As the guy in the neighborhood with eight Mopars, Vince Lockyer is often approached with l
A big part of the automotive hobby is collecting, so it's no wonder many Mopar enthusiasts end up with more than one project in their driveway or garage. Vince Lockyer of southern California is no exception to this rule, having no less than eight Mopars in his stable. Though Vince certainly has plenty of project cars to work on, when his neighbor Edgar Vera approached him at last year's Spring Fling and told him he had an "old Plymouth race car" in his backyard, he couldn't resist the urge to check the car out himself.
Since Edgar only lived a couple of miles away, Vince went over that afternoon to look at the car. Externally, Vince noticed a few things about the '64 Plymouth that piqued his interest, but overall the car simply looked much like a worn-out, outdated race car. Upon opening the hood, however, he quickly recognized the Max-Wedge intake manifold, and he knew he was interested in purchasing the car, so he began asking questions about the car's pedigree. What he learned in the process was no less than amazing.
When asked about the car's racing heritage, Edgar broke out a photo album documenting the car's authenticity and rich racing history. This wasn't just any Max-Wedge car; this was the '64 Belvedere built and driven by Bob Small, and later driven by Bill Ellerman, during multiple winning race seasons during the late '60s and early '70s. Campaigned as the "Small and Ellerman" Plymouth, this car not only won, but won big races including the '71 and '72 Winternationals, and also set the NHRA national record in 1972. Though Bob Small admits having issues with at least one NHRA tech inspector who seemed set on handicapping the dominant Mopar entries of the day, he and Bill Ellerman still managed to not only win, but to win a lot.
Making the deal even sweeter, the '64 Plymouth came with a fully documented winning race h
Having noticed the team's success, Chrysler corporate officials approached Small and Ellerman to build a '65 Hemi car for the following season, and they began building a new car. Feeling the NHRA tech officials were against them, however, Bob and Bill made the tough decision to get out of drag racing altogether. In 1973 the winning '64 Max Wedge car was sold to a local racer named Ross Thompson who reportedly drove the car once, but scared himself when the car did a wheelstand. The car was then parked on the same trailer that Vince found it on some 35 years later.
After learning its heritage, Vince knew he wanted the car and attempted to seal the deal immediately but couldn't get a firm price from Edgar. It seemed that Edgar didn't so much want to sell the car as to make sure the new owner appreciated the car's lineage and would restore it instead of just flipping it on eBay to the highest bidder. After several months of being "interviewed" by Edgar, Vince was given the chance to make an offer, and offered $14,000 cash for the car. Edgar laughed and said "talk me down from $30,000." The subsequent negotiations resulted in a selling price of $26,000 for the car, the trailer, and a rust-free parts car.
Since purchasing the Small and Ellerman Plymouth, Vince has contacted Bob Small who verified the history of the vehicle. Vince is planning a complete restoration of the car back to "as-raced" trim, and the NHRA museum in Pomona has even expressed interest in displaying the car once the restoration is complete. We look forward to seeing the finished product and congratulate Vince Lockyer on his rare find.
Once the hood was popped, the Max-Wedge intake manifold gave Vince the first hint that thi
Though the car had been repainted at least once, the words NHRA record holder are still vi
Having been parked since 1973, this car is a time capsule with many of its original modifi
As a car builder and driver, Bob Small found himself thinking more about the mechanics of