The Mopar hobby is a diverse one. Some of us are cruisers, happy to have wheels for Saturday nights. Some are mechanics, enjoying the effort of bringing a classic back to life. Others are preservationists, saving survivor-type cars or restoring cars back to their original appearance. Collectors look for the most unique examples they can find, and vintage race cars campaigned by well-known teams are at the top of the list. To have one is pretty special; to have several puts you into one of the most exclusive clubs in the enthusiast car realm.
Clark Rand of Missouri, has become one of the better-known people in this regard. Formerly involved in the business side of rock 'n' roll concert promotion, Clark has focused on some of the best Mopars of quarter-mile fame; cars once raced by Lee Smith, Dick Landy, Don Grotheer, Chuck Ostrich, and Sox & Martin are among the vehicles that he and his wife Colleen have owned and displayed at shows across the country.
The remaining cars of the Ronnie Sox and Buddy Martin glory days have been avidly sought out, discovered, and pried loose from their resting places to be restored to their former glory. Clark presently owns the 1967 Super Stock Belvedere and the 1968 'Cuda that Ronnie drove to the 1969 World Championship. While it would be difficult to find a racetrack location suitable to display the cars, Clark had a chance to take a slightly different direction and recreated a transporter that was a near replica of the factory-supplied vehicle that the Sox & Martin team drove for hundreds of thousands of miles. When he and Fred Engelhart brought the '67 and '68 race cars and the truck to the All-Hemi Reunion last August, we asked Clark to tell us a little about the trio.
This is one of the most significant early Super Stock cars of any make. The new 1967 Super Stock class was a hot bed of activity, going hand in hand with the exploding musclecar market, which now included the GTX and Coronet R/T. Chrysler moved back a page for their purpose-built race cars that year, converting basic Belvedere IIs and Coronet 440-trim level vehicles into Hemi race cars, rather than using the heavier sporty-level street car. This particular example was found by Fred Engelhart in pieces and was being worked on for another one of his clients, Mike Gaurise, though Clark wanted it as soon as it was discovered. When Mike's focus on the car changed, Clark leaped at the chance to purchase it.
"There is a lot of history to this car," he says. "Ronnie told me it was a favorite, but it was also the only car that was actually titled in Buddy Martin's name; this car has full documentation as well as the original Certi-card."
Buddy bought it in May of 1967 from longtime sponsor Gate City Motor Company in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ronnie was quite successful in this car, driving it to victory at both the 1967 Bristol and 1968 Englishtown Springnationals. This was the only factory RO '67 Hemi car the team had that year; they continued to run it into 1968 in SS/D, and Ronnie won the Springnationals after their new Hurst-type Hemi Barracuda had problems.
Its history is not clear after that, but Fred and Clark both believe it must been campaigned only minimally. In addition to having its original interior, it never had a roll-cage or wheel tubs installed. It also retains a lot of its 1960s era speed parts - the Keystone wheels, Stewart-Warner gauges, Vanke-modified intake, factory Prestolite ignition, and more. Mopar expert Jim Remlinger did the paint work, and Don Dennis was responsible for the lettering work.
"This was a very through restoration. we used a lot of hard-to-find parts and even the techniques that the team used in car's original construction," says Clark.