Dave KindigTransformed this 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T into a Bitchin’ Ride
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/dave-ki ... chin-ride/
More Photos: http://www.thehemi.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=16392Looking for the ultimate custom Mopar, Vinnie Massaro had Dave Kindig transform his 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T into a bitchin’ ride
If you are into cars and haven’t heard of Dave Kindig and his show Bitchin’ Rides on the Motor Trend Network, then you must live under a rock. The show has been on TV for a number of years and has been a favorite with gearheads for a good reason. The cars that roll out of his shop are as the title implies: bitchin’! That cannot be said for all shops that have a show on TV.
When we visited, it was emphatically pointed out that, first and foremost, Kindig-it Design is a business whose top priority is doing high-quality builds for their customers. They just happen to have a TV show too. That mind-set is evident when you see the astounding craftsmanship in every vehicle that rolls out of the shop. Kindig’s dedication to his customer base and the quality of the work are what has allowed him to now pick and choose which projects he wants to take in. If you cut a deal with him on a build, the waiting list is a few years out. It is a bitchin’ “problem” for any business to have.
Customer satisfaction is what brought Vinnie Massaro back to Kindig-it Design for an over-the-top build. He had work done at the shop previously on a 2013 Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSSR Challenger and was so satisfied that there was no doubt in his mind as to who he would get to tackle his next car.
When we spoke to Vinnie, he cut to the chase by pointing out that he is a hardcore Mopar guy. This raised the question: Why choose a ’67 Coronet? We were expecting to hear how that was his first car, or perhaps it was just his favorite. We were somewhat surprised by his decision to have the boxy B-body customized, and even more so by his motivation, which was a departure from the mind-set of most car owners.
He told us, “Everyone does a ’Cuda, Challenger, or Charger. I wanted to give Dave something that wasn’t that mainstream to begin with. It’s not that I had some love affair with the Coronet, but I told him when he did it, you have to dig deep into everything that you do because I want people to look at the car and say, ‘What the hell is this?’ And then be able to walk around it and pick up all the stuff that was done to it. I am a Mopar guy, so anything that would be done to it I would not be particularly upset with, but I wanted to test Dave’s limits to see what he could do with a car that most people think of as a brick.”
Vinnie had some very simple criteria that he was looking for on his build. He wanted it to be Hemi powered, have a manual gearbox, have some big skins at the back, and be blue. Beyond that, Dave Kindig was free to do what he does best.
Doing his thing meant that a donor car was needed. Finding a suitable candidate was the first hurdle they faced because old Mopars rust, and starting with a rusty pile would impact the budget at the onset. Purists might want to skip the next sentence. The car they settled on was an actual numbers-matching ’67 Coronet R/T with a four-speed. It was in really nice condition and the perfect starting point. Taking Vinnie’s basic criteria, Dave set pen to paper and came up with a rendering of what he envisioned would bring the Coronet into this century. He wanted to take some styling cues from the current Challenger Hellcat and incorporate them with what he planned to change on the car—and fix a few things he felt the factory got wrong with the design.
Once the donor car rolled into the shop, it was quickly disassembled and sent off for an acid dip. Their hunch paid off because when they got the bare body back, it proved to be as solid as they hoped. From there the cutting saws came out. The complete underside was eliminated and the remaining structure dropped onto an Art Morrison frame. This setup was a plug-and-play option that borrows heavily from the Corvette C6 suspension parts bin at the front, and was ready to go at the back to accommodate the over-the-top tires. After some careful measurements, alignment, and trimming, the remaining body and new frame were welded together, which again made the car a unibody design.
Once they were able to get the Coronet to the roller stage, Dave had his crew start on the next stage of the build: the roof chop. This was the one area of the original design that he didn’t like because the roof sloped to the rear.
Dave explains, “I stared at that car for a long time, and that heading up hill was just messing with me. That chop fixed my problem.”
His goal was to level the roof by doing a pie cut at the lower part of the C-pillar, which would then allow the existing front windshield frame to be cut and angled back, while keeping the stock front and rear glass and only requiring new side glass to be made. This was a tedious task for his guys to pull off because there were many ways to get it wrong but only one way to get it right. The result is subtle and only noticeable if a stock Coronet is placed next to it.
Not as subtle was the plan for the front clip. The challenge that Dave faced was to infuse enough modern elements and custom features to set the car apart. Starting with the existing R/T hood, his vision was to invert the original design. This served a dual purpose. First, it added a custom feature. Second, it also allowed enough underhood clearance for the large scoop coming from the blower.
Crafting this component of the build was handed off to fabricator Chris Elmer. His starting point was a foam buck that he used to define the shape and contours on the raised section of the hood. Also on his plate was the factory underside bracing that needed to be modified, and the fabrication of an opening to accommodate a 3D-printed hoodscoop. Just like the roof chop, this was an equally slow and labor-intensive process that required a great deal of skill. The result was clearly a ’67 R/T–flavored piece of metal that looked right at home.
