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9/29/21 2:45 p.m.

Hello all.  The Yankee Express is a 1967 Dodge Coronet 500 resto mod project. 

This thread will cover the build of this highly modified car from it's start in October 2014 up until right now, October of 2021.

So, from the top, a little about me. I retired from the US Army after 30 years.  While waiting for retirement to go through and for VA disability to be decided I was home all of the time suddenly and my wife stood it for a short time before she began looking for something for me to do. lol.

She saw this car advertised on Ny state's Craig's List about 20 minutes after it was posted. She showed it to me and I called the seller up right away and said, " Hi. Please don't sell it. I'm on my way from VT with cash and a trailer." She agreed and away I went with my pal Rick and his trailer.

The car was a 100% complete example with 69,000 miles, A/C, factory tinted glass, 318 V8, 727 trans, column shift, black/black interior, creme color body and was running and drivable. What's not to like? I paid $3750 for it.

We got her back to Ricks place and unloaded her. We took some photos and I drove it home a few miles away and rolled her into the garage.

Rick loaned me a set of 340 Duster hood scoops to set on the hood just to see how they would look. Not good.

So, we sat around, and walked around, the car for several days taking note of damage and what all was keepable and what had to go. We made a list of some changes that might look good.

From that initial session I made many more lists of changes that could be done, crossing off some and adding more. While this was ongoing I began to disassemble the car.

The revised list of mods I decided on is lengthy but all have one thing in common, they are all designed to blend with the original design of the car. i wanted to make changes that I liked, AND, that would not be noticeable to the average onlooker. Or, that would be discernable but leave the person wondering just exactly what had been done.

I hope I have achieved this.

Here's the list of mods that have been done.


Front to back------ Front bumper sectioned, shortened, turn signal rectangular holes filled, recurved to fit the new fender noses and to hug the sheet metal. Also enlarged the center license plate cut out into a ram air duct.
1967 Charger grill and revolving headlights. Custom electric motors, mounts and linkages.
Front fender noses swept back to a 90* angle ( Think 70 Road Runner).
Front disc brakes swap from a 76 Aspen.
All rubber bumpers and bearings replaced.
Inner fender close out smooth panels to hide wiring etc.
Smooth firewall with relocated wiper motor to under dash as is everything previously on the firewall.
Battery to box behind passenger seat.
Wiring pass through tubes running along outside of inner fender just below the fender mounting flanges and into the cab through the firewall.
Wiring pass through boots in the door frames.
2004 Audi A6 Quattro dash/console /steering and center pull E Brake. And everything in/on the dash console too.
Audi door panel elements fabricated into new panels that align with the Audi dash.
Puddle lights and rear facing marker light on the rear face of the inner door surface so it can be seen when the door is opened.
Power everything.
Custom steering linkages.
dual M/C and new hoses/lines.
10 way, power/heated bucket seats leather.
1967 Plymouth Sport Fury rear seat topper mounted just behind bucket seat tops and close out roadster type panels from there to the back glass. (Think 59 Corvette)
Audi armrest with 4 analog gauges hidden inside.
GPS speedo
spare tire under the roadster panels in what would have been the center of the rear seat. Close out panel between cab and trunk.
Fabricated shift linkage and lever. Hand made pistol grip and reverse lock out.
Fake quarter panel side scoops opened up.
dual motorcycle pop up gas filler caps, one on top of each quarter near the trunk lid front corners.
fabricate he entire rear face of the car to accept 1966 Thunder Bird tail lights.
Trunk lid on gas lifts
17 gallon fuel cell with dual filler necks.
trunk close out panels
rear wells tubbed
leaf springs relocated to under frame.
center pull E Brake cables
move spring perches
remove spare tire well
1970 Road Runner rear bumper lengthened 4 5/8" and recurved to hug the sheet metal. TTI exhaust to exit through those back up light holes.
Remote trunk release.
'shave gas filler door
ditch the 318 in favor of a built 440 Magnum, and build a 727.

keep in mind that many, many more smaller mods had to happen to make many of these changes take place.

