JUNE 2024: 1960 DODGE PHOENIX TWO-DOOR HARDTOP—RESCUED FROM A FORTY-FOUR YEAR HIBERNATION

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Every car has a different story behind it—MyStarCollectorCar was founded on that premise.

This 1960 Dodge Phoenix two-door hardtop is a different story to the next level.

Jerry Sutherland

Brad Smith is the proud owner of this classic Dodge plus he’s a student of its history. The story began when the original owner bought the then brand-new Phoenix in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The car was always parked in a climate-controlled garage and saw a high level of routine maintenance.

The Dodge was driven until 1971. Somebody crashed into it and demolished the rear bumper and a few other pieces, so the car was parked that day and never saw daylight again. The last time the car was serviced was 31,281 miles. The Dodge came with a mountain of paperwork—including the dealer sales invoice and the accident sticker from the March 1971 crash that took the car off the road.    

The original owner had a game plan—repair it and get the car back on the road in mint condition. He scoured wrecking yards and found a solid trunk lid.

He also assembled a massive number of parts for the car.  Brad said the Phoenix was covered in boxes when he first saw it—and all the boxes were full of parts. The extra parts added 500 dollars to the price—Brad couldn’t pass up the chance to get these parts for pennies on the dollar. The parts included four sets of full wheel covers and a new old stock (NOS) taillight assembly. 

The Phoenix was at mid-project stage when Brad took over in 2014. The previous owner had torn the engine down, plus he had the gas tank and radiator redone, so Brad checked those off the list. He said the “oil was like molasses and there were ridges in the pistons after all those short starts and stops during storage”.   

This is a Canadian-built Dodge, so it came with a 313 cubic inch V-8 instead of a 318. Brad found that out the hard way when he ordered a rebuild kit for a 318. Brad is at the point where the engine will fire, but he has a lot of things to tie in first. The original owner put aftermarket gauges below the dash, but Brad is uncertain about their future. 

The seats are in very good shape thanks to the storage and the low miles on the car. Brad said it just needs a little attention and detailing—the door panels are in great shape. That’s a bonus because these cars had a lot of plastic that got brittle over the years, but this car’s careful storage saved them.

The paint is still original with the exception of the donor trunk lid. The Phoenix shows the typical late 50s-early 60s Mopar eyebrow rust but generally the rest of the car is solid. 

He’s still learning about how old cars are a mystery to parts guys because he was looking for a standard clear fuel filter to check the fuel system and the clerk asked him for the year, make and model. All he needed was a basic fuel filter, but the parts guy didn’t get the concept.

This ’60 Dodge came to Brad. He was looking for “something old” when he heard about the Phoenix. He’s not a big fan of new cars even though he’s a young guy and an IT (Information Technologist) because they are too complicated—he believes in the simple fuel, air, and spark concept of old iron. He has other reasons to like this classic Dodge.

You don’t see cars like this anymore and they have a huge cool factor.       

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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