Truth is Stranger than Fiction: The 426-Powered Milking Wedge
Let’s face it; we all love a good story. Whether we are sitting around with a couple of pals or talking to people at a swap meet, the tone seems to always turn to some amazing tale about a found car, or a tragic accident, or a youthful indiscretion. When Terry Martin told me he had an unbelievable Hemi car tale for me, I was all ears.
Terry and his brother Eric are no strangers to performance. They have an honest 6 second nostalgia ‘72 Plymouth Satellite nitro funny car called Wildfire that they take and race on occasion, not always to win but more to just have some fun. Based out of north East Indiana, they also know a lot of car guys in their area, and that was how the story we will relay here begins, in Terry’s own words.
" Well, it first started as a rumor, and I had to follow it up. This guy, a friend of mine knew had lost his driver’s license and was out riding a bicycle trying to get his life back together. Well, he stopped along the road to take a leak and was leaning over looking through a dirty barn window and saw this blue car with a Hemi badge on the side. He knew it was something special, but didn’t really care; he wasn’t a car guy. About a year after this, he and my friend were talking and my friend mentioned our funny car, and this guy says, ‘I know where one of those old hemi cars are at, right near here, but I don’t remember exactly where.’
Well, once I heard about it, my daughter, Meghan, and I began driving all over this county trying to figure out where it was. I finally had a chance to speak with the guy, and he told me a about a couple of landmarks just outside the county line, and we finally located it. In the barn were two cars, this 1966 Hemi Coronet 500 and a 1965 426S wedge four-speed. Both cars had 383s in them by this time, and the farmer who owned them began telling me the story.
He had bought the ’65 car brand new, and wanted the hemi but couldn’t see paying the extra 600 dollars. When the motor was damaged, he had swapped in the 383, but the 426 wedge was still there in the barn with it, 100% complete. The car has this huge hitch welded to the back and I asked him what he was towing with it.
“Oh, I used that hitch for farm work,” he said. “I could hook a portable milker to it, drag it up into the field, pull off a vacuum line, and that engine could milk two cows at once. In the winter, I’d just throw some tractor weights in the trunk, mount tire chains and with a posi, I drove it all over the farm!’ He had bought the Hemi car for his father-in-law after the fourth owner had blown the motor drag racing it; after a 383 had been installed, it had also seen some on the farm duty.
This car had been bought new by a local cop, Horis Soper, he saw the 1966 Dodge police cars and went down and ordered a two-door that looked almost like a police car – navy blue, white vinyl top, white interior, but with a Hemi. He didn’t tell his wife, so when it came into the dealership; he took her down to see it and acted like it was something he wanted. She hated it – she hated the white interior because of the kids, she thought it was ugly because of the paint, and that it was too noisy because of the Hemi. The officer died less than a year later, and she traded in the garage-kept car with only a little mileage on a new Oldsmobile. This was in 1967 or 1968.