So, here's some photos from the beginning!








Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/29/21 3:13 p.m.

Disassembly is boring so I wont go on and on about that. Suffice to say I took the old girl apart. Completely apart.

I bagged and tagged everything that would be kept and sold off all of the parts that I was sure I would not need.

These sales financed the initial purchase of consumables and parts that I would be needing that didn't come with this car. 

To begin with I did a lot of research into parts swap with 66/67 Chargers & 66 Coronet B Body cars. What fit and what wouldn't. This year model, 67 Coronet, is an 'orphan' year. If you own a 68 and up, parts fall from the sky. 66 and down some parts are repopped and others need to be bought from donors. 67 Coronet. Crickets. Nada. If you want it you have to take it from another car.

So I did. The front grill and rotating headlights from a 67 Charger along with the lower radiator bar and the trim. Shift linkages for the floor shift conversion, wiring harnesses, bumpers, dash/console, disc brakes, tail lights all came from other cars.

Taking this thread from the front to the rear of the car, in order, means we start with the front bumper....

To understand why it had to be sectioned and rebent you have to know that the front fender noses were swept back to 90* with the angle of the hood nose. By that I mean that I disliked the way the Coronet fenders leading edge was on an angle matching the hood contour line that flowed out at a 45* angle and intersected the fender top. So, I wanted the fender front to be square, like on a 1970 Road Runner for instance. I learned during taking the car apart that both sides had been smacked in the past, the left more so than the right. I bought a left side fender nose section from a car stripper and cut out the bits I needed. After sectioning the nose areas and tacking them back together the bumper ends were left hanging out in mid air, no where near the fenders. 

At around the same time I happened to see someone else's 67 Coronet project that had straightened the lines of the front fender and shaved the turn signal holes. Also it had the rear bumper recurved to hug the sheet metal. I closely studied those photos and put the cutting tools to my bumper. I needed to remove the curve o each side of center and shorten the bumper by 3/4" as well as recurving the ends to hug the new fender sheet metal. So the bumper was cut into 8 sections. Yes, 8. much trimming and 'pasting' later I had it where it needed to be and tacked it all up. after fully welding everything I also trimmed the trailing edges where they meet the scalloped portion of each fender so they mirrored that pockets form. I also had to section the bumper mounts on the outer arms to match up with the mounting holes new placements.

Here's some photos showing all of this.

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/29/21 3:15 p.m.

In this picture you can see how the bumper ends ( in the yellow circles) are far from in position after the nose work and how the curves ( vertical lines) no longer look right..

chandler UltimaDork
9/29/21 3:29 p.m.

That's a lot of work, looks great

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/29/21 3:41 p.m.

Next up was the grill. It sucked. Looked like grandmas car. lol. Had to go. Since the 66/67 Charger front grill and headlights were a direct bolt in, the units sold in Mexico had this grill from the factory, I went with that. The only difference was the lower grill support bar had a different shape to accept the trim from that model. So I bought one, and the entire unit from another MOPAR head. It needed restoration, but everything does. Right?

I set this unit up on the bench and assembled it. It's a trick to get all of the many elements to align properly to get that seamless look all of the way across the face. The parts I did NOT get were the clunky 54 year old drive motors for the headlight buckets. Was NOT going to use those. I searched for and eventually found two 12 volt electric motors that had a three point mounting pattern for stability against the rotational torque of the heavy buckets. Then I began the process of building mounting plates for the motors and drive connections to stand in for the missing clunky drive motors. The old motors had a 'neck' that protruded through a 'donut' and connected via a set pin with the 'nipple' mount off of the bucket inside ends. This kept the rotational mass centered over the centerline of the rotation. Without the old Motors there was no way to keep them rolling smoothly about a center axle. I had to devise one. I did.

