1963 1964 Plymouths
Charlie writes: I have been drag racing for over 40 years. Let me give a little background.
I was born and raised in Wilmington, CA., which is where Lions drag strip was. I went to high school in the late 50s and every Saturday and Sunday I could hear the sounds at Lions like they were in my back yard, which they were.
I started racing seriously in about 1965 with the first of several Mopars (we didnt call them Max Wedge, they were Stage II or stage III). The first was a 1963 Plymouth Belvedere with a 383 that we got into the high 12s, which was good for those days.
In late 1965 I bought a Stage III motor from Dick Landy for $500, complete with headers, Holley carbs and the 312 Ford lifters he used. That car got into the mid `11s with a 4 speed; it was named Impossible because at first it was impossible to get more than 1 run in because of breakage.
Next came another 1963, this one was a aluminum car bought from Yeakel Plymouth for $1200 because the motor had spun a bearing.
Then came an aluminum 1964 that was run by Mike Vansant of Invader funny car fame.
Around 1969 or 1970 I built a Cuda funny car that had a 392 for power; that was in the days when a regular working person could partner up with a few people and go top fuel or funny car racing and have fun.
So much for the old days, it is now 2007 and again I have another Stage III car: a 1964 Plymouth that I have spent almost 3 years restoring to like new.
Back in the 60s we stripped everything off and threw it away, now every little gizmo is there just like the day it was new. The car is very nice and could compete in the show circuit, but it is being used for what it was built for: racing.
Having only done some testing and three runs at the So-Cal Shootout, the Mopar is in the low 12s and with some changes and tuning will be in the mid 11s, which is where I want it to be. The Plymouth is just like a car you would have seen in 1964 with no modern gizmos, except for a line lock.
One thing that I would change if I could is the pushbutton shifter, as the trany is manual reverse valve body and I am right handed and not as quick as when I was 22, but its coming back and feels almost normal!
Thanks for letting me share these memories with everyone.
You have quite a proud Mopar history! That is a lot of cool memories.
Most importantly, you are still having fun with these fine machines!
June 16, 2007