As with the hood, the lower front of the car was also reworked, yet this work drew inspiration from the current Challenger. The heavy chrome bumper was ditched in favor of a slimmer piece that only hinted at some chrome, while the lower front valance, which was shaped from a number of custom bent pieces and stitched into one unit, was shaped over a wire mesh assembly as a guide.
Perhaps the most ambitious and innovative aspect of this build to set it apart from the herd was Dave’s vision for the headlights: There wouldn’t be any! That piece of magic was entrusted to the in-house engineer, Will Lockwood. Dave’s idea was to create a single thin LED light bar insert that would function as both high and low beam. In low-beam mode, the outer edges would light up, while in high-beam the full light bar would be lit up. The other key element of this assembly was the grille, which was fabricated from a solid piece of billet aluminum. That task was handed off to California-based EVOD Industries. This particular element was also designed to hold the LED turn signal assemblies and, once mounted on the Coronet, actually added a Charger flavor to the car.
The rear of the Coronet underwent a fair amount of transforming. Stylistically it followed the design philosophy that was executed on the front end. Part of that included a full rear-mounted roll pan and the deletion of the stock rear bumper in favor of a smaller thin chrome unit. Also replaced were both white metal quarter extensions. Crafted from numerous pieces of sheet steel, the replacement pieces were welded in place to eliminate the quarter seams at the rear edge, and also to accommodate the new rear taillight assembly. That aspect of the build was a carryover of the front billet grille theme. EVOD did the same stylistic treatment by milling a visually similar billet light bar assembly. Again using LED technology, the rear driving light would run the full length of the rear trunk lid section, with sequential turn signals at both outer edges, and for the braking application the entire unit would light up.
Integrated into the rear pan was also a set of exhaust tips. Designed and assembled by the guys at the shop, these add a modern design touch that was also inspired by the current Challenger.
Also on the list was the removal of the door handles. For that application, a set of Kindig-it Design patented Square Style Chrome Smooth Door Handles was installed. The handles have become a Kindig-it Design signature item. A quarter-panel flush-mounted gas cap rounded out the body modifications.
After all the metal work was done, paint application was the next step. Vinnie wanted the car to be blue and was particularly enamored with a shade of blue that he saw on a Ferrari. Dave reached deep into his bag of tricks. Utilizing his partnership with the folks at AkzoNobel Vehicle Refinishes, he created one of his Modern Classikk one-off colors called Deep Veridian to truly set the Coronet apart. In the application process, five coats of color and six coats of clear were laid down to achieve the desired look.
After the body was sealed in its new skin, it was handed over to JS Custom Interiors for the next contribution to the build. As with the exterior, Dave had a clear idea of what he was looking for in the interior. That involved taking many of the styling elements found on the original interior and putting a tastefully mild twist on them.
Let’s start with the dashboard. 3D-printed by the folks at Stratasys in Minnesota, it retains the retro feel but houses a cluster of one-off Dakota Digital gauges and Vintage Air controls. It was painted and also partially wrapped in a shade of leather called Dolphin, which was also used on the one-piece headliner. An Iditit steering column and a leather-wrapped Billet Specialties Formula D shaped steering wheel were also fitted in place. The stock theme continued with the front seats. Using the original set that came with the car, JS modified them and also wrapped them in leather. One major deviation was the rear seating arrangement. As a result of the massive wheel tubs, the Coronet was given a rear seat delete, making it a two-seater. They also created a custom-built leather wrapped console that neatly houses the in-house designed shifter and most of the controls for the interior. All the remaining surfaces were either painted or covered in Dolphin leather, while the carpet (a Mercedes velour called Ash) finished off the tasteful interior.
Of the few requests that Vinnie had on the build, under the hood he wanted it kept clean. Anything and everything that could be hidden needed to be hidden. That was accomplished with the fabrication of a smooth firewall and inner fender covers. In between those was a real-deal, modern Hemi. Going in, the plan was to buy a low-mileage mill from a wrecked Hellcat and use it as the powerplant. That didn’t quite work out, so the next step was to start with a fresh Hellcat long-block and drop a Whipple 2.9L twin-screw supercharger on top. Part of that blower installation also involved the fabrication of a custom scoop, with both sprayed in Deep Veridian, while the rest of the block was painted the same Dolphin color as the interior. Beyond the Whipple, there wasn’t much deviation from a stock Hellcat assembly, except for the addition of a set of valve covers from The Crank Shop, and pulleys custom built by Kindig-it Design.
On the dyno the Hemi produced a healthy 770 horses and 750 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm. A Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed was the bridge to deliver those ponies to the Strange Engineering 9-inch, and fulfilled Vinnie’s request for a manual gearbox, while the exhaust recipe consisted of a set of 1 7/8-inch headers from Ultimate Headers mated to a pair of custom 3-inch stainless pipes, and Borla crate mufflers. For the full-on exhaust sound experience, the flip of a switch opens up the Zoomie exhaust cutouts.
