"If you can't beat 'em, outlaw 'em" was the motto painted on the back windows and fenders of Chrysler's sanctioned NHRA racers during the '65 NASCAR season. Chrysler's corporate participation in both national racing bodies had shared budgets and development funds. The tides changed with the introduction of the 426 Hemi at the Daytona Speedway on February 23, 1964, and its subsequent 1-2-3-4 sweep. Chrysler dominated nearly every track, stomping out every competitor with their new elephant engine in 1964. Knowing the other manufacturers couldn't compete on an equal level, the advantageous Hemi was banned the subsequent year. Chrysler withdrew from NASCAR, boycotting the organization completely, and invested all of their efforts into NHRA.

The '65 NHRA season yielded unprecedented leaps in performance for Chrysler. Previous model years instigated the cubic-inch wars between the competing manufacturers. Chrysler's B and RB engine blocks started with a conservative 350 inches in 1958. by 1962, the wedge had become a race-bred 13.5:1 compression, 420-horse 413. The following year brought the Max Wedge up to 426 cubes, making 425 hp at 5,400 rpm. externally identical with its precursor-the 413-the 426 Max Wedge made an indelible mark on the NHRA circuit. Chrysler mated these powerplants to factory lightweight machines. The Dodge 330 and Plymouth Savoy were stripped down to bare bones: no backseat, no armrests, no radio or heater, Lexan windows, aluminum doors, front fenders, hoodscoop, and only single front headlamps.

The NHRA officials had gotten wise to many of the tricks used by the professional racers. Author of The 1965 Dodge and Plymouth Hemi Super Stock Authenticity Guide, Jim Schild tated, "Chrysler's answer to this challenge created some of the most important factory drag race cars ever produced. Late in 1964, production began on the '65 Race Hemi package cars with sale codes of W01 for Dodge and R01 for Plymouth." (On a side note, automotive historians debate over the original coding suffix, between 051 and 01. Historical sources we have found show the 051 code is considered correct by Chrysler's documents.) the '65 factory race cars were completely finished, purpose-built, full-size automobiles built expressly for winning at the drag strip. In lieu of the previously used plastic windows, special chemically-tempered lightweight Corning glass was used in 1965. The rear quarter windows were fixed, thus eliminating the window regulators. Since the NHRA expelled the use of aluminum body panels, Chrysler opted to build the fenders, hood, scoop, and doors out of 0.018-inch steel. The front bumper was made from slightly heavier metal, but, nonetheless, was light. Other reports record bare materials were chemically milled and acid dipped. This eventually became one of the tricks that professional racers used, as well as the factory when they built the altered-wheel-base cars later that season.