Marco DeCesaris’ collection features this spectacular 1962 ‘Motor Trend’ Ramcharger Dodge restoration.
It was August 1962. The cold war was in full swing, John F. Kennedy was in the White House, and actress Marilyn Monroe had been found dead on the 4th, but the 1960s craziness was not evident yet. Life was good for car guys; with the economy ramped up, Detroit reported having its best August sales month since 1955, and the farm fields around Claremont, Indiana roared with horsepower as Labor Day approached.
This was Indy, and now home of NHRA’s once-a-year Nationals. During the two years in Detroit (1959-60), this event now found stock-type entries becoming very important, with Detroit committed to making headlines with horsepower-based achievements. Many spectators anxiously awaited to see the latest factory tricksters fight it out on the Indy quarter-mile with the new SS/S and SS/SA (Super Super/Stock and Super Super/Stock Automatic) division at the top of the pack.
Though Dodge and Plymouth came in with a slew of entries based on the hot 413 wedge engine that had debuted in the midsize uni-body designs back in May, both they and other manufacturers had released parts just prior to this event, resulting in the extra Super designation that year only. Before 1962, the 413 had been used exclusively in the big Chrysler and Imperial lines and Dodge’s trucks. The earliest 1962 413 performance versions featured 11.0 compression and this was how the car seen here was built that May; in this state of tune, the extra 374.00 (615.00 with the automatic) spent for either a Dodge Ramcharger or Plymouth Super Stock engine meant street use was severely curtailed, but it roared on the racetrack. Set up in the 3400-pound B-body Dart and Savoy, it put out 410 ponies on paper.
The hairier 420-horse edition that put the car up in the SS/SA class used a very tight 13.5 ‘Sunoco 260 only’ ratio and was offered that summer. This version was slightly more expensive than the 11.0 examples since the pistons were custom-fitted to the block. However, the two Max Wedges were otherwise identical, with Max Wedge-specific heads and exhaust equipment highly modified from the normal pedestrian 413 mills. All Max Wedge-equipped cars came through with square, bolted-on exhaust cutouts to make racetrack conversion simple.
|Here is the serious side of the car – a 420-horse power 413 Max Wedge, modified by the engineers to go fast.||Under the cleaners were twin Carter AFBs. Note the free-flowing cast headers…|