By Phoebe Muthart
MILFORD — When Kent Sawyer was looking for a 1965 Dodge Polara and couldn’t find one, he started looking for a 1964 model instead. He found one and gave it a nickname. His 1964 Dodge Polara, nicknamed “Junkyard Ram,” was fully restored and was completely detailed.
“Junkyard Ram” was even featured on the cover of the January 2019 CarCraft magazine. Sawyer fully restored the car himself with the help of some friends.
“It was a blast to work on,” he said. “It came out pretty good.”
Nothing like working on a fine piece of history. Sawyer sought the classic hot rod for quite awhile. He originally was looking for a two-door 1965 Polara. Sawyer said he couldn’t find one around the area that “wasn’t rusted out.” So, Sawyer’s son-in-law found the car in Colorado for $3,000.
“It was in a junkyard in Colorado,” Sawyer recalled, adding the 1964 classic “was close enough.”
His daughter and son-in-law, who live in Colorado Springs, brought the classic car to Indiana eight years ago. A 1973 Wawasee High School graduate, Sawyer said he was “ready to take it apart.” There was no rust.
“We took it all apart,” he said.
It took three years to fully restore the hot rod to its glory. Sawyer took the motor out, took the doors off and took the trunk off, “basically everything,” he said. “I got it down to bare metal.”
Next, welding took place. He moved the axle forward, then blasted the Polara with powered glass. He moved the wheel because, Sawyer said, “with more rear weight it will launch better.”
The next step was to prime it and paint it. He found old nostalgic decals for the car at a swap meet at an auction in Auburn. “They didn’t have decals in the 1960s,” Sawyer explained, adding in the late 1960s car manufacturers started to use decals.
An artist, Alexis LeCount, helped Sawyer hand paint some of the details on the car. The car’s motor needed work as well.
“I built a new motor for it. It makes a lot of horsepower,” he said of the car’s engine. “The injectors shoot gas.”
Prior to the pandemic, Sawyer took it to drag races. “It attracted a lot of attention,” the Milford resident said. He said it can do a quick quarter mile, going 125 mph.
“The acceleration is really great; that’s what you are looking for,” he explained.
CarrTech partnered with Lake City Detail on Sawyer’s project. Sawyer brought his 1964 Dodge Polara into the shop for some detail work.
Sawyer, who grew up in Milford, has been married to his wife, Ann, for 42 years, and they have two adult children, Luke and Mandy. He owns an excavating business.