The last key element, one that was a “make it or break it” deal, was the choice of rolling stock. From the outset, much of the car was planned around using big skins at the rear. Early in the fabrication process, the 24×15 rear and 20×8.5 front wheel sizes had already been etched in stone. Much like the various one-off pieces on the car, these wheels were custom designed by Dave and machined by Billet Specialties. Pirelli PZero tires were also chosen early on as the rubber of choice: 405/25R24s for the rear and 235/35R20s up front. While the rubber is decidedly modern, Dave had the guys at Tredwear redline all four tires for that retro late-’60s look.
Back when Vinnie embarked on this project, he’d given Dave some basic requests for what he was looking for, but left everything else up to his discretion, to the point that he didn’t want to see the car until it was finished. Not all car owners dropping serious coin for a custom build are as trusting, but to Vinnie’s credit, he had full confidence in what Kindig-it Design would be able to pull together. He recalls, “It was just stunning. Seeing it in person was just incredible, and the reaction I had when I first saw it was what I was hoping for.”
1967 Dodge Coronet
Car Owner: Vinnie Massaro, Boston, MA
Type: Gen 3 6.2L Hemi
Bore x Stroke (in.): 4.09 x 3.58
Rotating Assembly: Forged steel crank, forged connecting rods
Cylinder Heads: Gen 3 aluminum heads, 54.3mm stainless intake valves, 42mm exhaust valves
Pistons: Forged aluminum
Induction: Whipple 2.9L supercharger running 10 pounds of boost, Holley Dominator fuel injection, Whipple 102mm throttle body, Whipple injectors, air-to-water intercooler, K&N cone air cleaner, Vaporworks fuel pump (vaporworx.com)
Exhaust: Ultimate Headers 1 7/8-inch headers, custom stainless 3-inch pipes, Borla Crate mufflers, custom-built exhaust tips, Zoomie exhaust cutouts with One-Touch module
Ignition: Holley Dominator ECU, stock crank trigger, Holley coil, custom Taylor Cable plug wires, NGK spark plugs
Cooling: Ron Davis custom-made aluminum radiator with dual electric fans
Fuel Tank: Rick’s Tanks 16-gallon stainless fuel tank
Transmission: Tremec T56 Magnum, QuickTime bellhousing,
Clutch Disk: RX1000 Solid Hub twin disk
Pressure Plate: RAM Competition
Shifter: Kindig-it Design custom built
Driveshaft: QA1 carbon fiber
Rearend: Strange Engineering 9-inch
Ring-and-Pinion: Strange Engineering 3.55:1
Axles: Strange Engineering 31-spline
Frame: Art Morrison custom Max G Sport steel frame, 118-inch wheelbase
Track: 71 inches front, 75 inches rear
Front Suspension: Art Morrison, based on a C6 Corvette; C6 Corvette front spindles; JRi 450 rate 2.5×9 springs; JRi shocks; 1.25-inch sway bar; polyurethane bushings
Rear Suspension: Art Morrison 4-link with a Panhard bar, JRi 2.5×9 220 rate springs, JRi shocks, 3/4-inch sway bar, Johnny Joints polyurethane bushings
Steering: Detroit Speed rack-and-pinion
Front brakes: Wilwood 6-piston calipers and 12-inch rotors
Rear brakes: Wilwood 4-piston calipers and 12-inch rotors with internal E-brake
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 20×8.5 Kindig-it Design Rally style wheels by Billet Specialties in front; 24×15 Kindig-it Design Rally style wheels by Billet Specialties in rear
Tires: Pirelli PZero 235/35R20 redlined by Tredwear in front; Pirelli PZero 405/25R24 redlined by Tredwear in rear
Sheetmetal: 1967 Coronet RT (modified)
Modifications: Unibody cutout and fitted to an Art Morrison chassis, channeled and custom-built floor and tubs, modified stock steel hood with 3D-printed scoop, one-off lower valance, custom rear roll pan, stretched rear wheel openings, custom-built full belly pans, Kindig-it Design patented Square Chrome Smooth Door Handles, custom gas cap flush-mounted into quarter-panel, 1 1/2-inch front chop, front window laid back 2 degrees, LED surround headlight, LED front sequential signal markers, EVOD Industries CNC-machined 3-piece taillight grille housing a full-width LED light and sequential turn signals and marker lights fitted into CNC’d and chromed housings, silvered bumper, 1-piece front glass, 1-piece custom windshield trim, 3D-printed windshield flange, custom-built and chrome-plated roof rail trim, sculpted engine bay and firewall, constant radius hood hinges, Corvette hood latches
Dashboard: Custom designed by Kindig-it Design and 3D printed by Stratasys, wrapped in leather.
Instrumentation: Custom one-off Dakota Digital gauges
Wiring: American Autowire builder 19 kit; wiring performed by Kindig-it Design
Steering Wheel: Billet Specialties Formula D 14-inch wheel double-wrapped in leather
Seats: Stock modified front, rear seat delete
Headliner Material: One-piece leather headliner (Dolphin)
Upholstery Material: Leather (Dolphin)
Carpet Material: Mercedes velour (called Ash)
Steering: Ididit tilt steering column
Upholstered By: JS Custom Interiors, Salt Lake City, UT
Air Conditioning: Vintage Air
Wow, this is a really clean Dodge Coronet! Hellcat swaps are getting pretty common!
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