I’m always fascinated by technical errors in plastic model kits and the 1/25 scale AMT ’65 Dodge Coronet is one of my favorite case studies. You see, sometimes what initially appears to be a glaring inaccuracy actually turns out to be correct, or at least semi-correct if you do a little research.
Take a look at the box art. It features a great full color illustration of the Ramchargers candy striped Dodge blasting off the line. In the background is Roger Lindamood’s blue and white Color Me Gone Dodge – in the lead! Great stuff but the illustration seems to be flawed by the fact that both cars are Coronet 500 Hardtops – with their wrap around rear windows and deltoid B-pillars. We all know that 1965 Dodge (and Plymouth) A990 Hemi Super Stockers were based on the Sedan body with its square roof line, flat rear window and full door frames. Another apparent blooper is the cars on the box have standard wheelbases, not the crazy altered wheelbase treatment you expect from a car wearing the Ramchargers or Color Me Gone name.
All of this begs the conclusion that the AMT box art illustration is wrong and depicts cars that never existed in real life. Boo hiss, right? Not so fast. You have to remember that when Chrysler showed the radical altered wheelbase package to the NHRA in late December 1964 – mere weeks before the 1965 Winternationals at Pomona, it was immediately rejected even though as many as eight of the cars had already been completed.
The NHRA said the full-bore altered wheelbase cars would be legal for competition only in the Altered classes, but they were strictly no-go for Factory Experimental – and a double no-go with a cherry on top for any of the Stock or Super Stock classes. Wally and the guys were getting fed up with the escalating rule bending from Detroit and sought to put a lid on things – even in the heady realm of Factory Experimental. On the other hand, the more progressive AHRA accepted the altered wheelbase Mopars with open arms and their Phoenix debut at the 1965 AHRA Winternationals at Bee-Line Dragway is the stuff of legend. The Funny Car was born that weekend.
Getting back to the cars depicted on the AMT ’65 Coronet model kit box art, what is often forgotten is that Chrysler didn’t take the NHRA’s Pomona rejection lightly. They whipped up a fleet of four acid-dipped - yet NHRA legal - Race Hemi Hardtops for the sole purpose of running against Ford’s new 427 SOHC Mustangs and Comets in the high profile A/Factory Experimental class. The Mopar fleet consisted of the Melrose Missile and Golden Commandos Plymouths and the Dodges of the Ramchargers and Roger Lindamood’s Color Me Gone.