When was the last time you heard the words “Polara” and “badass” next to each other? Such is the case when talking about Jesse James’ 1964 Dodge Polara, which was revealed by Honeywell Garrett this week at SEMA. The notorious motorcycle-fabricator-turned-blacksmith’s personality is reflected in the Roadster Shop-built “Hill Country Hustler,” his nod to the location of his personal shop near Driftwood, Texas.
The Mundelein, Illinois-based Roadster Shop — known for their wild chassis and custom builds — took on the duties of turning the Polara from a 383-powered rat trap into a twin-turbo missile thanks to a 426ci Wegner Motorsports Hemi. Fed by a pair of Garrett GTX3582Rs, boost finds its way to the Hemi through an air-to-liquid intercooler, Titanium plumbing, and a one-off, CNC-cut intake manifold by RS. From there, a pistol grip-equipped Bowler Transmissions T-56 splits the gears ahead of a four-linked Strange axle. All of this performance is tied to that patina’d body by the Roadster Shop Fast-Track chassis that was built around a full 3D scan of the Polara using a Faro Technologies 3D Scanner. This allowed RS to tailor their chassis to the Polara’s dimensions before any frame rails were cut while also knowing where they needed to cut the floor to accommodate the frame.
The four-linked 9-inch was supplied by Strange and absorbs that 1,500hp through AFCO racing shocks.
We love details like this dealership-inspired Roadster Shop badging.
The interior is a bead-rolled paradise of sheet metal work. The dash has been refaced with classic machine-turned panels, while the floor is a swath of dimple-died and bead-rolled panel-work. The only color you’ll find are in the bomber seats and tach-o, which bare the Stars-n-Bars. The mirror-polished roll bar is a stand-out touch in the all-business cockpit.
With a brutal Hemi and the T-56’s long reach through six gears, we’re sure this old Polara is seeing the roadway pass under it at speeds previously unknown, and it’ll look right doing it thanks to the 19-inch Forgeline wheels that were styled after the old steelies with poverty-spec dog-dish caps.