Using hard nylon bushings that had been carefully sanded down for thickness and drilled for ID I hammered one set into the middle of the donuts so the 'nipple' protruding through from the bucket end would stay centered and another went over the 'nipple' and in between the bucket and the donut to maintain the correct spacing in order for the front face of all 5 pieces to align, for that seamless look. The amount of fooling around with spacing that required me to assemble and disassemble that unit was enormous.  But I got it worked out. Next the issue was to find a way to connect the tiny 'D' shaped motor drive shaft to the 'nipple' end sticking out of each donut with a set pin hole through them. I needed a metal tube to slid over the nipple and a set pin through both, and a metal tube to slide over the D shaft and a set screw to lock it down. Preferably in one piece. I didn't have the technology to make it in one piece so i still needed each end to slide within each other and another set screw to lock them together. whew.

All of this within a few short inches. No pressure. In the following photos I have big clunky bolts in the place of nice set screws and the pieces are not finished to look pretty. Disregard....it all works perfectly.

I also had to mount those motors so they wouldn't block the radiator or cooler and not rest against the support bar either while aligning perfetly on center with the drive axle ceter line of the buckets. lol.

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/29/21 3:53 p.m.

I left the restoration of the bucket halves and turn signal housings till just recently. Also the grill.

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/29/21 4:23 p.m.

Having worked all of that out, lol, I moved on to the inner fender close out panels. I cut out templates and fabricated the panels from 20 ga sheet metal. The ones pictured are mock ups and I will be making nicer ones once the car is painted. Soon. I'll have to wait to see what all will be in the way of installing them.

They set up off of the inner fender surface about 3/8" on nylon spacers with chrome Allen head bolts down through them. This allows me to hide wiring etc behind them...

In addition to these I wanted a smooth firewall too. too much junk mounted up there detracting from the beautiful 440 big block that would soon set in there. The clunky old wiper motor HAD to go and it's mounting divot shaved smooth as well The wiper now resides under the dash. I cut out all portions of the firewall that extended beyond the base flat surface. Then I cut and fitted a one piece firewall from 18ga steel and welded it in place. i wanted to leave as much factory stamped steel connected in this critical area as possible. I fabricated a filler for the wiper divot and welded everything up. A little bodywork later and done.

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/29/21 5:04 p.m.

Front disc brake swap was the next item to deal with. My pal Gary had a set from the front of a 1976 Aspen that I could buy. All i needed were the spindles and caliper mounts. Everything else would be replaced with new. I spifed them up and rebuilt them and they bolted right up. Bought new hoses, calipers, rotors, bearings & pads. Had the calipers powder coated. Cleaned up and painted the front suspension parts. New bushings and bearings, bumpers. Upgraded the torsion bars to a heavier set due to the big 440 going in.

JeremyJ Reader
9/29/21 5:25 p.m.

Looks like a cool project. I look forward to seeing more progress pictures. 

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 7:19 a.m.
JeremyJ said:

Looks like a cool project. I look forward to seeing more progress pictures. 

Thanks Jeremy!  I will be putting them up today. I have some warm weather coming in a week or so and will be shooting color on the shell. I want to begin putting this ride back together this winter.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/30/21 7:52 a.m.


As a fellow mopar guy, i approve. Hadn't seen the charger grille swap before, but I really dig it.

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 8:48 a.m.

In reply to Ghostrider67 :Next up was the Audi dash and interior. I have seen so many 67's at shows that are cookie cutter. All the same basically. It's like nobody has imagination any more. I sold off the entire inside of the car. My plan was to insert a modern dash and interior, much like Chip Foose's Imposter Impala. I took down some measurements of cab width at the A pillars and depth from windshield out, as well as height from trans tunnel to windshield base.

Armed with these I began researching cars and trucks for ideas. After getting a few targets I began scouring the salvage yards. I looked at hundreds of vehicles and found a few contenders but nothing that I was really jazzed about. I used to own an Audi 5000 Quattro back in the day and decided to check out this make for suitability. Low and behold, in my local yard just miles away there sat a 2004 Audi A6 Quattro wagon. Windows up, doors closed, dry and complete & in good shape. I put the tape to work and would you believe it was a dead on match? Pure luck. I even liked the colors. lol.

So, i stripped the insides out of that car taking everything but the seats as they were too small. Also took the rear door cards.

