Once A Pile Of Junk, This 1962 Plymouth Fury Is Now A Spotless Max Wedge Gem
The 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8, which debuted in 1964 as a race-spec engine and was made available as a street-spec engine starting in 1966, is probably the best Mopar engine of all time. It was produced until 1971 and provided the power for several legendary muscle vehicles, such as the Plymouth Belvedere, Road Runner, and Barracuda, as well as the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Coronet.
All these classics from the golden muscle car era are rare and highly sought-after nowadays, with some of them fetching more than $1 million. But that’s not to say that the 426 HEMI is the only notable high-performance V8 from the era. While not as famous, the Max Wedge is actually an even rarer gem from the 1960s.
Short for Maximum Performance Wedge, the Max Wedge was first introduced in 1962 and discontinued right when the HEMI hit the market in 1964. Much like its successor, it was developed as a race-spec engine that eventually found its way into road-going cars. Based on the RB block, the Max Wedge displaced 413 cubic inches (6.8 liters) in 1962 and generated 410 or 420 horsepower, depending on the compression ratio.
Chrysler enlarged the mill to 426 cubes in 1963 and output increased to 415 or 425 horsepower, again depending on the compression ratio. The latter version was just as potent as the 426 HEMI that followed. The Max Wedge found its way into both Dodge and Plymouth vehicles, which were known as Ramchargers or Super Stocks, respectively.
The package debuted in the Plymouth Belvedere and Dodge 330 in 1962, but ended up on the options lists for models like the Savoy, Sport Fury, Dart, and Polara. But unlike the 426 HEMI, which was built in more than 10,000 units, the Max Wedge V8 saw daylight in far fewer examples. Chrysler sold only a few hundred per year and splitting across all nameplates resulted in a few dozen per model.
The Plymouth Sport Fury convertible you see here, for instance, is one of only 13 that got the Max Wedge package in 1962. Moreover, it’s one of only seven cars also equipped with the TorqueFlite automatic transmission and one of only three finished in red.
And according to the Chrysler Registry, it’s the only one still known to exist. What happened to the other 12, you ask? Well, these Max Wedge cars were raced extensively back in the day, so they were either wrecked or modified and abandoned when their racing career came to an end.
In fact, this red drop-top has a similar story, but it was lucky enough to be discovered and restored to original specifications. Bought new by a guy named Don Long, this Sporty Fury hit the drag strip as soon as it left the dealership, winning every single race it attended in the NHRA SS/SA class at Deer Park Raceway near Spokane, Washington.
It’s unclear what happened to it after its successful maiden season, but the Fury was discovered in rough shape in a salvage yard in Montana in 1995. Just a rusty body shell with no interior and drivetrain, the Sport Fury was saved by current owner Joe Jordan, who brought it back to life with a period-correct 413-cubic-inch Max Wedge V8. Yes, it’s no longer an all-original classic, but it’s the only 1962 Sport Fury Convertible Max Wedge survivor out there, and that’s incredible, to say the least.
Once a pile of junk waiting to be scrapped, the Super Stock drop-top is now a gorgeous piece of history that runs and drives like it just left the factory. And being such a historically important rig, it also won awards at the Mopar Nationals and the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals.
On top of that, it’s certified as a historical race car by the Antique Automobile Club of America and comes with certification from Mopar expert Galen V. Govier. It’s the kind of classic car most of us will never see in the metal, so this footage from the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) is your best chance to get up close and personal with it. Check it out below.