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HomeCar CultureDouble Feature of Max Mopars

Double Feature of Max Mopars

Muscle Car Campy experiences a Super Stock Plymouth and Dodge

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If you really want to start a debate that’ll get people scratching each other’s eyes out, talk about the first muscle car. Plenty of folks believe it was the Pontiac GTO. But then Mopar folks will raise up their hands and shout, “Um, excuse me? Max Wedge-powered 1962 Dodge and Plymouths were the first!” Those of you who believe that will absolutely enjoy the below video.

Nineteen sixty-two was the year the Chrysler Corporation reduced the size of mainstream Plymouth and Dodge models due to a rumor GM was doing the same thing. As it turned out, there was a miscalculation, with the twins out of place in a market were bigger was better. Additionally, the two brands appeared quite ungainly compared to the trim styling coming from West Grand Boulevard and Dearborn.

The lighter weight, combined with the exceptionally engineered 413 Max Wedge (Super Stock for Plymouth, Ramcharger for Dodge), made them prime drag race winners, especially with TorqueFlite automatic. A proper four-speed would not come until 1964, by which the cars were enlarged and styling made more conventional. At this point, the Max Wedge measured 426cid and, come mid-year, it was replaced by the 426 Hemi.

Muscle Car Campy has the privilege of getting a ride & drive in both of these red vehicles: a 1962 Dodge Dart Ramcharger tribute, and an authentic 1964 Belvedere Super Commando, one of 35 built.

If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out other Muscle Car Campy features!

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Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.

9 COMMENTS

  1. In 1958, I recall that the Dodge had a dual quad 361 engine available, that was a pretty hot engine for that time, Also the Chrysler cars had the 300 series cars back then too. Chevrolet had the 348 in 1958 with 3 2 barrel carb.s.as did the Pontiac.

  2. If multiple carburetors are the only measure, then you guys are way off. Hudson had multiple carburetors in 49 or 50, but before WWII, there others that had multiple carburetors as well. Desoto had dual carbs in 57. Pontiac had fuel Injection in 1957. Thunderbirds had Superchargers in 1957. Studebakers had superchargers in 64. If you want to argue muscle cars, start with defining the wheelbase that constitutes a muscle car. Is it 111 inches? 109? Is it horsepower to weight? Is it a Supercharger? There are lots of old cars that would meet these definitions including Duesenberg & Cord

  3. You so funny! But correct, I think. I’ma GTO guy for life, so you know where I stand. But half a$$ed drag Mopars might be considered… if they were mid sized cars with big car engines. As I recall, a child of the ’60s, Mopar didn’t limit engine size by body size. Dad worked for GM all his life, Delco Remy plant in Anderson, IN. He loved big block Impala SS models. I’ma disgrace, cuz GTO, donchakno?
    This discussion has no end, but it’s fun👍

    • I don’t consider those mid-sized. Plus, if they’re going to argue the 1962 413, then we have to include the 1962 SD.

  4. As a child of the late 50s and 60s I remember that a muscle car was essentially the lightest vehicle offered by a manufacturer with their most powerful engine installed. By this definition there were muscle cars for decades before the venerable GTO. However, Pontiac deserves credit for marketing a concise package at an affordable price and good availability. Something no one else had done before. Those half a$$ed Mopars MORE than aquitted themselves over the completion in any year btw. As an owner of a 67 RT 440 Magnum during the 60s I blew some GM and Ford products into the weeds on several occasions in street races.

  5. AWESOME!
    I had at 16 years old and still have it now
    though a yard car…1964 Plymouth Sport Fury 383 Bucket seats..console automatic floor shifter.
    It was once fast and beautiful…could be again!

  6. I had a 64 A864 Belvedere, it had a single headlite grille. They missed this on the one in the video, curious.

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