If you're like us, nothing fascinates you more than factory prototype cars and parts, especially stuff that never reached the production stage. These dead ends offer the teasing allure of what might have been and are just too much to handle for major league car freaks. So when we first saw the grainy photos of what appears to be a four-carb Max Wedge induction system, we assumed the thing was some type of doomsday device hatched by Chrysler engineers in case the early '60s factory Super Stock wars went nuclear. But first appearances can be deceiving.

Today we all know the production Max Wedge of 1962 - 1964 was only offered with dual Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors arranged in a cross-ram layout. With 15-inch tapered passages and generous plenum volumes, the cross-ram manifold was tuned to take advantage of naturally occurring resonating pulses within the intake tract to deliver a slight supercharging effect above 5,500 rpm-all the while remaining compact enough to fit under stock first generation B-Body sheetmetal.

The '62 413 and '63 Stage II 426 Max Wedges (Dodge Ramcharger and Plymouth Super Stock) featured dual Carter 3447 carbs rated at 525 cfm, along with special solid-lifter cams, high-speed valvesprings, adjustable rocker arms, big port heads, and streamlined iron exhaust manifolds. They were highly effective in combating the Pontiac 421s, Chevy 409s and Ford 406s and 427s in the other lane. But just for good measure, the Stage III 426-introduced in late 1963-upped the ante with a pair of huge Carter 3705s rated at a whopping 750 cfm each.

Think about that. The Stage III 426's dual 750s were capable of supplying a combined 1,500 cfm at WOT. Straddling a 426 cube Wedge, that should be plenty to feed the fires even at crankshaft speeds in excess of 7,000 rpm, which brings us to the crazy induction setup under discussion here. With a total of four Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors, it's got sixteen throttle plates. Lets whimsically call it the Max Wedge Sixteen Pack from here on-even if it predates the actual '691/2 Six Pack by several years.

When accomplished NHRA Stock and Super Stock racer Bob Mazzolini mentioned he owned a complete four carburetor cross-ram a decade ago and has photos to prove it, we jumped on the chance for a look. As you'll see in the following photos, the thing looks exactly like a Chrysler item. It has the same shapes, contours, core plugs, and general characteristics as any standard Max Wedge cross-ram-except for those extra carbs.

Mazzolini tells us he bought it from a seller in California around 1989 as part of a Max Wedge parts stash. It arrived exactly as we see it in these photos, complete with four unmolested Carter 3447 Max Wedge carburetors that still had their choke plates intact. Bob says he resisted the urge to scavenge the rare carburetors-a super hot commodity among class drag racers and restorers alike.

Though he had no immediate use for it, he marveled at its potential and even brought it along to numerous NHRA national events and points meets as a conversation piece. Observers agreed that it appeared to be a Chrysler item but many eyebrows were raised at the sighting of the integrally cast Navarro logo almost hidden between the carburetors on each bank. After a few years of blowing minds, Mazzolini sold it to a collector in Michigan and that was the last we've seen of it.

Or have we? When it comes to Mopar mysteries, clues have a way of popping up in the most unexpected places. During a trip to H&H Flatheads in LaCrescenta, California, to shoot a S.C.o.T. supercharged Ford flathead buildup story (for another magazine . . . obviously), proprietor Mike Herman showed us an unusual aluminum tooling pattern with two four-barrel carburetor mounts positioned close together.