While pop culture music may have turned the "Super Stock Dodge with a 413" into an icon, the truth is that the real McCoy was few and far between. Indeed, in that inaugural year for what became known as the first Max Wedge package cars, a total of 212 Ramcharger 413 models were built. With a 410 rating and a curb weight of just 3,350 pounds, these beasts had the highest power-to-weight rating of any passenger car built that year, and many, of course, ended up getting thrashed on the dragstrip.
The one seen here is an exception to that rule. This B-Body Dart (that's correct, it was the Lancer's big brother in 1962) is now in the possession of DaimlerChrysler employee Ron McDaniel, but began its existence on June 4, 1962, when it rolled off the Hamtramck assembly line. This one was ordered with several unique things. Since it was going to a dealership named Dodge City in Montana (one of only three heading to that state), it received a heater. An AM radio was also part of the package, but the biggest change from normal Ramcharger production was the selection of the Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed instead of the TorqueFlite. Once delivered, it was sold to Doctor Skip Score, who had no interest in drag racing, though he later admitted the car was in one serious street confrontation with a Vette (what else?) that actually had the people of his town taking sides and lining the street! Regardless, it was well kept, and Ron became the sixth registered owner in the early '90s after it went through a number of friends. Partially disassembled by one previous owner, it ended up in the hands of noted West Coast Stock Eliminator racer Bob Mazzolini, who intended to restore it. Ron decided otherwise, reassembled the car with some very minor changes, and says the work he has done would be best termed as "stabilizing."
The car is still unrestored; the front fenders were repainted several years ago, but otherwise the body is as it came from the factory. Painted EV1 White, the exterior is complemented by a typical level of early-'60s chrome and a blue cloth/vinyl interior combination; only the front seat cover was redone to repair some minor damage. The Hurst shifter rises up from the floor, while gauges are podded into the dash like something from a Buck Rogers cartoon. Still, that 150-mph speedo tells the tale about just what this machine is capable of.
Under the unscooped hood is 413 inches of early Max muscle. The driveline was thoroughly checked and rebuilt several years ago, with Ken Lazzeri and Herb McCandless doing the work. Ken prepped the parts, while Ron himself rebuilt the engine to stock specs, although a set of Stage III MW rods were used to ensure reliability, and the OE 11:1 compression remains. The heads were rebuilt to stock specs as well, and the engine continues to breathe using a pair of big Carter four-barrels on a cross-ram intake. The only other change was a Stage III MW oil pump pick-up tube to make sure bottom-end stays slippery.
Behind this, McCandless installed a '68 Race Hemi clutch for safety's sake and went through the old B-W crashbox. He also rebuilt the rearend, an 8 3/4-inch unit that houses a set of steep 4.56:1 gears. The only suspension tricks are right out of 1962: the heavy-duty leaf springs and carrier-mounted pinion snubber. The brakes are the "he-man" variety: drums with a manual single-reservoir master cylinder. Rounding out the driveline are a set of 7.75x14 Goodyear Blue Streak tires mounted on white 14-inch steel rims with the factory dog-dish hubcaps. Using this combination, Ron has actually taken the car down the track, recording a 13.14 at 108 mph with the tires blazing through much of First gear.
Ron talked with us at the Mopar Nats and promised us that he knew of a great place to get the pictures shot while we were in Detroit a couple of days later. He was right, and the more we looked at this car, the more impressive it became. We imagine Dr. Score had no trouble getting to the hospital when duty called, and we can be thankful that this Dodge remains a true survivor of the supercar era. Now, where's that fuelie Vette hiding?
Back In The Day...
The 413 Earned Its Real ReputationWhile the Beach Boys may have gotten a bad example for their fabled song about a 327 Vette beating a 413 Ramcharger Dodge, the rest of the world knew the '62 Maximum Performance package was as nasty as they came. After all, while Pontiac and Chevrolet were still going at it full force with their S/S and A/FX package cars, these were really drag-only cars, with exotic parts and very limited availability. Ford had some serious performance packages with the 406 engine, but it wasn't available in any of the lighter-body styles. Ron McDaniel supplied us with a few magazine road tests from 1962, so we thought we would give you a few quotes....
Motor Trend, Aug. '62, page 20."If present trends continue, by the end of the summer, [the Dodge] will be right on top of the stock car heap-regardless of price. It's an awful bomb. And you don't need time, money, and know-how to do the careful 'tuning' and setup necessary to get optimum performance out of most factory-produced, high-performance cars."
Author Roger Huntington was one of the premier automotive authorities of the time period. Above is a little of his first paragraph. In the same story, Huntington also stated it was the closest thing to an out-and-out racing car from the factory he'd ever seen. Indeed, the main thing that made these cars impressive was their design. The exhaust system featured capped cut-outs that could be unbolted at the track, the short cross-ram was the result of some fertile design work on the part of the Ramchargers club based out of Central Engineering at Highland Park, and the cars beat the competition in the weight department by 300-400 pounds. Incredibly, the base price was only $374.40 above the cost of the standard car.
Hot Rod, May '62, page 26"Two all-new high-horsepower 413 V8s are going to make the boys driving the other brands in the hot stock classes wonder just what hit them."
Noted author and publisher Ray Brock had a first-hand look at the new 410/420-horse Chrysler engines and came away with this impression. In fact, the Brand X guy did wonder, because as soon as the 413 packages hit the track, the record book began to take a beating. Bill "Maverick" Golden took home the record book at the divisional race in Pomona, nailing both ends of the record with a 12.50 at 112.40 while winning the event. Dode Martin and Jim Nelson of Dragmaster fame were able to take their 413 Golden Lancer A/FX creation to another record at 12.26. The SS/S (stick) records went to an early-season 12.71 (Dick Ladeen) and a blistering late-season 115.78 (Dave's Chevron entry). And as for Ray Brock, well, he and the boys from Hot Rod went to the NHRA Nationals in Indy with a "borrowed" 413 SS/SA entry named "Suddenly Too" that Labor Day weekend. Although they didn't go far (got tree'd early on in class eliminations), they set a low e.t. of the event in the Stock classes with a 12.37! This particular car was the first automatic cross-ram car on the West Coast, and was owned by West Coast Chrysler employee Bob McDaniel (yep, Ron's father).
Brock's story in Hot Rod ended like this:"The dragster boys have been drifting away from Chrysler products since the hemispherical engine was dropped in 1958...We think there's going to be a resurgence toward Chrysler engines in the competition classes throughout the country. Care to bet against it?"
The rest, as they say, is history.