This is not a black ’63 Dodge Polara 500 convertible with a Stage II 426 Max Wedge. Likely, it’s the black ’63 Dodge Polara 500 convertible with a Stage II 426 Max Wedge!
Back in 1963, the Max Wedge Ramcharger V-8s weren’t restricted to the B-Body Dodge’s low-line 330 or mid-range 440 series—or only available in the lightest-weight two-door sedan body styles, either. If you wanted, you could get one in a Polara or Polara 500—or in a convertible.
A summer 1963 Dodge buyer in southern California ordered this car from a dealer in Glendale—just down the road from “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena’s” mythical stomping grounds. Equipped with the Ramcharger option ($445), 727 TorqueFlite automatic ($211), power windows ($102), MusicMaster AM radio ($58), and whitewall tires ($48), this drop-top Dodge, whose base price started at $3,196, stickered out at just over four grand, plus shipping.
Max Wedge, version 2.0. Foam rubber collars seal the dual Carter AFBs to the hoodscoops. I
Needless to say, the owner got a lot for his four grand. The Max Wedge not only received a displacement boost for 1963 to 426 cubic inches, it also got new cylinder heads with bigger valves, better air flow characteristics, and stronger castings. That was all thanks to the work that Willem Weertman’s engine-research team at Highland Park was doing—which also resulted in the 426 Hemi.
But the upgraded RB wasn’t all that the Ramcharger package contained. The hood was a new-for-’63 fiberglass one with a functional scoop, and the transmission was either a Hurst-shifted Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed, or a modified 727 with its factory dash pushbutton shifter. 1963 was the first year for an optional four-speed in the B-Body—the Borg-Warner T-10—but it wasn’t offered by Ma Mopar behind any engine bigger than a 383. The Ramcharger also included tubular exhaust headers with three-inch collectors flowing into two-inch dual exhausts, with racing-intended removable header caps at the headers’ aft ends, as well as an 8¾-inch rear end with Sure Grip.
This car stayed in California through the ’60s, before its original owner sold it to Randy Schultz in Sumner, Iowa, who used it as a good-weather driver while keeping the original mileage under 18,000. Later, it wore a set of Cragar S/S wheels with 60-series Winston bias-ply tires, and was featured in a couple enthusiast magazines in 1983 and 1984.
Fast forward to 2001, when current owner Elliott Parker entered the picture. At an all-Mopar show and swap meet in Decatur, Alabama—in search of a 440 Six Barrel induction system for his ’69 Road Runner—a contact at the show led him to a farm near town. Once there, Elliott spotted the ’63. Purchased from Randy Schultz over 15 years earlier as a restoration project, it sat in a barn, partially disassembled, as the farm took more and more of the owner’s time.
Believe it—as of the photos, this ’63 has only 18,950 original miles on it.
Elliott bought it and took it home, where it resided in ready-to-restore condition while he did his research on it. He found that not only was it one of maybe 13 ’63 Dodge drop-tops out of about 28 B-Body Dodge and Plymouth convertibles built with the Stage II 426 Wedge (which didn’t make it into production until mid-June of that year), it was also one of four known survivors and likely the only black Polara 500. Elliott says that a lot of his research was done via phone calls to Randy Schultz. “I’m looking forward to getting to meet him one day,” says Elliott. “He’s told me so much about this car.”