Dodge was on a roll for 1963, with sales up thanks to an industry-leading 5-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a freshened "full-size" line of B-Bodies.
Barn Beauty: It might not...
Barn Beauty: It might not have looked like much before the restoration, but after 18 months…
As in 1962, Dodge made a special run of B-Body cars for Stock and Super Stock drag racing. Under the smoothed-out 1963 styling went one of two freshened 426-inch RBs, wearing new cylinder heads and other updates, available with either 10.25:1 or 13.5:1 compression ratios.
Speaking of smoothed sheetmetal, there was also an available aluminum front end, with all the bolt-on body parts (hood, fenders, front valence, bumper and brackets, headlamp buckets, and grille) made of aluminum to cut weight.
So equipped, these Dodges won everywhere they ran. At the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indy, two of them faced off in the Super Stock/Automatic final—both Ramchargers cars, with Jim Thornton besting Herman Mozer for the class win. The next day, running for Top Stock Eliminator, Mozer bested Thornton to reach the final, where he beat fellow Dodge pilot Al "Lawman" Eckstrand.
Those factory-backed racers weren't the only '63 Dodges with the top factory hardware. This one got it, too—the highest-compression 426 Max Wedge, and the aluminum front end.
Dog-dish caps and skinny bias-ply...
Dog-dish caps and skinny bias-ply front tires are just like what went on at Hamtramck. Slicks (like Atlas “Bucrons”) replaced the pizza-cutter rears for strip duty.
This 330, sold new at Cicero Dodge, likely raced—and won—at tracks like Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin, and Hobart, Indiana's U.S. 30 Dragway. But its history is uncertain, per its current owner (who asked to remain unnamed). "I can trace it back to 1974 or 1975," he says of the car that he actually found in the late 1980s. A friend of his, whose family owned a farm near Chicago, told him about this '63 330 two-door that was parked there.
"It was truly a barn find," he recalls. "It had no transmission, and a bare 440 block in it. The guy who owned it then tried to put a four-speed in it, and he really did a bad job of it." But it did have all of its rare aluminum front-end components with it.
Before long, the '63 was in his garage, and he then found out more of its history after a chat with a previous owner. "He said, ‘The last time I saw it, somebody was flat-towing it down the street, and the rear brakes were dragging. It was squealing as it went down the street."
Our new owner soon had it restored, but the result was far from expected. "It was done very poorly, and that restorer really stuck it to me," he says. "The engine was supposedly the right Max Wedge, but he just did things to it that are hard to believe."
No-frills 330 interior features...
No-frills 330 interior features front/rear bench seats (with Legendary’s reproduction covers), restored stock steering wheel, standard dash, and little else.
After that fiasco, he'd heard of Muscle Car Restorations, located not far from his friend Tony Peterson's home. "I talked with John Balow, at MCR, at length, and I told him what my plans were," he recalls. "I brought the car up there, he looked at it, and he showed me a lot of things on it that weren't right. I told him, ‘The only way that I'll be able to do this is if Tony oversees the project, and if you're willing to have him work side-by-side with your guys."
John agreed, and the 330 then underwent an 18-month, Hamtramck-fresh restoration "John did a helluva job on it," its owner says proudly. "His people really did a great job on this car."
It hasn't run hard on the strip yet, but it's likely it'll run the quarter-mile in the low 13s to high 12s. Along with MCR and Tony Peterson, Galen Govier, Greg Lane, Darrell Davis, and Norm Brady were very helpful in sharing their Max Wedge Dodge knowledge during the restoration process. This '63 330 is documented as the only high-compression, aluminum-front '63 Dodge with this color scheme.
Like a friend did with word of this built-to-win Max Wedge.
I would think that it's a low 13s or high 12s car. "
1963 Dodge 330
Restored by: Muscle Car Restorations, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
3.5:1 compression and redesigned...
3.5:1 compression and redesigned heads helped these B-Bodies run the quarter-mile in the 12s back then. Muscle Car Restorations made it all Hamtramck-fresh again.
|Engine: The ultimate Mopar powerplant for 1963—the Stage II Ramcharger 426 , Built by Wheeler Racing Engines in Blaine, Minnesota. It has 13.5:1 compression, new-for-63 cylinder heads and two huge Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors on a factory cross-ram intake. It's also got a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller camshaft, and the stock dual-point ignition was converted to a Protronix electronic one.
|Transmission: Larry Shepard restored the heavy-duty 727, and included a Dynamic Converters 10-inch 3,500-stall torque converter, shifted by the restored OEM pushbutton shift
|Rear: Restored original 83⁄4, with 3.91 gears and Sure Grip differential.
|Suspension: Restored stock 1963 Dodge, with torsion bars and all-new Moog parts up front, heavy-duty Max Wedge leaf springs in back, and KYB gas shocks all the way around.
|Brakes: Restored 11-inch Mopar drums at all corners.
|Wheels/Tires: Steel wheels (14x51⁄2-inch front, 14x61⁄2-inch rear) wear OEM 1963 Dodge dog dish caps and reproduction Firestone Deluxe Champion bias-ply tires (7.50-14 front, 9.00-14 rear)
|Paint/Body: Restored original '63 Dodge unibody wears its OEM aluminum hood, hood scoop, bumper and brackets, filler panel, front valence, fenders, and wheelwells. Paint is BB-1D Onyx Black.
|Interior: Restored stock benches with Legendary's reproduction blue vinyl covers, Auto Custom Carpets carpeting, and a restored (by Special T's Restorations) stock steering wheel.