Custom-bent steel tube headers...
Custom-bent steel tube headers make the most of the early B-Body's limited room via their fenderwell exit.
A couple of years ago, he was searching through "The Big Brown Wishing Book" when he saw an ad for another Max Wedge '62 Dodge. "I pursued it slowly," he says of the process that brought it to his Pompano Beach, Florida, home. "I finally figured out what it was. I wanted the car, I bought it, and as time progressed, I pursued the history of the car. One thing led to another, and this person led me to that person, and it all led me to the items of interest of a car that has this history to it-time slips, buildsheet, drag slicks and wheels." One person that Jeff cites is Steve Marinoff, the Dart's second owner. He'd kept the buildsheet, time slips, and other items that later verified this Dodge's identity.
The time slips told of elapsed times in the mid-12s, which the original set of drag slicks attested to. What the buildsheet told him was not only the equipment that went on at Hamtramck-the 413 Max Wedge, the 727, and little else-but also when it was built. He's yet to see any documentation of a '62 Max Wedge Dodge with a lower VIN number or earlier build date than this one.
Jeff's '62 was built with...
Jeff's '62 was built with base-level Dart trim inside and out, which it retains. Dash-mounted push-buttons (left) control Art Carr-built 727. Other than one auxiliary gauge, rest of dash is stock.
One of the people that helped Jeff verify what he had was noted Max Wedge historian/builder/restorer Bob Mosher. "I emailed Bob some photos of the car, and he was kind enough to do some research on his end," says Jeff. "Lo and behold, he had actually done some paint work on that car some 30 years ago. He had photos of the car, and he sent them to me."
Two items seen in the photos clinched this Dodge's identity. "The tell-tale parts of it were the exhaust, and a '65 Lions Drag Strip participants' sticker on the left vent window that's been on there for years," Jeff says. "You can see in the photos that he sent me that the sticker is still there. Plus, being from Southern California, he remembers the car." That exhaust system included a specially-hand-fabricated pair of steel-tube headers with curves aplenty, which exits through the Dart's front fenderwells.
Here you see the downstream...
Here you see the downstream end of the header and where it exits in the right front fenderwell. Front wheels are chromed Hudson ones (with same bolt pattern as OEM rims), mounted on BFG "Silvertown" skinnies.
Another contact Jeff made was with Bill Gaidzik, the '62's first owner, who bought the car at Wegge Motors in Pasadena, California. (The same place that "The Little Old Lady..." that Jan & Dean made famous may have bought hers.) Through him, Jeff learned that the OEM block had been replaced early on, a casualty of the early Max Wedge's oiling problems. "As far as I know, he worked out something with the dealership, and they replaced the short-block," recalls Jeff. "He doesn't really remember if it was no charge for it, but they did replace the short-block."
Nowadays, this 4,000-original-mile car doesn't make as many 1/4-mile trips as it did in the '60s, but Jeff still gets out with it. "I do drive it to local car shows," he says. "It's a pretty nasty car." It's also one that's only had one repaint, and Jeff has re-done the Blair's Speed Shop lettering that graced the front doors when it ran at tracks like Lions, Pomona, San Gabriel, and Irwindale.
Naturally, a lot of show-goers haven't seen many '62 Dodges lately-especially one with the equipment and history this Dart has. As Jeff puts it, "They'll look at everything else in the show, then they'll stop at this thing here, and just look at it and wonder, 'What the hell is this?'" Jeff adds that the hand-fabricated exhausts get a lot of attention. "The configuration of the exhaust (headers) is probably the most exotic thing about the car. And, of course, the fact that it's a 4,000-mile car, that makes them say, 'Wow!'"