This played into the fact that—to be legal for Stock, Super Stock, F/X and M/P race duty—the NHRA required factory issued part numbers. Backyard lash-ups were relegated to the less prestigious gas classes where media attention was sparse. In the case of the van-sourced spring and axle setup, part number 22352 was assigned. An important footnote is seen in official Chrysler documents informing the NHRA about the over-the-counter straight axle kit. Dodge took pains to describe the assembly as being from the Dodge Custom Sportsman wagon. With its many glass windows and three rows of bench seats, it could be registered for use as a passenger car rather than a commercial vehicle. This ducked around an NHRA mandate restricting the adaptation of truck parts for cars.
Flynn sold the Yankee Peddler Coronet and moved on to a 1966 Barracuda exhibition match ra
Though the Sportsman van's leaf springs, beam axle and drum brakes are far from featherweight, the total mass was actually 35 pounds lighter than the stock B-Body torsion bar front suspension. According to a story that appeared in the April, 1965 issue of Drag Racing magazine showing the van axle going under Dick Landy's 1964 Race Hemi sedan, the logic went like this: "The removal of 35 pounds. from the front end more than justifies this conversion. Here's proof: let us suppose the 118-inch wheelbase represents a 10-foot lever, with the rear axle serving as a fulcrum. With a conventional front suspension, we have an excess of 35 pounds, 10 feet from the fulcrum, which equals 350 foot-pounds. To counter-balance this, we would need 117 pounds of ballast placed three feet to the rear of the rear axle, or 350 pounds one foot to the rear. Using the 117 pound ballast (which is illegal) we are then carrying 152 pounds of excess weight. Remember this: No matter how much weight you chop off, as long as you have a conventional suspension, you are carrying 35 excess pounds."
The source of these somewhat complex calculations is not stated in author John Durbin's story, but it's possible—and likely—Jim Thornton had a hand in their creation. Thornton, a member of the famed Ramchargers factory drag race team, was in charge of A864 and A990 Race Hemi body and chassis development, and was a major proponent of wheelbase shuffling. But having restricted time and manpower resources to work with, many of his team's theories were assigned to trusted privateers for execution. Delivery of the needed hard parts was typically handled by Chrysler Corporate Product Planning with Dale Reeker or Frank Wylie serving as point men and parts-dolers.
And so it was that Landy and Flynn were entrusted with participating in the straight axle/B-Body experiment in the final months of 1964. In the case of Landy's silver 330 series sedan, the car has received a lot of magazine exposure over the years in titles including Hot Rod, Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, Drag Racing and many others. And happily, the car still exists—fully restored—in the hands of noted Hemi historian and research author, Pete Haldiman. As for Flynn's white Yankee Peddler 440 series hardtop, period magazine coverage was minimal. Though it won Modified Production laurels at the 1964 U.S. Nationals (with Max Wedge power) over Arnie Beswick's 421 Tempest coupe—11.95 to 11.68, few images of the car appeared in print. The only ones that come quickly to this authors mind ran in the January, 1964 issue of Super Stockers In Action.
The current whereabouts of Flynn's 1964 hardtop are unknown. The consensus is it's been lost to time. But if any Mopar Muscle readers can shed light on its actual fate, we're all ears. Until the car resurfaces, the next best thing is vintage photographs. Thanks to lifelong Connecticut drag race fan Brian Frederick, numerous photos of Flynn's exist—including one blockbuster color image in its final form. Taken at various Eastern strips including Connecticut Dragway, Dover Raceway, and New York strips in Wingdale and South Glen Falls. Let's give Flynn's 1964 Dodge axle car its fair share of attention.