Meet the World's Only 1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Wedge

The Mopar That Shouldn't Exist.

1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Wedge

In 1966, Dodge revolutionized the muscle car market with the introduction of the 426 HEMI engine, designed specifically for racing and then adapted for production cars. At the same time, Chrysler discontinued the 426 Wedge engine, making way for the HEMI's dominance. But what if I told you there exists a 1966 Dodge Coronet with the discontinued 426 Wedge? This rare and unique car defies all expectations.

Back in March 2023, a peculiar 1966 Dodge Coronet surfaced, claiming a unique status as the only one of its kind. Known as a "Mr. Norm's" car, it raised eyebrows and questions due to its undocumented status. After decades in storage, the car was displayed at various shows, still shrouded in mystery. It wasn't until Jim Wicker acquired the car in May 2024 that the full story began to unfold. Jim was determined to restore this rare gem, a task that was both challenging and rewarding.

At first glance, this 1966 Coronet appears ordinary. However, it's a one-of-one model equipped with a factory-installed 426 Wedge V8 engine—a powerplant that was no longer in production at the time. This car isn't just a production model; it's more of a prototype, assembled using OEM parts from previous years. Jim speculates that Chrysler built this car to showcase readiness for the NASCAR season amid challenges in rolling out the HEMI.

Noted Mopar expert Galen V. Govier confirmed the car's authenticity as a 1966 Wedge, noting that only three such vehicles were ever special-ordered, with Jim's Coronet being the only one known to exist today. The car's extensive documentation from all previous owners, coupled with its connection to the famed Grand Spaulding Dodge dealership, further cements its historical significance.

This Coronet's history is as colorful as its journey. The first owner drag-raced the car, eventually blowing the engine in a street race and replacing it with a 383 cubic inch big block. Subsequent owners modified the car, including a purple paint job and several mechanical tweaks, before it was stored away for decades.

Unearthed in 2012, the Coronet went through a series of owners before landing in Jim's capable hands. Since acquiring it, Jim has dedicated over 700 hours to its restoration, aiming to return it to factory specifications. The car, originally finished in Dark Blue Poly with a two-tone blue interior, will be meticulously restored to its original glory, with some elements of its racing past retained.

Restoring the 426 Wedge engine, the rarest aspect of this car, is no small feat. Jim is sourcing and date-coding major components to ensure authenticity. The restoration will be as close to factory-correct as possible, honoring the car's unique history while preserving some modifications made during its racing days.

This 1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Wedge is set to become a museum-grade classic, a testament to the golden era of muscle cars. As Jim prepares to unveil this rare gem at the 2024 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in November, anticipation builds among car enthusiasts. Stay tuned for a follow-up on this historically significant vehicle, and check out Jim's YouTube channel, "AngryCylinders," for updates on this incredible project.



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