Wired: 1965 Coronet Engine Compartment Wiring Restoration

Here’s another installment on our “Cool Blue” project car. It’s the smooth ’65 Coronet 440 we’ve been preparing to handle a pump gas, 825hp, Ray Barton-built, 528-cube Street Hemi. In this go-round we wire up the engine compartment in anticipation of the high-output Optima battery that’ll jolt the Powermaster mini-starter to crank the honkin’ Hemi.

In particular, while cranking, we checked that the MSD ignition was delivering a strong spark to the spark plugs. Yes, there’s a strong spark, but there’s no fuel to ignite — we still need to plumb the Aeromotive in-tank fuel pump to the dual-quad Edelbrock 800 cfm AVS carburetors. Once we do that, we’ll hear Hemi thunder!

To be positive there weren’t any “crossed wires,” we observed all the lights and accessories functioned, and even the horn honked. Fortunately, everything electrical operated as it did back in 2005. That’s when we removed the three major engine compartment wiring harnesses (engine, battery/starter and front lights) from the engine bay for paint. At the time, we numbered, marked, and bagged each component, plug, connector, etc., so everything would return back to their original position. Doing so helped big time when putting it back together — it all fell right back into place.

For most folks, we recommend you take plenty of pictures before wiring teardown, unlike your author who didn’t. It’s only because of my many years of experience with the early B-Bodies that I was able to do it from memory. I definitely don’t recommend this since a lot of us can’t recall what we had for breakfast yesterday, let alone 50-plus-year-old Mopar wiring!

Of the three aforementioned engine bay wiring harnesses, we replaced the decaying and butchered original engine harness with new reproduction wiring from Classic Industries. The deteriorated battery/starter harness was replaced with a new repro piece from Joe Suchy. The front light harness was in good condition, so we decided we could make it look like new again by simply cleaning it up and re-taping it with new 3M electrical tape.

For now, we decided to keep the battery under the hood instead of in the trunk. There’s documentation that a handful of ’65 Street Hemi Coronets were driving around the Chelsea Proving Grounds back in ’65. Yes, we know the ’65 A990 Hemi cars were built with the battery in the trunk, but we wanted to emulate the ’65 Street Hemi that paved the way for the introduction of the ’66 model year Street Hemi cars. The Optima Red Top became our battery of choice for its ultimate Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) for quick and repeatable startups (even when the Hemi is hot). When we tested the Optima battery and Powermaster starter team, we were amazed how quickly the big-cube Hemi spun and cranked-over. We think most will like the clean, cool look in the Coronet’s engine compartment. And the big plus is, everything functions as it should.

Here’s a rundown of previous stories preparing “Cool Blue” to handle the Honkin’ Hemi.

Prepping The Chassis For Big-Block/Hemi Power:

B-Body Front Suspension Rehab:

Installing Wilwood 12.19 DynaLite Front Brakes:

Upgrading To Wilwood’s 4-Wheel Disc Master Cylinder:

Mopars Need Extra Help With Heat–Here’s How To Fix It:

Steer Without Fear! How To Upgrade Your Mopar Steering Box:

Dyno Testing The 825hp Barton Street Hemi:

Install a Stealth In-Tank 1000-HP Fuel System:

Refurbishing a 1968 B-body Dana 60:

Big Disc Brakes That Fit With 15-inch Wheels:

Build Yourself a Heavy-Duty Hemi Leaf Spring Suspension:

Build a TorqueFlite To Handle Massive Horsepower:

A Tough Enough Torque Converter To Handle Hemi Power:

Dressing-up a Hemi With Brackets, Pulleys, Accessories:

Making Room To Drop-in a Hemi:

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