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Bud Faubel, former fighter jet pilot and 1960s factory driver, took his old Hemi Honker to a fast lap on the beaver Springs quarter-mile last July. A freeze plug blew out at speed but Faubel had no problem controlling the car.

Thanks to Don and Mary Lee Fezell, the Honker is now back in Pennsylvania.

The race-only Hemi cars from 1964 have become some of the hottest machinery on today’s muscle collector market. With only 100 examples built for drag racing (50 Plymouths and 50 Dodges), these cars represented the furthest frontier of production-line stock-bodied drag car development. Though Ford’s notorious Thunderbolts released months earlier had made use of fiberglass body pieces, Chrysler stayed with the stamped aluminum panels that had characterized the Max Wedge cars for their ‘64 drag packages..

Built in the late spring of the year, and coded 7 on the build sheet, the race package body had a very strict diet plan that included aluminum replacements doors, front fenders, hood with undimpled fresh-air scoop (the Max Wedge versions had a dip in the middle of the forward opening), radiator support, and other small pieces; a few like this one even got aluminum front bumpers. The hood hinges were eliminated for the first time, and the lid was instead held on with four large stud-mounted wing nuts, one on each corner.

Faubel was right at home at the nostalgia event at Beaver Springs Dragway last summer.

For motivation, the Hemi engine that had come off its dominating performance at the Daytona 500 was recoded A-864. The quarter-mile plant was retrofitted with the Max Wedge-type cross ram design supporting a pair of carbs (these were Carter AFBs at initial release, with an official Holley replacement mandated soon into the production run). For spark, a Prestolite transistorized ignition layout was used, with 12.5 compression pistons (a handful of steel-nosed Hemi cars got an optional 11.0 compression), and steel-tubing-type exhaust manifolds. The elephant was a tight fit that required a change to the right side upper control arm bracket to get into the engine bay.

Behind the 500-plus ponies the race mill output was the well-refined A727 Torqueflite transmission, a hardy three-speed automatic using the infamous dashboard-mounted ‘typewriter’ shifter. The ‘flite  had let Chryslers dominate the stock eliminator classes from 1963 onward. Without the high-rev shock of dumping the clutch, an 8 ¾ rear was considered efficient and strong enough for the environment, equipped with a 4.56 ring that kept the motor at RPM ranges where it enjoyed breathing – above 4,000.