After getting my swag home I mocked up the dash shell in the 67 to see how it looked.....perfect! The only drawback was that even though the dash shell was right the aluminum skeleton the shell attached to was shorter, by about 4" either side. I had to devise a mounting plan to mate up with the skeletons mount pads from my A pillars. This was easily solved via two steel plates of 3/16" mild steel with an angle outwards from the pillars. To determine the correct placement several things had to coincide; the dash height, the door treatment placement, the console tower and the shifter location. All had to be exact for the whole shebang to go together correctly. Get the dash height wrong and the dash lines that flow onward into the door elements wont line up. Get it wrong and the console tower wont bolt up to the dash shell in the right angles etc... It was a lot of monkeying around over several weeks but I eventually got the many parts to line up and learned how and where I could adjust them later. 

I had found my interior. Several issues cropped up.....this dash is far wider, front to back, than the Coronet dash, meaning that it stuck out into the cab further. Also the leading edge of this dash had a windshield curve much tighter than the broad 67 windshield. It did have a lot of extra space to trim off however so I did trim it to fit against the Coronet windshield without losing anything important.  It still was wide though, making placement of bucket seats move rearwards by 9" which put my foot 9" away from the gas pedal. I purchased power Volvo buckets though so moving the seat forward while driving solved that. Plus i'm tall and have long legs. The shift linkage is another issue as the stock hole where the shift shaft pokes up through the tunnel was now that same 9" away from the stock location. I sawed the connecting arm from the shift lever in half and added 9" to it's length. Now there was a ton of extra room under the dash to mount all of the stuff from on the firewall too. Bonus! I had to trim away some of the old dash/brake pedal mount to make room for the Audi steering system to fit in there but not enough to weaken it. Connecting the Audi steering shaft to the 67 gear was another problem. I used a Borgeson knuckle and two Flaming River shafts. Problem solved and the telescoping wheel still works as does the tilt function. The console mounting arrangement was solved easily with some careful measurements and application of fabricated brackets. The center pull E brake system was yet another mod to be handled. I bought some left side brake cables that were the right length to meet in the center and then fabricated a mount base to bolt up the handle and the trap for the ends. Works fine. 

The doors are a story by themselves. The Audi doors, as you will see in the photos, are weirdly angled and the cards are sculpted. The 67 doors are dead flat rectangles. Not a match. After trying everything I could it just wasn't working out. My pal Rick stopped by one day and looked the situation over before saying, " Well, why don't you just tear apart those door panels and remove the various elements and use them separately?"

I said, " Huh?" he explained that the separate pieces, like armrest base, cubby and upper section housing the handle. speaker and trim could be placed on the Coronet door card arranged however I wanted then. We looked the Audi cards over and saw how they were made, plastic melt process, and began tearing them apart. We ended up with a pile of parts and laid a door down and placed the pieces in different positions for awhile. I finally got a plan I was happy with and then rehung the door on the car and tried to mate up the upper section with the dash ends. No go. I would have to figure out how to get the piece to stand off from the door face at the correct angles, solved on the Audi door card by the sculpting in plastic, so that the dash lines would continue onto the door panel and align properly. This was solved by the use of expanding foam. I took the pieces and set plastic tube sections behind them to stand off from the door face the correct distance and angles, then sunk drywall screws down through the pieces and tubes to lock them in place. This would hold them in place against the force of the expanding foam and cause the foam to have to fill all cavities as it expanded. I should mention that the Audi front door upper elements were not long enough for the 67 door and I ended up splitting them and combining them with the rear door pieces to make one longer section for each 67 door. This process yielded  firmly mounted sections positioned correctly. I will cover them in vinyl later.

