The driver-side view shows the same downward sloping profile as a regular Chrysler cross-r
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 front corner of the driver side is seen here. Mazzolini examined the manifold closely
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.
From the front, the ends of each plenum display the same core plug configuration as a stoc
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.
Mazzoilin says, "I placed the induction setup on a '64 Dodge B-Body, and the throttle shaf
We can thank Bob Mazzolini for snapping many of the photographs shown here. Bob says: "My
This grainy close-up is the only shot of the swivel couplers linking the carburetors toget
H&H proprietor Mike Herman holds an aluminum tooling pattern that was hand fabricated by B
Usually this wouldn't be noteworthy until you realize that H&H Flatheads is the sole proprietor of the Navarro speed equipment dynasty. When Barney Navarro (a legendary California hot rodder since day one) passed in 2007, Mike sealed a deal to keep much of the vintage Navarro parts in production. While most of it is centered on Ford flathead stuff, Mike wasn't sure what to make of the dual quad tooling pattern. But we sure did!
Borrowing a stock Max Wedge cross-ram from Max Wedge fanatic Bob Mosher, we placed the pattern atop the manifold and the mystery of the four carb cross-ram was solved.
The Navarro dual carb tooling insert measures 15 1/4 inches from flange to flange. There i
It turns out that Barney Navarro cast an unknown number of these wild four carburetor Max Wedge intake manifolds in the early '60s. Most likely they were made for land speed and marine use. But that's about all we know at this point. Check out the photos and captions and see how the story unfolds.
Best of all, we ran the pictures by Rick Allison at A&A Transmission (makers of reproduction Max Wedge and Race Hemi cross-ram intake manifolds) and he says if there is enough demand, he'll collaborate with H&H Flatheads on a run of reproductions! Can you imagine popping the hood and seeing four carburetors perched atop any 413-440 wedge? Let's make it happen!
Tom Hoover, Max Wedge Project Coordinator (shown above): “I have never seen this manifold
It's Not One of Ours: Chrysler Guys Speak Out
To see if anybody at Chrysler knew of a clandestine collaboration between the factory and Navarro on the quad-carburetor cross-ram, we showed several high ranking ex-Chrysler engineers photos and asked them for their input. These guys weren't only Max Wedge racers, they designed the Max Wedge. Here's what they had to say:
Bill Shope, former Ram Chargers member (1958) and Chrysler ram tuning engineer: "That's an interesting design! It reminds me of the fabricated manifold Barnes Daniels used on his E/Gasser. His was more akin to the Weber designs, but he used 8 Carter side draft carburetors. To sum up, it's an interesting design, but no, I don't think the unit shown in the pictures came from within Chrysler."
One guy who certainly can tackle the job of reproducing the Navarro intake is Rick Allison
Barnes Daniels, former Ram Chargers member (1958-1963) and Chrysler engineer: "I've never seen anything like it. Not sure how a four carburetor cross-ram like the Navarro unit would work, but we sure didn't make it."
Bill Weertman, former Chrysler Assistant Chief Engineer- Engines: "That quartet of four-barrel carburetors is certainly an impressive top end for any engine. No shortage of inlet air capacity-at least not through the carbs. Some dyno work would be needed to see if those extra throats can actually translate to a difference at the flywheel. The photos were the first time I have ever seen or even heard about the setup so I can't help with any additional information. Perhaps Tom Hoover has some knowledge about it".
Though solid evidence is evasive, clues indicate the Navarro four carb cross-ram was made
The Navarro pattern's primary throttle bores measure 1.44 inch and the secondary bores mea
Placing the H&H/Navarro dual-carb tooling insert atop a standard cross-ram (thanks to Bob
If a four carburetor Max Wedge isn't strange enough, how about a four door Max Wedge race