By on December 3, 2012

It’s been a long, long time since I can remember seeing one of these on the road…and a WAGON no less!

These Polaras were considered mid-sized in an era when truly excessive full-sized land yachts were the desired mode of transport for the financially solvent and nuclear family-oriented, here in the good ol’ U. S. of A. Still, the automotive purchasing public didn’t exactly pan the model; and, in fact, some racers embraced it, considering its combination of outside and underhood dimensions—read that as the possibility of stuffing a big powerful engine in a relatively small car— ideal for quarter-mile shredding. I seem to remember seeing them in law enforcement and fire department livery—likely for the same virtues appreciated by racers.

Far removed from derelict, various visual cues suggest that this particular early-Sixties (I’m guessing probably 1963 or 1964) second-generation Dodge has been owned by the current title-holder for many years. It’s got some rust, yes, but otherwise the body is straight (and coated with the now extra-powderey original Powder Blue paint), most of the exterior trim is intact, and the interior oozes originality wrapped in a state of Arrested Decay!

I didn’t have time to fully analyze the evidence on driver’s and front passenger doors, but it appears that there were some kind of matching decal or appliqué previously occupying the position (the paint getting somewhat damaged upon their removal). Doubtful that these were racing identification numbers, the suggestion is that, in it’s first deployment, it was used as a field vehicle for some company, or government / corporate institution. Might be interesting to know who it was…

That multi-colored array of affixed license plate tag sticker background remnants—posing as some sort of an impromptu drivers door edge guard—would seem to indicate that the present owner has enjoyed the care, feeding and operation of this example for in excess of a few decades!

Whether this person ever considered undertaking a restoration of the vehicle is speculation; but if I were the owner, I’d do as he or she is doing, and just leave it as it is. The kind of funky patina this ‘lara is exhibiting is unique, and worth preserving in its present guise. Why mess with such Bocacious Funkitude?!!

Expertly collected and commented by Phil Coconis, this is the second of many BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts, an assemblage of the still driveable near-dead.

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this TTAC site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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9 Comments on “BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts: Po’ Lara...”

  • avatar

    You are so lucky that something like this even exists. Here in the Great White North, cars of this era are either in museums or haven’t existed for decades.

    Who collects early 60’s Dodge Polaras? And a wagon at that?!

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    This vehicle would be an awesome Vellum Venom subject. Sajeev!!

  • avatar

    My Dad bought a 63 or 64, can’t remember which, back in 1974. He paid $300.00 for it. It had a v-8 and push button gears. I remember hearing him yell goddamnit everytime hit hit “reverse” while trying to adjust the heat! Poor car would just make noise till he hit “drive” again and continue on.

  • avatar

    From the look of front end, its a ’64. The ’63 retained the goofy diagonal headlight of the ’62. From the hole on the right rear corner, it had a whip antenna, definitely a radio dispatched fleet vehicle. Dodge was favored by law enforcement in California, but the CHP required a minimum 121″ wheelbase, eliminating the downsized Polara from competition. The Dodge 880, essentially a cheaper Chrysler, was the answer.

  • avatar

    Some sort of service car for the police or a medical examiner car judging by the antenna hole in the right rear corner. Or maybe a military MP car from back then…

  • avatar

    Very similar condition and “patina” to my recently sold 65 Dodge Dart wagon. I was thinking if I ever did go back down the old car road this is what I would try to get. The Dart just felt too small. Put a modern Hemi or a cheap hot 360 in it with a manual tranny. Fun.

  • avatar

    That car would be my daily driver of choice after a resto mod. I know some people like that aging look but it’s still super restorable and I know it’s a money loser. The size and looks would be so perfect on campus as the hateful response to those last straggling 240s I see. I know they aren’t professor-owned, but I just would love to stick it to them anyways.

  • avatar

    Ah, the Dodge Polara.

    I don’t like the earlier ones (like the one here) but give me a ’69 Polara and I’d be in my automotive happy place.

    The ’69 Polara was one of the fastest police cars and even to this day would keep up with the Chargers, Eco-Boost Fords and the Caprice. The CHP used this car and it was only beaten many years later by the ’94 9C1 Caprice with the LT1. Yes, the Polara was faster then the CHP Mustang 5.0’s, a car that I grew up in awe of.

    The CHP Polara came with the 440 Magnum, rated at 375 hp, bolted to the Torque Flight transmission. Even in 1969 with the tires of the era, this car could reach a verified 147 MPH, from a fullsize car no less. Some Chippies even say it went faster then that. Plus it was just damn intimidating. Not much could get away from it then, it was meant for intercepting muscle cars and it did so easily.

  • avatar

    I really like the trail-down at the back of the rear fender. There were lenses there looks like, but did they light up too?

    That’s really the only thing I like about this car, though. Ha.

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