From Rusty Relic to Showstopper: This 1970 Hemi Dodge is Back and Better Than Ever!

In the early 1970s, cool cars, especially the ones packing a Hemi engine, were seen as outdated relics.

High gas prices and crazy insurance costs made these powerful machines seem like they were headed to the scrapyard. But a few car fans, especially in the Mopar community, saw the value in Hemi-powered cars and started saving and fixing them up.

One amazing find was the 1970 Hemi Coronet R/T convertible, now part of the Brett Torino Collection.

Only two convertibles like it were made in 1970 with a 426 Hemi. This car ended up in a Canadian junkyard in the late 1970s, missing its engine and some parts. But a smart person saw its potential and decided to bring it back to life.

The Canadian Junkyard Discovery: A Rough Diamond

Saved from a Canadian junkyard, the Coronet R/T had already lost its Hemi engine and A833 4-speed transmission, along with some outside and inside parts.

It got a first round of fixing up in the late 1970s, but it took a long time before Mark Worman at Graveyard Carz noticed it.


By the 1980s, the Coronet R/T convertible was showing off its 1980s makeover at North East Hemi Owners meets, complete with cool Cragar wheels. Eventually, it became part of Brett’s special collection of rare Detroit cars, still rocking its 1980s paint job.

From Old to New: Getting a Little Help from Graveyard Carz

Even with its vintage makeover, the Coronet R/T started showing its age, especially with a dent in the front fender. The big problem came when the Hemi engine started having issues. Recognizing it needed expert help, Brett called up Mark Worman at Graveyard Carz.

The Restoration Adventure: Revealing the Skeleton

At Graveyard Carz, the Coronet R/T went through a careful restoration. Even though it sat around for a while, the restoration got going, starting with taking the whole car apart and giving it an acid bath.

Even though it looked okay, the restoration team found some big challenges hiding underneath.

Fixing the rear quarters, especially, was a puzzle. During the first makeover, new panels were added over some of the original ones and covered in Bondo.

Since there were no replacement quarters available at the time, the team had to decide whether to find new ones or use the old ones. They chose the old ones and fixed them up right.

Painting Magic: Deep Burnt Orange Metallic

As the restoration moved forward, the Coronet R/T got a new paint job – a custom mix of Deep Burnt Orange Metallic. It’s a one-of-a-kind color that made the car stand out.

Under the Hood: Bringing the Hemi Back to Life

At the same time, the Hemi engine got a complete refresh. This special engine, a 426 cubic-inch big block from 1972, got a new cast-iron block with a stock forged crank, connecting rods, and aluminum pistons.

The A833 4-speed transmission and Dana rear also got a full rebuild. This meant the Coronet R/T wouldn’t just look awesome but would also drive like a dream.

Showcasing the Build: A Masterpiece Comes to Life

For those who want to know all the details about the Coronet R/T convertible’s restoration, here’s a breakdown:

Engine Type: 1972 426 cubic-inch big block

Bore x Stroke: 4.255 (bore) x 3.750 (stroke) inches

Block: 1972, 426 cast-iron replacement block

Rotating Assembly: Stock forged crank, stock forged connecting rods, aluminum pistons

Cylinder Heads: 1970 cast iron

Camshaft: Stock Chrysler

Compression: 10.25:1

Induction: Stock Chrysler cast iron manifold, dual Carter AFB carburetors, factory Ramcharger hood

Electronics: Stock Chrysler distributor

Oiling System: Stock oil pan, high volume oil pump

Exhaust: Stock cast iron exhaust manifolds, stock pipes, stock mufflers

Cooling: Stock 26-inch radiator

Transmission: A833 18-spline heavy-duty 4-speed

Shifter: Factory 4-speed Pistol Grip shifter

Driveshaft: Stock Chrysler

Rearend: Stock Dana 60 posi with 4.10:1 gears

Front Suspension: Factory original torsion bars (restored), stock shocks

Rear Suspension: Factory original leaf springs (restored), stock shocks

Steering: Factory original power steering box (restored)

Front Brakes: Chrysler original 10.5-inch discs

Rear Brakes: Chrysler original 11-inch drums

Sheetmetal: Original sheetmetal

Paint: PPG 2-stage Deep Burnt Orange Metallic

Stripe: Reproduction from Phoenix Graphics

Convertible Top: 1970 Crush Grain reproduction

Paint and Bodywork: Performed by Graveyard Carz

Instrumentation: Original Chrysler instrumentation

Dash: Original dash

Steering Wheel: Original steering wheel

Upholstery: Original seats with reproduction covers, reproduction carpet

Audio: AM 8-track radio

Wheels: Chrysler Rallye Wheels 15 x 7 (front and rear)

Tires: Goodyear Polyglas GT F60-15 (front and rear)

The Peak of Restoration: Reliving the Good Old Days

As the restoration reached its end, the Coronet R/T came out as a restored masterpiece, bringing back the spirit of its glory days. If you want to see the whole transformation, check out Season 10, Episode 13 of Graveyard Carz on the MotorTrend App.

In the end, bringing back this 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T Convertible isn’t just about fixing up a car. It’s a salute to the skill and love of those who understand and protect the history of special and rare cars.

Curious about classic car restorations or have questions about the 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T Convertible?

Drop your inquiries in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to share more insights! Don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends to spread the love for vintage automotive gems.

Our mission is to take you on a thrilling ride down memory lane, exploring the history, design, and unforgettable moments that define the golden era of automobiles.

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