BODACIOUS BEATERS and Road-going Derelicts: Po' Lara

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis
bodacious beaters em and road going derelicts em po lara

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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  • Luvmyv8 Luvmyv8 on Dec 05, 2012

    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.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 17, 2012

    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.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.