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A Hemi in the house!

Not only does the Old Cars staff get questions about old car values on the phone all day, we sometimes get them from our co-workers. In our Iola, Wis., office, there are about 250 employees working on books and magazines, and not just in the car hobby. One of those co-workers, who I see every Tuesday when we send Old Cars Weekly to the printer, came up with a question about the value of her fiancée’s “old car.”

Apparently, my coworker’s fiancée inherited an old car from his cousin some years back and had been offered money for this car, even though it wasn’t for sale. I was expecting it to be a used car or, at best, a 1970s Chevelle or a 1957 Chevrolet. I was shocked when she told me it was a “Dodge Coronet with a 436.” Well, or course, my jaw dropped because I knew she probably meant it was a 426, which would make it a Hemi!

Another co-worker who’s a fellow gear head had seen pictures and confirmed the car was a Coronet R/T with a Hemi, but he had seen the pictures so long ago he could not remember if it was a 1967 or ’68. The car was portrayed as a good original with 55,000 miles, but I did not see it in person.

Apparently, the fiancée had been offered $80,000 for the car, and she wanted to know if it was worth selling. I, of course, told her not to sell it, but we looked at some prices as a point of comparison. Here’s what I found for 1967 and 1968 Hemi Dodges:

1967 Hemi Coronet R/T selling prices:
1. $200,000 - Four-speed car, Old Cars Price Guide No. 1 condition, Feb. 2007 RM Auctions sale
2. $75,000 – Automatic car, Old Cars Price Guide No. 2 condition, Jan. 2007 Barrett-Jackson sale
3. $87,000 – Four-speed car, Old Cars Price Guide No. 2 condition, modified, Fall Kruse 2006 sale
4. $85,000 - Automatic car, Old Cars Price Guide No. 2 condition, Fall Kruse 2005 sale.

1968 Dodge Hemi cars
Note: Coronet R/T’s with Hemi engines were few and far between in the database. With the hot new Charger, it’s my assumption most Hemi buyers went for the Charger, rather than the Coronet R/T. Since selling prices were rare, I threw in a few Coronet Super Bee and Dodge Charger R/T prices.

1. $102,500 – Automatic Super Bee, Old Cars Price Guide No. 1 condition, Mecum High-Performance auction Oct 2006
2. $40,250, four-speed Coronet R/T hardtop, Old Cars Price Guide No. 2 condition, Mecum Kansas City 2002 sale
3. $117,500 – Automatic Charger R/T, Old Cars Price Guide No. 2 condition, Barrett-Jackson 2007 sale.

Old Cars Price Guide does not offer values for Hemi cars at the moment and labels them as “inestimable.” And you can clearly see why: values are all over the map, and comparing cars becomes almost impossible. It does appear that people are willing to spend the extra money on four-speed cars, which is not surprising.

Do I think $80,000 is a good offer for the Hemi Coronet R/T owned by my co-worker’s fiancée? If it’s a 1967, that sounds like a fair price. If it’s a 1968, I think it’s a little low considering most people consider 1968 Coronets more desirable than 1967 models. I hope my coworker and her fiancée hang on to their prize and enjoy it for a few years before selling it.

Those of you who read Old Cars Weekly and this blog probably remember the one-of-tree 1956 Imperial convertible rusting away in my coworker’s backyard. Upon learning there is a hidden Hemi car also parked in my coworker’s garage, I’m beginning to wonder what other treasures are tucked among the trees of the isolated Iola community! Hopefully, we'll get some pictures of the car that I can share in the future.

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