Lot Number

1964 Plymouth Belvedere Race Hemi

Sold For $82,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 19 - 20 JANUARY 2017 - Offered from a Private Collection

Chassis No.
  • Offered from a private collection
  • Rare “transitional” model, with lightweight features and the 426 Race Hemi
  • One of fewer than 15 “transitional” Belvederes built
  • Beautifully maintained full restoration by MoPar specialists

425 bhp, 426 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed TorqueFlite transmission, torsion bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 116 in.

Chrysler’s Max Wedge engine was the premier competition mill of the early 1960s, particularly in the 425 horsepower, 426-cubic inch Stage II configuration introduced in 1963. That year, however, a new development program, for a car that could win at Daytona, turned not to pushing the envelope of the Wedge design, but to pursuing a refinement of the old hemi-head engines of the 1950s.

Beginning with a standard RB block, Chrysler engineers Tom Hoover and Don Moore fitted new “hemi” heads, with 12.5:1 compression, initially of cast iron mated to an aluminum short-ram intake manifold. Four engines powered by the new Hemi V-8, piloted by Richard Petty, Jimmy Pardue, and Paul Goldsmith, finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the 1965 Daytona 500. The thrill of victory was short-lived, however, as, in the way that NASCAR often does, the body came down hard and required that several thousand street Hemis be manufactured and sold. As a result, the MoPars all sat out the 1965 season, while Chrysler factories began churning out Hemis for the public to sate the sanctioners.

The Plymouth Belvedere offered here is considered a “transitional car,” from the period where the Max Wedge Lightweight (factory-built with aluminum front end sheet metal and stripped interiors) briefly met up with the availability of the new Race Hemi in April 1964. Between nine and fifteen such cars were produced, all with varying features. This car lacks the aluminum components but has the Lightweight features of bare bones appointments and a trunk-mounted battery, while under the hood is a Race Hemi. Reportedly, the car was ordered with a Max Wedge, but came through with the Hemi, which had just been introduced to replace the latter. One doubts the original owner complained!

Muscle Car Restorations of Wisconsin, restored this Belvedere in 2004 for the well-known Washington State collector, Jack Brundage. The car is finished in the original red that Plymouth dubbed “Ruby,” with an interior in matching vinyl and carpeting. The workmanship is all of top quality, including the paint, brightwork, and interior, while the engine compartment is correctly detailed, without being overdone. Steel wheels with “poverty” hubcaps are mounted, shod in Fisk SR4 blackwall steel radial tires. A dossier of documentation is included with the car, which has been properly preserved since restoration with a freshly rebuilt engine, and has some 6,300 miles, which may be original.

A rare MoPar with one of the first examples of the hottest engine, this car would be an unbeatable choice for any muscle collector.

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