The 1960 Dodge had Starship written all over it!

By: Bruce Kunz

December 3rd, 2017

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Old Car Column

The following story, from April 16, 2012, is being republished by reader request.

Many years ago, when I worked for CMC Stereo, our founder and CEO, Bryle Northup had an oft-used, favorite expression, “I gotta tell ya…” Well, if I may

borrow his words, “I gotta tell ya,” the 1960 Dodge Matador (and the nearly identical, flagship Polara) is one of my all-time favorite Finmobiles. But, as far as I’m concerned, the Dodge boys missed the mark when they came up with the model names. They should have dubbed this car the Enterprise, like the Star Trek space ship, because these things look like they’re going warp speed even when they’re sitting still! When it comes to fifties and sixties automotive icons, none are more recognized than the 1957 Chevrolet BelAir and the 1959 Cadillac. But you can go to any large vintage car show in St. Louis, or anywhere else in the nation for that matter, and you’ll more than likely see a half dozen or so ‘57 Chevys, and a ‘59 Cadillac or two. Tell me… how many 1960 Dodge Matadors or Polaras you’ve seen at these events? Exactly my point.

Call me crazy, (you might as well… my wife does all the time) but when I saw Everett and Holly Moore ease their Matador starship onto the landing pad at the 51st Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri’s Annual Concours d’Elegance Easter Car Show, my heart skipped a beat. I’m sure if you could have seen the expression on my face, it would have looked like someone who had just seen a UFO.

I have been intensely interested in cars since I could slide behind the wheel of a pedal car… and I can still recall my emotions, back in 1960, at the age of 14, every time that I saw a 1960 Dodge Matador or Polara coupe make a sweeping turn through an intersection or beam itself straight down the interstate. I was entranced!

What you see in this week’s feature car is a remarkable transformation from what Everett described as a $6,000.00 ‘rust bucket’ (that’s what he paid for the car 12 years ago) to a near perfect ‘amateur’ restoration. The term ‘amateur’ connotes a less-than-show-quality restoration… done in someone’s garage, not a professional repair shop. That said, you’d be hard pressed to find a better restoration anywhere than what we saw Easter Sunday at the Muny upper parking lot.

And Everett, a retired K.C.F.D. fireman, can lay claim to nearly 100 percent of the restoration, doing all of the body work (“You could put your arm through the rear fender”, Everett said of the car before he worked on it), the bright white paint (a close match to the original ‘Satin’ White from the 1960 chart), rebuilding of the engine, transmission and rear axle. He also did 20% of the interior restoration (and gorgeous it is). The other 80 percent was done by Bill Maury of Grandview, MO (now retired- don’t call him).

Everett certainly earned and deserved the ‘First in Class’ trophy which he received from the Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri at the 2012 Easter Concours! Here, here!!

Bruce Kunz, a.k.a. “THE FIN MAN,” is a member of the Society of Automobile Historians. If you love old cars and care about kids, visit thefinman.com.