1956 Dodge Hot Rod Build


1956 Dodge coupe hot rod project

1956 Dodge Red Ram Poly 270

I decided to document work I’m doing on our 1956 Dodge coupe. I have performed a lot of custom modifications from chassis to electrical and have written them into tech articles; you may use the top accordion menu to find all the different pages associated with this build.

I picked up the car in Kansas and got it running to where it was reliably driveable around town so we could enjoy it for a summer before tearing into the build. It had the factory Dodge 270 hemi-block poly Red Ram engine and iron PowerFlite pushbutton transmission, and after multiple runs and tuning, the best elapsed time I got out of it in the 1/4 mile was 23.63 seconds, 61.57 MPH trap speed, with a .509 reaction time on a .50 tree. Keep in mind that Bandimere Speedway is at a nasty 5,800′ elevation, so compression and therefore power is robbed by about 17.5% over sea level. While this impact on ET isn’t linear, with proper jetting and tuning at sea level I would expect the ET to be closer to 20 seconds. Way too slow for me, but somewhat respectable for a 1956 Dodge coupe with 97,000 miles on the engine and drivetrain.

I removed and sold off the 270 poly and PowerFlite transmission, which I’m replacing with an A-block 390 strocker and 1964 TorqueFlight 727 push-button transmission I’m building. For suspension, I lopped off the kingpin front clip and installed a 1996 Dodge Dakota clip to take advantage of modern ball-joint design, rack-and-pinion steering, stout sway bar, disc brakes, and easily obtainable and affordable parts for decades to come. To plant the power, I installed a 2001 Ford Explorer 8.8″ rear end with factory 3.73:1 posi gears, disc brakes, and emergency brake setup.

Eventually, I’ll be going through the entire car including rewiring, body work and paint, and upholstery, but one can do only so much in the evenings and on weekends outside of my career. As I complete projects piecemeal, I’ll add technical article for those interested and for fellow 1955 – 1956 Dodge, Plymouth, and other Forward Look hot rodders who may be looking for information on processes.