E.T. slip from Irwindale Speedway attests to Dart's mid-12 history. Legendary strip was replaced by big Miller brewery in '80s.
We're guessing this photo was snapped in the pits at Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach, California, during the '62's racing heyday.
get a real full-sized car in the lineup ASAP, or they'd be gone too. (Thus was born the '62% Dodge 880, with the '61 Dodge's front sheetmetal bolted on to the finless '62 Chrysler Newport body.) Chrysler styling chief Virgil Exner got the blame for the '62's styling—and the boot for it—but he and his stylists were merely following orders from the top.
By then, Newberg was out as Chrysler's president, in a conflict-of-interest scandal that broke just a couple of months after he moved into the company's top job.
But something interesting happened: Someone noticed that the new-for-'62 Dodges and Plymouths were pretty fair performers, when equipped with regular production engines like the 225 Slant Six, the 318 Poly and 361-cubic-inch B-engine.
But, put in a higher-performance engine in those lightweight "full-size" cars, and those B-Body cars would fly!
Meanwhile, Chrysler's RB engine platform had been getting plenty of performance upgrades since its introduction in '58, especially when it came to carburetors and intake manifolds—culminating in the "long ram" dual four barrel intakes that were optional on the letter-series Chrysler 300s and Dodge D500s.
Somewhere inside ChryCo, the decision was made: 50 Plymouths and 50 Dodges would be built with a special 413-inch RB, intended for the Stock and Super Stock wars on the nation's dragstrips. There would be two versions—one with "low" (11.25:1) compression, putting out around 390-400 horsepower, and a high-compression (13:1) version, good for 410 horsepower. Both would wear a special "short ram" intake with two four-barrels. Transmissions would be either a floor-shifted Borg Warner T-85 three-speed manual, or a 727 Torqueflite with the same dash-mounted pushbuttons as regular-production B-Bodies.
The Plymouths were built first, at Lynch Road Assembly, in the early spring of '62. About a month later came the Dodges, out of Hamtramck Assembly.
The car you see here was the first of the Max Wedge Dodges built.
Jeff Miranda has always been a fan of the early B-Body, and he'd owned Max Wedges before, including an unrestored '62 Dart, a '62 Belvedere, and one of the factory lightweight '63s. "I've always had a love for Max Wedge B-Bodies," he says. "I've always either had a real one, or I've built clone cars. The '62-'64 B-Body cars are my favorite cars of all times—my preferences are '62, '63, and '64 Dodges and '62 Plymouths."
A couple of years ago, he was searching through "The Big Brown Wishing Book" when he saw an ad for another Max Wedge '62 Dodge. "I pursued it slowly," he says of the process that brought it to his Pompano Beach, Florida, home. "I finally figured out what it was. I wanted the car, I bought it, and as time progressed, I pursued the history of the car. One thing led to another, and this person led me to that person, and it all led me to the items of interest of a car that has this history to it—time slips, buildsheet, drag slicks and wheels." One person that Jeff cites is Steve Marinoff, the Dart's second owner. He'd kept the buildsheet, time slips, and other items that later verified this Dodge's identity.
Was this article helpful?