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Q&A with Kit Foster: September 8, 2011

Q. I bought an old emblem that has me stumped. The photo below shows the eight-inch, heavy cast emblem. I bought it in Indiana from a vendor from Ohio. He said he found one person who told him a Plymouth-De Soto dealer in Akron, Ohio, had ordered some Plymouths with a special De Soto gold exterior and interior around 1957 or ’58. They were all four-door sedans with continental kits on the back. I was able to find an old listing for the long-closed Greenwald Plymouth-De Soto dealership in Akron and actually found the granddaughter of the original owner. She was gracious, but couldn’t recall this arrangement. The emblem itself doesn’t appear to have been installed but the gold plating on “MARK 60” is somewhat worn. I hope some of your astute readers can identify the emblem.

Tom Truhlar, Fort Atkinson, Wis.

0908 7269A

A. The story certainly sounds plausible, particularly since the emblem looks like a specialty item made in small quantities, rather than one from a manufacturer’s production lines. Has anyone come across a “Mark 60” Plymouth in their travels?

Q. My 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire convertible’s turn signal lever seems broken. It’s floppy and doesn’t light the turn signal bulbs or the dashboard arrows. Any idea what parts I need and where to buy them? I don’t think drivers understand hand signals.

Mike Radonski, Milwaukee, Wis.

A. Something has obviously gone wrong with the switch. To get at it, you’ll have to remove the steering wheel, which will involve removing the horn ring or button and probably a suitable puller. Only then will you be able to tell what’s wrong and what parts you may need. Does anyone have experience with the turn signals on these cars? And you’re correct about hand signals. They’re no longer taught in school.

Q. Lonnie Stepp asked (June 30 “Q&A”) about putting a 700R4 transmission behind his 1956 Buick 322-cid engine. The folks to talk to are Bendtsen’s Transmission Center in Ham Lake, Minn. (763-767-4480). Their website is They can provide an adapter package for about $675. I suspect the open driveline conversion could be accomplished using the common and less expensive General Motors’ 8-1/2-inch, ten-bolt rear end. They are tough when properly built. I’m not sure what housing width is suitable for the Buick, but something from a GM intermediate might do the trick. A competent rear end shop can handle this.

Tim Middough, Maple Grove, Minn.

A. Thank you for that helpful information. I recall, though, that Mr. Stepp’s primary complaint was poor gas mileage. The cost of this conversion is going to take a long time to recover, considering the low miles that a typical collector car is driven annually.

Q. I own 1 of the 924 Dodge Coronet 500 convertibles built for 1970. I took delivery of this factory-ordered car, assembled in St. Louis, Mo., on June 27, ’70. The VIN is WP27G0G241907. The paint code is FY1, Top Banana Yellow. I’d like to know if there’s a way to find out which of the 924 Coronet convertibles is mine. I know it must have been about one of the last, because I ordered it with a black top, and on or about June 12, I was told the factory ran out of black and used white instead. Also, I’d like to know how many were this color combination. It does have the black interior. I saw one from Fort Wayne, Ind., that was promoted as being 1 of 67 in Plum Crazy. Would I find this information on the fender tag?

Gary Beck, Austin, Minn.

A. I doubt I can pinpoint it any more than you already have. Your VIN decodes as a 1970 Coronet “premium” line (500) convertible, with a two-barrel 318-cid V-8, built in St. Louis. The sequential serial, 241907, corresponds roughly to its place in all the cars built for ’70 in that plant (beginning at 100,001). The ’70 model year ran from Sept. 23, 1969, to some time in September 1970. According to the informative website, the St. Louis plant built Plymouth Belvederes and Dodge Coronets, Monacos and Chargers in ’70. Your car’s VIN is mixed in with all those models. I haven’t found a source for the number of cars built during the ’70 model year at that plant. A few weeks ago, we noted that the Chrysler Archives can supply build sheets for cars only as new as 1967. In general, when someone tells you he has one of a certain number of cars equipped a certain way, ask him how he knows. This kind of information is seldom available without scanning a year’s worth of build records.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail or mail to: Q&A, c/o Ron Kowalke, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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