Bob VonSee, a New York City crane operator from Fair lawn, New Jersey, picked up this project car from a friend who had taken care of it for 21 years. This '63 Plymouth Savoy post car was a race car in its former life, and when Bob started work on the car, he carried that theme over with his restification. It's a hardcore performer down to its core, but it has a softer side that includes drop dead good looks that place Bob in the upper echelon of car show entries.
Since Bob was buying a former race car, he knew the Plymouth was only a rolling chassis. The body was in outstanding shape and didn't even have a hint of rust. It did, however, need some work. The floor had been cut up from previous transmission swaps. At one time, it was an automatic car, then it was switched to a four-speed car, and once again, it was changed back to an automatic. So he just decided to replace the floors entirely and start clean. The fenderwells were hacked up from running fenderwell headers so they were replaced along with the trunk, which had been butchered for the fuel cell. The 16-year-old paint job was applied by Fantastic Auto Body. Bob didn't even have to touch it because it was in such fine shape. It's a red PPG base/clearcoat.
The front suspension still uses the factory .810-inch torsion bars with 90/10 Competition Engineering shocks. For the rear, Super Stock springs and Caltrac traction bars are used with 50/50 Competition engineering shocks. All these parts get the job done at the strip. Making sure it looks the part are Weld Pro Stars dressed in the proper attire, Mickey Thompson front runners, and rear Sportsman tires. Outback, the 8 3/4-inch rear uses Richmond 4.56 gears and Moser axles.
Inside the B-Body are custom grey and black velour door panels that match the bucket seats, which were found in a junkyard. The gauges are all Auto Meter with a custom bezel just behind the Grant steering wheel. Five-point racing harnesses are attached to the eight-point rollbar and keep Bob and his wife, Diana, securely inside the Savoy. The welcoming cabin was completed with a replacement carpet kit from ACC.
Bob decided he would build a 440 himself, but during the process that displacement swelled to 500 ci. To achieve this magical number, the block was bored .030-inch over and a set of JE pistons were thrown in and attached to Eagle rods. The rods use Chevy rod-ends to minimize the amount of clearancing needed on the block for the long stroke. A 440 Source forged Platinum Series 4.15-inch stroke crankshaft rests securely in the mains. Total compression comes out to 10.5:1. Topping things off are a pair of cast-iron 906 cylinder heads. Bob gave them some bowl work and mildly ported them to match the Edelbrock Dual-Quad intake manifold. Crane valvesprings and 1.5 roller rockers actuate the Manley swirl polished 2.14 intake and 1.81 exhaust valves. Telling the valves what to do is a Mopar Performance Purple Shaft cam with a .509-inch lift and a 110-degree lobe separation angle. The 500 cubes exhale through a custom 3-inch exhaust that was built by Mufflex Exhaust. It uses stainless steel MagnaFlow mufflers and aluminized pipe. A set of conventional 1 3/4-inch Hedman headers are used-a far departure from the fenderwell headers originally installed on the car. Finally, a pair of Carter 625-cfm carburetors completes the big-block power combo.
Bob lucked out by finding a car in such great shape, but it did take him two years to finally finish his vision on this B-Body. In its current setup, he is able to run an 11.50 at 122 mph in the quarter. These days, the Savoy's duties are to win and attend car shows. This former drag car has a new home, but its performance racing heritage can still be felt.
The former race car still...
The former race car still exudes a hard-core race theme. The 15-inch deep-dish rear wheels look great and fit the tires necessary to put the power to the ground.
Providing the B-Body with...
Providing the B-Body with its power is a 500ci RB big-block. The Mopar Performance Parts Purple Shaft camshaft and ported cylinder heads give it the edge. Inside the block are JE pistons, Eagle rods, and a 440 Source stoker crankshaft.
Inside, safety meets style...
Inside, safety meets style with custom-covered bucket seats with a five-point safety harness. The dash now incorporates a custom bezel with Auto Meter gauges and a Grant steering wheel.
On the business end, Caltrac...
On the business end, Caltrac traction bars and Competition Engineering 50/50 shocks were bred for racing. The 8 3/4-inch rearend is filled with Richmond gears and Moser axles to stand up to the punishment of the big-block power.
The trunk is now home to a...
The trunk is now home to a 10-gallon fuel cell and has been highly polished to help sway car show voters.
'63 Plymouth Savoy Post Car
Fair Lawn, NJ
- Engine: Bob assembled the engine himself. A stroker 440 pumps out 500 ci. The '68 block was bored .030 over and uses JE pistons, Eagle 6.760-inch rods, and a forged 4.15-inch crankshaft from 440 Source. A Mopar Performance Purple Shaft cam has a .509-inch lift, 242-degree duration, and 110-degree lobe separation angle. Cast-iron 906 heads were mildly port matched and received bowl work. The valvetrain handles the large cam with Mopar Performance valvesprings and Crane 1.5-ratio roller rockers. The exhaust leaves the engine through 13/4-inch Hedman headers with 3-inch collectors. Bob had Mufflex fabricate a 3-inch exhaust with aluminized pipe and stainless steel MagnaFlow mufflers.
- Fuel, Air, Spark: Providing the fuel is a pair of 625-cfm Carter carburetors. The factory intake was replaced with a high-flowing Edelbrock dual-quad manifold, and the ignition system was upgraded with a Mallory UniLite distributor.
- Transmission: Dave Johnson rebuilt the four-speed, and it's shifted with a Hurst shifter using a pistol grip and a Ram twin-disk clutch.
- Rearend: A beefy Chrysler 8 3/4-inch rear with 4.56 Richmond gears and Moser axles.
- Suspension: The front uses the fac-tory .810-inch torsion bars with Competi-tion Engineering 90/10 shocks. The rear has Super Stock springs, Caltrac traction bars, and 50/50 shocks.
- Rims & Rubber: Weld Pro Stars are a proven performer at the strip and on the street, and the 15x3.5 front and 15x15 sizes mean business. They wear Mickey Thompson front runners and 33x18.5x15 Mickey Sportsmans in the rear.
- Paint & Body: Fantastic Auto Body sprayed the Savoy with red PPG basecoat and clearcoat 16 years ago.
- Interior: The black carpeting was replaced with a kit from ACC. The seats were sourced from a junkyard and covered in custom grey and black velour, which also covers the door panels. An eight-point rollbar increases safety and incorporates a harness bar with five-point racing harnesses. The dash was updated with a full set of Auto Meter gauges.