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Flight of Fancy

I got my new race car today, a gleaming white altered wheelbase Hemi Coronet – complete with Lindamood’s latest Clutch-Flite, big-mouth Hilborns and magnesium Torq-Thrusts all around. Since production shifted from the Amble-Wagon niche plant to a dedicated line right there on New Mack Avenue, the bottle neck of supply has finally been addressed and FX Dodges and Plymouths are being built by the hundreds.

I’m happy to continue my relationship with Dodge for ’65 but it took some wrangling before Thornton and Hoover finally saw the light. Heck, last year’s race season wasn’t a total waste. Sure, the Race Hemi spun a main bearing and it took me a while to get it patched together, but they shouldn’t lay all the blame on me for the delays. After all, the guys in the Detroit parts depot lost the replacement crank for over nineteen days before finding it and shipping it to my shop.

So after a full season of kicking plenty of Ford Thunderbolt butt – and taming dozens of Z-11 Chevelles too - I’ve sold my ’64 Dodge 330 sedan. The guy who bought it says he’s going to add a Jimmy blower and move the rear axle two feet forward. I believe him, but based on how he used tin snips and a claw hammer to trim the delicate aluminum front fenders to make way for the narrowed A100 straight axle, I’m afraid this guy’s a real butcher. If his wheelbase surgery is as rough as the fender work, I don’t want to be in the other lane when that thing leaves the line.

Still, the $2,500 selling price of my old ’64 Dodge Hemi will go a long way toward helping keep the new ’65 Coronet A/FX car on the track. I’m jazzed by the fact mine is one of seventy nine built with the latest 500-inch Super Hemi. Too bad the NHRA lifted the 7-liter limit a week after most of the other six hundred and fifty two ’65 FX Dodges and Plymouths had been built. There’s going to be a lot of pissed off Chrysler FX racers out there!

The word is the other sanctioning bodies will follow suit and these new 500-inch Super Hemi short blocks will soon be legal for use on Nascar and AHRA sanctioned drag strips, not just those blessed by Wally. I know for sure that cars supplied to the Ramchargers, Landy, Blanchard, Ditto, Benoit, Mosher, Jill, Kowalski, Kruzewski and Sox also got the 500-inch Super Hemi short block right there on New Mack. But Dick Maxwell’s latest letter to the NHRA says the Detroit depot will begin shipping 500-cube upgrade kits to the guys stuck with 426 cars in a matter of weeks.

Better happen soon because ever since GM repealed the 1963 anti-racing edict early in ’64, there’s been a steady escalation of wilder and wilder FX packages. Seems the anti-trust litigation that had GM all shook up has been dropped. So its back to business as usual for the General’s many divisions in Factory Experimental competition, even Buick!

Yep, after lots of hearsay and bluffing, last year’s FX Skylark burst onto the scene complete with a die cast aluminum version of the dual-quad 425-inch nailhead V8 they stick in the Riviera Gran Sport. Based on the same high-pressure mold manufacturing techniques that spawned the Corvair’s flat-six and the 215-inch V8 back in 1960 and ’61 respectively, those aluminum-block 425 powered Skylarks also featured plenty of stamped –and cast - aluminum body panels. That’s right, Buick used cast aluminum body trim instead of the usual stainless and pot metal. I’m puzzled as the aluminum castings couldn’t be more than a few ounces lighter but I guess every little bit helps.

Though the nail head Buick V8s don’t breathe as well as even an old Max Wedge and could use some further development, at least the aluminum construction makes porting work easier. But now everybody in Flint is whispering the word “hemi” for ’65. One of my buddys at Milan Dragway says he spotted a ’65 Skylark sporting “Drag Lark” emblems on the rear quarter panels! Looks like Buick’s getting really serious about Factory Experimental drag racing this year.

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