Having now aligned the doors with the dash lines I turned to door functions. The release handle was now way up in the opposite corner of the door from the actual latch. I spent a while peering into the door cavity to figure out a way to connect the two where it would operate reliably, smoothly & not interfere with the window or window crank. I finally built a rod that did all of that. Next up was laying out the rest of the pieces and figuring out how to fasten them to the door card and the door. Typically the door card fastens to the door panel via push in clips and then a heavy screw through the center near the pull handle to allow you to pull the heavy damn door shut without pulling the door card off of the panel. lol. Well, I had to design all of that now. I made cards out of hardboard panels and cut the slots for the clips all around from a template. Then began the process of figuring out how to fasten the armrest/pull handle to the card and then to the door later. Also how to mount the cubby across the bottom AFTER the door card is in place......lol. Fun stuff.

Also of concern was whether the cubby body would interfere with the window glass or stick out too far and impact the side of the bucket seat body when closing the doors.  They don't. The cards will be covered with a layer of 1/4" foam rubber, sculpted for effect and then padded vinyl. 'Pleather' really. So, here are some shots of all of that..

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 8:59 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Thanks! The 67 Coronets sold in Mexico all came with them. Weird.... It's an easy swap.

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 9:56 a.m.

Moving rearward the next item that I felt had to go was the back seat. EVERY 67 Coronet looks the same. Wasted space in my opinion. SO I looked around at what others had done and found a distinct lack of imagination happening around the country. I watched one of the car build shows where they ditched the back seat in favor of 'roadster' type panels much like a 59 Corvette where they come up between the buckets and continue from behind the seats to the rear glass. I studied my car and had an idea. I had just been looking at a 1967 Plymouth Sport Fury and remembered that it had this 'winged' rear seat topper made of formed plastic. The seats were faux buckets and this thing hugged them like a set of wings across the top. Perfect if it was wide enough. I asked fellow forum members to measure theirs and let me know. All B Bodies share the same platform so it should be right.

 It was right so I bought one and mocked it up behind the bucket seat tops. WOW It looked cool! That left the panels which were easy because the topper curves dictated the panel shapes and the center section of the topper dips down flat across 12" making a perfect trough down the center. Bingo/bongo and Bob's 'yer Uncle.

The battery box and spare tire will go under there as well as cleaning supplies etc for shows. The shift lever is fabricated as is the pistol grip handle. I made the handle out of a hunk of black walnut I had picked up out in my woods. I made the reverse lock out release from the guts of an Inland Shifter handle.


JeremyJ Reader
9/30/21 10:11 a.m.

That interior work is crazy. Way beyond anything I'd tackle myself. Nice work. 

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 10:17 a.m.
JeremyJ said:

That interior work is crazy. Way beyond anything I'd tackle myself. Nice work. 

Thanks! Me too but I figured, how hard can it be? Right? I have time, no hurry so It takes as long as it takes. My main thing is to make it look like it came that way. Blend in. Belong.

APEowner SuperDork
9/30/21 10:19 a.m.

Wow!  I'm digging this build and looking forward to watching it progress.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

golfduke Dork
9/30/21 10:24 a.m.

pretty so far!  That is some impressive interior imagination/fab work! 



MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
9/30/21 11:42 a.m.

Wow - swapping in a modern Audi interior into a '60s muscle car is truly unheard-of. Usually people who consider such things either stop at "the door panels don't fit" or bodge things in without actually getting all the parts lined up. Nicely done!

Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 12:11 p.m.
APEowner said:

Wow!  I'm digging this build and looking forward to watching it progress.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

Wow! Thank you, I am always interested in what others think about the Express.  There's lots more to see yet. Not even half way caught up...


Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 12:13 p.m.
golfduke said:

pretty so far!  That is some impressive interior imagination/fab work! 

Wow! Thanks!  My first time doing that sort of thing too. But I researched a lot and watched many videos of different things being created. Asked a lot of questions..lol.. None of it's brain surgery. I just had a outline in my head of what I wanted the finished car to look like. I hope that I haven't over done anything.




Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 12:18 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

Wow - swapping in a modern Audi interior into a '60s muscle car is truly unheard-of. Usually people who consider such things either stop at "the door panels don't fit" or bodge things in without actually getting all the parts lined up. Nicely done!

