1961 Dodge Phoenix: Reader ride

By: Dave Roberts, Photography by: Dave Roberts

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Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix
Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix
Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix
Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix

Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix...

1961 Dodge Phoenix: Reader ride
Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix

 

Dave Roberts' 1961 Dodge Phoenix

I’ve always had old cars. My first car was a ’66 Vauxhall Viva, then a ZA Fairlane I used to drive to school when I was 17. I picked up a Valiant Safari wagon at the Gold Coast through an abandoned car auction once, too. I’ve had a Monaro, three Chargers and a couple of Escorts. Now, I’ve got this ’61 Phoenix.

I was in the market for a ’59 Chev because of the wings. I loved those back wings from the boot. I was looking at absolute buckets of rust for five to ten thousand. I’m being serious. I’m talking submerged vehicles that were absolutely useless, but you’d still be paying five or ten thousand because it’s a Chev.

Did I mention I was really hooked on the wings? It had to have wings and it had to be something different. So I’m reading Unique Cars one day and, sure enough, there was the old girl. It was in Sydney, and a young guy had bought it, wanting to hot it up but he got married and had kids so it sat there for years. It virtually had chickens living in it but I still thought, "Yeah, I gotta have it."

I knew the Phoenix was something unique, but the drawcard for me was that I didn’t have to go searching the four corners of the globe to find parts for it. Not much of the car was missing when I bought it, just a few very minor parts. The paint has been redone in a modern grey, the dash has been painted and the seats and carpet were re-upholstered.

The motor and gearbox needed some TLC, but the brakes were the real hassle. Chryslers are a nightmare for brakes and I’ve spent thousands on them.

Originally there were drums all around, but I picked up a disc kit for the front. The drums at the back were still locking up until I was told that I’d need to change the rear pistons since I’d changed the front brakes to discs.

It lives next to my ’83 Jag XJ-S with electrics from ‘The Prince of Darkness’ at Lucas Industries. My Dodge Phoenix is a big, comfortable cruiser and I’ve never had any trouble with the electrics. The Jag? That’s a whole different story!

 

 

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