for several hours and the Mopar does not miss a beat. Also, the Dodge does not loose a drop of any fluids.

In fact, the Mopar runs super strong -- as several friends who have 425 3-2 Vets and a Chevelle restomod with an LS9 will testify: they cannot stay with the Dodge.

Contact David: 1962 Dodge Polara 500 contact

August 2018



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