1961 Dodge Phoenix: Reader ride

By: Stephen Paddon

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It's a family affair for Stephen Paddon and his 1961 Dodge Phoenix

 

Stephen Paddon's 1961 Dodge Phoenix

It’s a 1961 Dodge Phoenix, locally made, with the 318 V8 and pushbutton three-speed auto. My grandfather bought it new in 1961 and it’s been with the family ever since. He drove it until he passed away in the mid eighties and then it went into storage.

Around October last year I got sick of it taking up room in the garage and a good friend of mine finally convinced me to do something with it. He said it’s a waste just sitting there.

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I took it to Carls American garage in Langwarrin, who breathed some life into it. Believe it or not it fired up second go! The only thing we’ve done with it is anything rubber or perishable has been replaced.

After that we just gave the engine bay a tidy up and a new battery. Now the fun starts.

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I’ve probably done about 3500 miles in it since we got it going about three months ago. There’s a little bit of rust near the driver side door seal, but it’s in reasonable nick for something that’s been sitting for so long.

I haven’t started on the body, so what you see is what’s left after the dust has been moved off.

Credit to my grandfather, he looked after it well. He did a lot of miles in it because of the type of work he did, but I understand it’s had no major engine work done to it. Even the person who went over it for me said you could tell it had been well looked after.

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It made my Mum pretty happy when she saw it going again.

Surprisingly it’s very nice to drive. It’s got the torsion bar suspension – for a car that age it just floats along. It’s a beautiful thing to be in, and my daughter loves it. It’s a fairly rare shape and turns a lot of heads wherever you go.

 

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