Dodge Polara 1964: Redefining Classic Muscle

Dodge Polara 1964: Redefining Classic Muscle

As long as you’re not trying to parallel park this thing, it’s actually pretty good. When I was a kid, this was stock car racing. Welcome to that episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. The car featuring today: 1964 Dodge Polara Street Wedge 426 with the four-speed. This is not a Hemi; it’s a 426 Wedge engine. This is the one that came before the Hemi.

The History of the 1964 Dodge Polara

You know, it’s funny, whenever they talk about the muscle car era, they all start in 1964 with the GTO, and they go to about 1970. Those are sort of the premium years. But there was a lot happening before 1964. The Ram Charger, certainly from Dodge, this is a really fast car. The Aston Martin DB5 was the performance car of the early ’60s that would go zero up to a hundred, slam on the brakes, and stop in about 27 seconds, something like that.

The Engine: 426 Wedge vs. Hemi

The 1964 Dodge Polara is a muscle car that commands attention. It boasts a slightly larger size compared to the GTO and other mid-sized cars of its time, but what it may lack in compactness, it more than makes up for with its impressive horsepower. As a young child, I would often immerse myself in reading about these magnificent vehicles. One particular feature that fascinated me was its four-speed transmission, which was a rarity to come across.

In the region I grew up in, Massachusetts, it was common to see people either opting for the automatic version of the Dodge Polara or choosing the model equipped with the powerful 383 engine. This engine became the standard powerhouse for the vehicle, providing substantial performance. Additionally, there were other engine options available, such as the 318 and a few others, catering to a range of preferences.

Despite the variations in engine choices, I always found the Dodge Polara to be an exceptionally handsome car. Its design exuded a captivating allure that caught my eye every time I encountered one on the streets. The combination of its muscular stance, sleek lines, and striking presence made it a true standout among its contemporaries. The Dodge Polara truly left a lasting impression on me.

The Design and Features of the 1964 Dodge Polara

This is original paint, except for the roof. When I got it, the roof was silver. It was jacked up, had American mags on it. Here’s a picture of it. I’m only the third owner of this car, and I think this was only driven a quarter mile at a time. The guy was a pretty ardent racer who had this. I even like the period decals or transfers, I wouldn’t call them, on here. There’s an old one from the ’60s, notice the full bathing suit, of course, and genuine Mopar parts. This is what performance cars looked like when I was a kid, the big, giant wide tires we see now were not available, but this was considered a big tire.

I brought it down to standard height. We put Wilwood disc brakes all the way around to make it stop. I’m not trying to do a proper restoration on it; I just want to make it a fun street car. It’s got a 323 rear end in it, which is not a high-performance rear end but it’s a good combination for the street. This car was built for the drag strip, but I wanted to make it more enjoyable for regular street driving.

Modifications for Street Use

To make the 1964 Dodge Polara more street-friendly, I made a few modifications. As I mentioned earlier, I added Wilwood disc brakes to improve the stopping power. This is essential for safety, especially when driving in modern traffic conditions. I also lowered the car to its standard height to improve handling and stability.

Additionally, I made some changes to the engine to enhance its performance. The original 426 Wedge engine was already powerful, but I wanted a bit more from it. I installed a dual exhaust system and upgraded the intake manifold and carburetor to improve airflow and increase horsepower. These modifications give the car a more aggressive sound and improved throttle response.


Step inside the 1964 Dodge Polara, and you’ll be greeted by a spacious and comfortable cabin that reflects the car’s status as a true classic. The interior is tastefully designed, featuring a combination of premium materials and thoughtful details. From the plush seating upholstered in high-quality fabric to the carefully crafted dashboard, every element contributes to a luxurious and inviting atmosphere.

One notable aspect of the Dodge Polara’s interior is its attention to driver convenience. The placement of the controls and gauges is intuitive, allowing for easy access and optimal visibility. The steering wheel, adorned with a polished emblem, provides a firm grip and enhances the driving experience. Additionally, the strategically positioned center console offers convenient storage space for personal belongings and adds a touch of elegance to the overall design.

Comfort and convenience go hand in hand within the Dodge Polara’s interior. The car offers ample legroom and headroom for both the driver and passengers, ensuring a relaxed and enjoyable ride. The adjustable seats allow for personalized positioning, allowing occupants to find their ideal seating posture. Moreover, the car is equipped with modern amenities for its time, including an advanced sound system that fills the cabin with rich, immersive music.

The attention to detail in the Dodge Polara’s interior extends to its fine craftsmanship. The meticulous stitching on the seats, the polished trim accents, and the tasteful use of chrome create an atmosphere of refinement. The overall layout and design create a harmonious blend of comfort, style, and functionality, making the interior of the 1964 Dodge Polara a place where every journey becomes a pleasurable experience.

Comparisons to Other Muscle Cars of the Era

During the 1960s, the competition among American automakers was fierce in the muscle car segment. The 1964 Dodge Polara competed against notable rivals such as the Ford Galaxie, Chevrolet Impala, and Pontiac GTO.

Compared to its competitors, the Polara offered a unique blend of style, power, and performance. Its distinctive design, highlighted by the sleek lines and aggressive stance, set it apart from the crowd. The 426 Wedge engine provided impressive horsepower and torque, making the Polara a force to be reckoned with on the drag strip.

However, each car had its strengths and weaknesses, and the choice often came down to personal preference. Some preferred the raw power of the GTO, while others favored the refined styling of the Galaxie. Ultimately, the 1964 Dodge Polara has its place in automotive history as a formidable contender in the muscle car arena.


The 1964 Dodge Polara is a classic muscle car that embodies the spirit of American automotive performance. With its powerful 426 Wedge engine, sleek design, and exhilarating driving experience, it continues to captivate car enthusiasts to this day. Whether on the drag strip or cruising down the street, the Polara commands attention and delivers an unforgettable journey through time.

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