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Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. In the case of most every drag car, the beginning sees the car as a brand new creation, with the latest tricks and parts to get it down the track as fast as possible. The middle part of the story usually witnesses a number of evolutionary changes and modifications intended to address short comings that can only be identified by race duty. The end of the story isn’t always pretty. In this stage, the car has served its purpose and is overshadowed by a more refined replacement.
In the case of Sox & Martin Plymouth drag cars, let’s follow along and watch as the team’s ’65 A990 Race Hemi sedan and ’66 “Baccaruda” exhibition stocker go from state of the art match race weaponry, to hand-me-down relics. Happily, the ’65 sedan has survived and is on the path to restoration. We wish we could say the same for the “Baccaruda” match racer. Its current whereabouts are unknown. To learn more about altered wheelbase match racers – old and new - check out afxer.com.
In 1964, Sox & Martin were loyal factory Mercury 427 Comet racers. But thanks to Lincoln-Mecury’s unwillingness to supply personal cars to both Ronnie (Sox) and Buddy (Martin) for 1965, the boys jumped ship to Plymouth where a full-boat factory sponsorship was waiting.
To get things started, the team received a brand new RO51 A990 Race Hemi Belvedere sedan for SS/A and A/S action, and one of the factory-Amblewagon built altered wheelbase hardtops for NHRA A/FX duty. They ran the sedan in stock configuration for several weeks but quickly altered the rear axle centerline – then the front axle centerline - in order to be competitive on the match race circuit. In this shot, the R051 / A990 sedan has already had its rear axle moved forward 15-inches, but the stock torsion bar front suspension remains unaltered. The resulting wheelbase measured 100-inches.
Dubbed the Paper Tiger Too, this sedan was used mainly for racing in the 3000 and 3400-lb classes while the hardtop was reserved for 2400 and 2700-lb class action. Both cars began life with gasoline burning cross-rammed Race Hemis, but switched to Hilborn mechanical injection and alky/nitro mixes to stay on top of the match race game.