Jim Keyes has had his 1967 Hemi Coronet R/T since it was new, even racing it in SS/DA with WO components back in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
He bought this Coronet R/T new at a Dodge dealer within a hardware store and implement company in a small, rural town in central Michigan.
Just 20 years old in late 1966, and working as a mechanic at a Mercury and Rambler dealership, Jim wanted to trade his 1965 Coronet in on something he could take to the strip.
He had his sights set on something in the Ford big-block family. "I went in and sat down with the owner of the dealership," Jim recalls. "I was going to buy a Comet 202, two-door sedan with a 427 in it. He wouldn't have any part of selling me the car. I think he was more of a six-cylinder Rambler American type of guy, and he didn't want anything to do with high performance."
Jim returned to Chesaning Hardware and Implement Co. to trade in the '65 on a new '67 R/T. "It was kind of a neat little dealership," he says. "The guy had a 1965 Dodge A990 that he was drag racing. In 1967, he bought a Dart, a flip-top Funny Car. It was kind of a performance-y type place."
"I knew that I wanted a Hemi because I wanted to drag-race Super Stock D automatic. So, I went up there and I ordered the car. He gave me a really good deal on it."
Other than the Hemi and a TorqueFlite automatic, Jim chose very few options on the car: "It came with an AM radio and a rear-seat speaker and that was it." With a good deal in hand, he took possession of his new R/T a few weeks later.
"I never will forget the first night when I went to pick up the car. The dealer called me to tell me my car was in. I was going to drive it home. Chesaning is quite a small, little town, so I drove it to the outskirts of town, stopped and just left it in drive. I matted the thing and ran it through the gears. I remember looking at the tach I had put in even before I picked it up, and the thing would shift into second right at 7,000 RPM from the factory. It was quite the car."
Now in Pure Stock form, Jim had laid down an 11.48 at the 2017 FAST drag races with 11.75 to one compression and 4.56 gears