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posted: 6/9/2014 5:15 AM

Reliability is a given for owners of 1950 Dodge

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  • 1950 Dodge Coronet

      1950 Dodge Coronet
    Photos Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

  • The original sticker price of the 1950 Coronet was around $2,100.

      The original sticker price of the 1950 Coronet was around $2,100.

  • Under hood, the Coronet has a flathead six-cylinder, 103 horsepower engine. "Not a screaming engine but solid and reliable," John said.

      Under hood, the Coronet has a flathead six-cylinder, 103 horsepower engine. "Not a screaming engine but solid and reliable," John said.

  • The car left the factory painted in Saint Denis Grey. During an overhaul, it was changed to Nassau Beige, another 1950 original Dodge color.

      The car left the factory painted in Saint Denis Grey. During an overhaul, it was changed to Nassau Beige, another 1950 original Dodge color.

  • The car left the factory painted in Saint Denis Grey. During an overhaul, it was changed to Nassau Beige, another 1950 original Dodge color.

      The car left the factory painted in Saint Denis Grey. During an overhaul, it was changed to Nassau Beige, another 1950 original Dodge color.

  • John and Barb Weiser of Elmhurst both grew up in families that drove the 1950 Dodge.

      John and Barb Weiser of Elmhurst both grew up in families that drove the 1950 Dodge.

 
 

It's an intimidating thought to embark on a long road trip in a vintage vehicle. That fear is the furthest thing from the minds of John and Barb Weiser.

The Weisers both have a proven track record with their 1950 Dodge Coronet.

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The Elmhurst residents saw the model perform well in all conditions -- decades ago. They both grew up in households that owned and relied on this stodgy sedan.

"My parents bought one used in Inverness in the early 1950s," Barb said. "As a young girl, my family would always pile in the Dodge every November."

Each Thanksgiving, her family would motor over to Iowa from the Chicago suburbs. "For us, it was nothing to take a long trip in it."

As Barb approached 16, her father made a devastating move. "I was learning to drive and my dad got rid of it," she said. A 1957 Dodge replaced the Coronet, but the newer model didn't appease the distraught teenager. "I was so upset. I had grown to love the '50!"

By contrast, John did get to take his parent's black 1950 Dodge down to the local driver's license facility for his test. His family had inherited the vehicle from John's grandfather.

Other fond memories for the auto enthusiast include piloting the Dodge in his 1956 homecoming parade and going to the local A&W root beer stand in Elmhurst. The Coronet wasn't the only '50 Dodge in his family; his mother drove a gray one.

"Both of our families were die-hard Chrysler people," John said. "We only drove Plymouth or Dodges."

That brand loyalty persisted in both Barb and John. Soon after getting married they joined the local chapter of the Walter P. Chrysler Club. The years ticked by, bringing many other four-wheeled Pentastars through the couple's garage. Despite the variety, they both longed to return to that special Dodge model.

The couple bought their Coronet in 1983 from another club member. After leaving a Detroit factory, the four-door sedan was sold at Esserman Motor Sales in Chicago. It wasn't ordered with many options, but does have a windshield visor and heater.

Over the next three decades, the Midwest took its toll. When the Weisers purchased it, the car looked attractive but things weren't well under hood.

"The vehicle had just undergone an extensive restoration," John said. The car came from the factory in Saint Denis Grey, the same as John's mother's car. During the overhaul the decision was made to paint it in Nassau Beige, another 1950 original color.

"Within two months of getting it, we had the engine rebuilt," Barb said. "It hadn't been done right previously. From top to bottom, everything was gone through."

Thankfully, the rest of the Dodge was up to snuff. "Over the years, we've just addressed minor cosmetic issues."

With years of reliability proven to both of them during their upbringing, the couple has no qualms about taking this Dodge out on the open highway. Barb and John have driven to places like Minneapolis; Elmira, New York; and Detroit on more than once occasion. Not all trips are long haul. Their Coronet performs admirably in local runs.

"I'd pick up our daughters from elementary school. The kids always got a kick out of seeing the old car pull up front," Barb said.

Whether near or far, the Weisers know their Dodge is up to the task.

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