Promo Teaser:* "I saw these cars back in the '60s, and the reason I looked far and wide for a car was to basically have my passion come true. It has tremendous horsepower and terrific eye appeal." - John Mai
'64 Plymouth Belvedere
Owned by John Mai, South Houston, Texas
- Engine: A 528 crate Hemi was installed just as it came from Mopar except for the cross ram intake and a FAST XFI fuel injection system. Fuel injection doesn't really improve the max power output but really makes a big difference in the drivability of an eight-barrel Hemi. In order to retain more of the stock appearance though, the injectors were hidden inside the intake.
- Transmission: John choose a 727 and a 10-inch convertor for a good balance between the track and the boulevard. He also went with a manual valve body in this push-button car so he must have a tough left thumb.
- Rearend: Dana 60 with 3.73 gears. Set it up and forget about it.
- Horsepower and Performance: HiTech Motorsport in Elk River, Minnesota, did the dyno work and tuning of the FAST XFI system, and managed to find 619 horsepower and 648 lb/ft of torque - about what the original lightweights produced back in their day. John's Belvedere was still too new when we photographed it to have been to the track yet but it will perform respectfully no matter what John decides to do with it.
- Suspension: .960-inch torsion bars work the front with Super Stock 456/457 springs in the rear.
- Brakes: These cars were never known for their stopping ability. Wilwood discs all the way around plus a hydroboost system bring some balance to the Hemi under the hood.
- Wheels: Stock steel with dog dish caps. Well, they look stock. The rears are now 15x10 inches.
- Rubber: Coker Classic 235/75R15s look like original bias plys, but bring modern radial performance. The Mickey Thompson 295/65R15 drag radials are just legal enough to cruise with.
- Body: Completely restored to look like a lightweight including a steel reproduction Hemi scoop and a single headlight grill. Mini-tubs easily allow for the 295 Mickey drag radials.
- Paint: PPG Deltron Dark Gray Poly. This thing will attract more than enough attention without being painted red.
- Interior: The Auto Top Shop, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, did all of the stitching inside the car. This is one area where John departed from the original (which had nothing to do with comfort) with full custom seats, door panels, and even a custom case for the removable part of the roll bar. Rich carpet covers the whole interior and the fully upholstered trunk. Dynamat sound deadener helps keep the road, exhaust, and engine noise in check. The dash is a mix of old and new with a molded in tach and shift light, built in gauges, and A/C vents.