Ahh...comments from a fellow mad scientist! Great!  You're right, that's what usually happens and the project stops in it's tracks. I, on the other hand, have moderately severe TBI & PTSD from combat duty and have learned to be determined to persevere over my limitations. I don't have a reverse gear and don't back up, or give up. I'll finish this car to the best of my ability if it kills me.

It's been 7 years so far, and If I were whole it would have been done years ago.


Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 12:57 p.m.

Moving on towards the rear of the car there now had to be a barrier in between the cab and trunk. Here's why. There's a fuel cell in the trunk. More on that later. I made it out of sheet metal.

The next thing was the side scoops. I wonder why Ma Mopar put fake ones on there? Was it a test run for the later models with scoops sticking out? Anyway, I didn't like 'em. So I resolved to do something to change them. At about that time I saw the 2015 Riddler Award winner The Imposter Impala built by Chip Foose.

He had vents cut into the front fenders of that 65 Impala with perforated material behind them. Looked wicked. That gave me an idea. I sliced the indents along the edges with a thin kerf cut off wheel of death and slowly bent them inward to create a slope. I then cut out small hunks of sheet metal to form the surrounds of each opening and welded it all up. Lots of filler sessions later I had them formed just right  without much filler involved. Just lots of thin layers. Moving along I shaved off the fuel filler door. Pulled the filler neck out of the trunk side and closed off the resulting hole in the trunk floor. I bought a 17 gallon fuel cell with a single filler neck. I got a motorcycle pop up fuel cap that was a weld in type and placed it atop the quarter panel next to the front corner of the trunk lid. After a few weeks I noticed that it just didn't look right and realized that I needed a second one on the other side for symmetry. So I got another and installed it in the mirror position on the right. This meant that I needed another filler neck in the tank too. So I got one and installed that. I placed 8 1/2" long pipes through the trunk lid strut mounts at the correct angle for the hoses to line up and welded those in place. So, now there's a hose from cap bottom to pipe and pipe to fuel filler neck on the tank on each side. No worries at the gas station about which side to fill up on! The tank has A/N fittings and a roll over valve. The remainder of the trunk space is fitted with close out panels much like a modern sedan. I also cut out the spare tire well. That's another story....


Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 3:06 p.m.

The trunk lid has been put on gas filled lift rods. The rear wheel wells have been tubbed in to the frame rail and the leaf springs relocated under the frame rails via a Mancini Racing relocation kit. This gives me 15 3/4" inches of width for big tires. I recently bought a test rim 15"x 10" with 7 1/2" of backspacing. This leaves me 2 5/8" on either side for tire wall and clearance. It centered up perfectly. The tires have 13" tread width and are 29.50 tall. M/T Sportsman's. When I put rotors on the front I switched out the left hand threaded studs for RH threaded ones. The rear axle is an 8 3/4 MOPAR with new everything on each end.

The spare tire well story... This came about because one of the major mods I wanted from day one was to incorporate a 1970 Road Runner rear bumper onto the car so the exhaust could exit through the back up light mounting holes. Plus, it' was all part of the redesign of the rear face of the car. The vertical height of the RR bumper offset perfectly the space I would create with the T Bird light panel redesign, I mean it would create symmetry and not a narrow/wide look that didn't match up. Eye appeal don't you know...lol..The RR bumper outer edge profile, when viewed from behind the car, matched perfectly with the edges of the quarter panel tail extensions. The problem was that the bumper was too short. I sliced it in half and mounted the left half up in the spot I wanted to get a feel for how much needed to be added to the center of the bumper to have either end coincide perfectly with the tail extension upsweep profile. In addition the rear face of the car got an entire redesign to facilitate the inclusion of 1966 ThunderBird sequential tail lights across the back. Now, the OEM rear face of the 67 Coronet had a deep trunk rear lip that flowed over and down nearly to the bumper. Now the trunk lip would be up above the tail lights. I would have to do a mess of fabrication to make this a reality. Anyway, that's why the spare tire well had to go, to make room for exhaust pipes to exit those holes. Also to clean up the bottom of the car.


Ghostrider67 New Reader
9/30/21 3:14 p.m.

more pictures....

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