Looking back on the formative years of Stock, Super Stock, and Factory Experimental door slammer drag racing (1962-1965), the exploits of Chrysler Corp stand taller (often literally) than the competition. Sure, Ford, Mercury, Pontiac, and Chevrolet factory high performance vehicle development engineers made sure their S/S and FX offerings packed plenty of horsepower and dabbled in lightweight body parts, but when it came to preparing the chassis and suspension to handle that power, Chrysler was much more thorough.
Another catchy logo on the trunk helped boost Flynn's recognition factor. Flynn left his f
The 1962–1964 Dodge Ramchargers and Plymouth Super Stocks (commonly referred to as Max Wedge cars) were solid performers in sanctioned Stock and Super Stock competition. Their light, fully-unitized bodies, asymmetric leaf spring packs, (optional), aluminum sheet metal kits and industry-exclusive TorqueFlite automatics, were a perfect match for the 450 to 500 horsepower delivered by the cross-rammed 413 and 426 Wedge. But, let's remember, drag racing was only half of the picture. Winning races on NASCAR oval tracks was just as important to Chrysler's performance image and the Max Wedge heads weren't delivering superspeedway glory.
To rectify the situation, the A864 426 Track Hemi was introduced on February 23, 1964, at the Daytona 500. The Hemi's superiority over the Ford, Pontiac, and Chevrolet competition was undisputed with a 1, 2, 3 finish line sweep, and a 10-mph jump in average lap speeds. But, when the cross-rammed Race Hemi hit the strip in late June of 1964, drag racers had another 100 horsepower to deal with, and the Max Wedge chassis setup—hindered by the tires of the day—wasn't cooperating. Tire spin was a major problem.
The April, 1965 issue of Drag Racing magazine offered a four page how-to story detailing t
Let's remember that soft-compound wrinkle wall drag slicks weren't readily available until midway through the 1965 race season. Making matters worse were the rules governing maximum tire tread-width set forth by the sanctioning bodies (NHRA, AHRA, NASCAR Grand Stock, etc.). Their respective Stock and Super Stock classes mandated the use of puny 7-inch-wide cheater slicks with grooved "street" treads. In the more liberal Factory Experimental and Modified Production classes, slicks were allowed, but maximum tread width was limited to 10 inches. Something had to be done to get the Hemi's extra power to the strip, and several avenues were explored—with the 1965 altered wheelbase funny car fleet being the pinnacle of these efforts.
This is the story of how Chrysler explored retro-fitting a pair of Dodge Super Stocks with straight axles as a possible means of gaining extra traction—while simultaneously appeasing the NHRA and its class mandate that performance enhancing components come from the factory parts bin. In the late summer of 1964 Dodge sent two complete A100 Sportsman van front axle and leaf spring assemblies to a pair of up and coming drag racers by the names of Dick Landy and Bill Flynn. That Landy was based in Sherman Oaks, California, and Flynn out of Providence, Rhode Island, is not a random detail.
Though Landy and Flynn had proven their Max Wedge and Race Hemi racing skills in 1963 and early 1964, there were plenty of other successful Mopar racers in the nation's heartland and southern states who could have just as easily qualified for the A100 van axle hand out. Rather, Dodge selected these guys because they were on opposite ends of the country. As such, they'd be able to expose race observers—ranging from casual Friday night spectators to NHRA track officials—to the availability of the new straight axle conversion kit on both coasts.