|Photo Credit: forums.vwvortex.com
The 300A might look like a grandpa mobile, but it is not a car to be taken lightly. The 300 in the name refers to the horsepower it is hiding under the hood. Don’t try to take this grandpa’s wallet. He will beat you down with his cane and leave you with dust in your mouth.
The year was 1955, the era of American Muscle Cars had yet to arrive, so the 300A was designed with luxury in mind not a race through city streets with Steve McQueen at the wheel. The body design was a mashup of the New Yorker, Windsor and Imperial models. It came in three colors; black, white and red. And only 1,725 were built.
As was often the case in this era the 300A was at its heart a response to NASCAR rules and regulations. The engine is a racing engine; a 331 cubic inch (5.4 L) FirePower HEMI V8 with twin 4-barrel carburetors and a performance exhaust system.
The 300A was measured at 127.54 mph during the flying mile. Despite modest sales the car aroused a lot of interest from racing fans and big engine enthusiasts. Chrysler continued their “letter series” through 1965 ending with the 300L.
The 300A was a precursor to the muscle car era and for years this grand daddy of American muscle held the title of most powerful car produced in America. An old school dynamometer testing dynamo!
|Photo Credit: autoreview.info
In 1963 the Plymouth brochure referenced the Max Wedge motor as, “not a street machine…designed to be run in supervised, sanctioned drag-strip competition…yet it is stock in every sense of the word.”
Ahh, the good old days.
Mind you this wasn’t a super motor from the Shelby factory. It was an off the line offering in the era of American muscle. Here are some the details.
The Max Wedge 426 was a beast of an engine, a MOPAR stud that predated HEMI. It came about because Plymouth wanted to take advantage of NHRA and NASCAR rule changes regarding maximum displacement. The result was a V-8 that depending on compression ratio could rip off 415-425 horsepower during chassis dyno-testing. And it was fast, real fast. In ’63 a Max Wedge was piloted to a 12.22 second time at 116.73 mph at the U.S. Nationals.
Because the engine could be fit into several different models most people went for the lightest option available, which was the Savoy (pictured above). Those looking for a smoother ride dropped the Max Wedge into Belvedere and Sport Fury models.
The variety of body style options makes any Max Wedge 426 restoration an intriguing muscle car project. How would you clothe the beast?
By the mid-sixties car manufacturers had recognized America’s fascination with muscle and were actively building cars that were bigger, stronger and faster than their predecessors. However, there are a few models from the early sixties that can be pointed out as clear evolutionary steps in the history of the American muscle car.
The Pontiac Ventura 389 is one of those cars.
Fueled by a Tri-Power V-8 the Ventura had a sky high for the time 345 horsepower with a “Super-Duty” package capable of kicking it up to 363 bhp during chassis dyno testing. The big motor pushed the Ventura from a stand-still to 60 mph in just 8.2 seconds and a quarter mile time of 15.5 seconds.
The 1961 Ventura was a full 200 lbs lighter than earlier models. It had a classic bubble top design and jewel-tone monnokide upholstery. Off the assembly line the Ventura cost $3200. Fully restored a Ventura can go for as much as $60,000-$70,000.
This is not a car. It is a freak show.
We typically focus on classic American muscle cars in this blog. And as any regular reader can tell you horsepower is the thing we get geeked about most. The SSC Ultimate Aero sends us into Quagmire “Giddy giddy,” mode.
The brain child of Jerod Shelby at Shelby Supercars the SSC Ultimate Aero is the most powerful car ever built. It tests out at a mind rupturing 1287 bhp! We have seen some serious muscle during in-house chassis dyno testing, but 1287!? Jerrod, stop by anytime. Please!
The SSC Ultimate Aero is a mash-up of incredible parts and pieces; a Lamborghini Diablo body, a twin-turbo jacked-up (to say the least) version of Corvette’s C5R engine and the same 6-speed manual gearbox as the Dodge Viper.
The SSC Ultimate Aero is so fast NASA and the FIA tested it. Seriously. And understandably. It hit a top speed of 256 mph. And though it hasn’t been verified Shelby claims a 0-60 time of 2.8s. So, basically it’s a rocket.
If you have a million bucks to spare the SSC Ultimate Aero can be yours. As truly awesome as it is, we say skip it. Get yourself a 60’s or 70’s era American muscle car and start your dream muscle car restoration project instead.