Boyd Coddington Max Hemi
Boyd Coddington and the Make-A-Wish Foundation joined together to make 17-year old Max Cohen’s wish come true. Max’s wish was to choose, design and help build a car at Boyd Coddington’s Garage. Although Max had some basic ideas about what kind of car he would like to help design and build, the Coddington Crew helped him by suggesting a ’60s-era Dodge. And to make this car even more special, we decided to put a Hemi engine in it. We went to work shopping the online auctions for a likely candidate for the build meanwhile, Max worked with artist Todd Emmons to sketch out an image of the finished car. The raw material turned out to be a 1963 Dodge Polara body, with a little but easily salvageable by means of complete disassembly, media blasting, and the attention of the sheet metal wizards at Coddington’s Garage. Regarding the Dodge’s unibody construction, the late Roy Schmidt commented “it’s tough because we can’t separate the frame from the body.” Along with welding in the necessary patches for parts of the body lost to corrosion, the crew replaced the rear wheel wells to accommodate larger tires dropped in a new stock floor pan, and modified the engine compartment so there would be room for the hefty Hemi. The build also required a new firewall, and extra support in the frame-all necessary to make a comfortable home for an engine, a piece of Americana, though in this case, the 472 ci, dual-carb. Other modifications included the Magnum Force Mopar tubular front suspension assembly, rear coilover and Ladder Bar suspension, and eliminated the original steering box in favor of a rack-and-pinion arrangement. All in all, the front end’s load was lightened by 100 to 150 pounds. As the build continued, Max Cohen himself was able to visit the shop and lend his hand for five days, drilling, welding and cutting the rear valance.
Max wanted a black Dodge, and black is a notoriously tricky color to get right. Spray black paint on an uneven surface, and every little wave will show. Greg Morrell and the paint shop indulged with a glossy, mirror like finish over three coats of wet-sanded primer, beneath which every last hollow was taken out of existence. Equally flawless was Gabe Lopez’s job on the interior, with seating areas re-cushioned and everything finished in red leather. When the car returned to Boyd’s Garage after its three-day stay with the upholsterers, Max exclaimed, “the only word I can think of is perfect.” The words “Max Hemi,” lettered on the sides of the hood scoop, must only have added to that sweet sense of perfection.
Max-Hemi made it debut at the 2005 SEMA show then it was off to the 2006 Barrett-Jackson 35th Anniversary Auction in Scottsdale where it sold and raised $550,000 for children charities. Max-Hemi was a dream made real.