The John Staluppi Collection

John Staluppi Collection
1 December 2012
Lot 238

1960 Dodge Polara D-500 Convertible

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$123,750 USD | Sold

United States | North Palm Beach, Florida

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Chassis No.
6302183586
language

Model PD2-H. 330 bhp, 383.0 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission, torsion bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 122.0 in.

From more than a half century’s remove, it’s easy to forget just how momentous 1960 was for the Chrysler Corporation. Most significant was the move to unibody construction for all six marques (Imperial was still a make in its own right, and the new compact Valiant was, briefly, being sold that way, not as a Plymouth). Perhaps most important for Dodge was the fact that, for the first time in anyone’s memory, there were no Plymouths in the showroom.

Effective with the 1960 model year, Dodge dealerships sold only Dodges. To make up for any low-price deficit, there was a new Dodge model, the Dart, priced almost exactly in Plymouth territory. Three series of Darts were plenty to satisfy former Plymouth owners, and they sold well, more than 323,000 cars, which surpassed the sales of all Dodges in 1959. “Big Dodges” for 1960 came in two series only, Matador and Polara, both on the 122-inch wheelbase used by DeSoto and small Chryslers. They all had V-8 engines. Polara was the ritzier of the two, offering better trim than the Matadors, as well as dual exhausts. Both lines had sedans, two- and four-door hardtops, and both six- and nine-passenger station wagons. Only Polara offered a convertible.

This D-500 convertible presents a dramatic appearance in Vermillion, as Dodge called the bright red color. The body exhibits excellent and correct contours, and there are no flaws in the paint. The brightwork is generally very good, with only a few light scratches to be found on close examination. The interior is upholstered in red vinyl and pleated cloth in a lighter red hue. An unusual touch is the steering wheel, two sectors of which are clear acrylic embedded with gold flecks. The convertible top is black vinyl, with a red boot cover matching the upholstery, and the luggage compartment is lined with light grey carpet. Even the spare tire is covered. Accessories include power steering, power brakes, a day/night mirror, a power top, twin side view mirrors, windshield washers, and an AM radio with twin rear-mounted antennas.

The most excitement is found under the hood, where a 383-cubic inch D-500 cross ram induction engine lurks. Developing 320 brake horsrepower, it drives through Chrysler’s excellent push-button three-speed Torqueflite transmission. Cross ram was new for 1960. It mounted two 4-barrel carburetors, each one on the end of a set of four 30-inch ram tubes. The tubes cross in the center, so that the left carb feeds the right bank and vice versa. The long, gently-curved tubes allow the engine to breathe freely, and their tuned length creates a high-velocity charge entering the cylinders at the moment they need fuel. As a result, the 3,765-pound car moves smartly in all types of traffic.

The engine compartment is correctly detailed, entirely consistent with original delivery condition. It has the correct oval air cleaners and appropriate hardware all around. The undercarriage is clean and painted black, but there is some minor evidence of having been driven.

Dodge built 8,817 convertibles of all types for 1960, with further breakdown by series unavailable. Most of these were Darts, so the number of Polara convertibles cannot be more than about 1,200. Fewer still were built with cross ram D-500 engines. This is certainly one of the most desirable 1960 Dodges extant.