1962-1965 Plymouth 413/426 Wedge

Street racers were always on the prowl for the Next Hot Thing and in 1962, the ones on the cutting edge were trolling for action in two-door Plymouth sedans. Now, one didn’t mess casually with a 421 Super Duty Catalina or even a Ford Galaxie if it had the 405-horsepower 406. But those machines were scarce on the street and rare even at the strip. No, the real top dog was a Chevy Bel Air with a 409-horsepower 409-cubic-inch V-8. It took guts to take on one of these pop-song-prompting 409s. But in 1962 Chrysler did with its new 413-cubic-inch Max Wedge V-8.

Armed with twin 659cfm Carter AFB carburetors mounted in tandem, the 413 made 410 horsepower. Chrysler arrived at the 413 by stroking the B-Block 383, which had been around since 1959, into a taller-deck B-Block known as the “Raised-Block B-Block,” or “RB-Block” V-8. It had a bore of 4.19 inches, a stroke of 3.75, solid lifters, dual valve springs to combat valve float over 6000 rpm, magnafluxed rods, wedge-shaped combustion chambers, and short-ram induction manifolds.

The Plymouth’s engine bay was too narrow to allow the 413’s exhaust headers to exit downward. So Chrysler routed the cast-iron headers upward first in a ram’s-horn sweep that, along with the tandem carbs, became a trademark of this “maximum wedge” engine.

The 413 Max Wedge came to Dodge and Plymouth full-size cars in the spring of ’62 as a limited, high-performance option. Plymouth called it the Super Stock 413; Dodge the RamCharger 413. Most found their way into bare-bones, no-frills two-door sedans ordered primarily for the strip. Already lighter than the full-size Fords, Chevys, Pontiacs -- and even its Dodge Dart cousin -- a 3100-pound Plymouth Savoy or Belvedere could shed even more weight by being ordered without heater, radio, and sound deadening.

Chrysler’s push-button TorqueFlite automatic was the hot choice behind the 413; the three-speed manual was actually slightly slower in the quarter, and the company didn’t offer a four-speed with the engine.

The Max Wedge 413 was as rare -- and as difficult to manage -- on the street as any other factory engine built primarily for competition. But even in such exclusive company, it quickly upset the established pecking order. Super Stock/Automatic records fell like flies and while a 413 lost to the dreaded 409 in the NHRA’s ’62 Super Stock Eliminator world championship, MoPar’s new engine did take a Plymouth where no passenger car had gone before. In July 1962, Tom Grove drove his Super Stock Plymouth to an ET of 11.93 seconds at 118.57 mph. His was the first stock passenger automobile to beat 12 seconds in the quarter. It was just the beginning.

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1964 Plymouth 413/426 Wedge

The 1964 Plymouth Belvedere was basically a carryover, but a new grille and taillamps were added, while the two-door hardtops got a new roof. Their rear roof pillar narrowed as it went down and created a handsome styling signature. This would be the final appearance for the optional push-button TorqueFlite automatic. It was replaced by a conventional column-shifted automatic in 1965.

Still available was the 426 Max Wedge Stage III. But for those who wished to actually make daily use of a big-block MoPar on the street, the ticket was the new-for-’64 426 Street Wedge. Plymouth advertised it as the Commando 426 wedge-head V-8 and billed it as the street version of the 426 Hemi competition engine. It was the sensibile alternative to the Max Wedge Stage III, made so by features like a provision for crossover heat to the manifold, so that it would start in cold weather, and a 10.3:1 compression, so that it could run on something less than aviation fuel.

The Street Wedge used a single four-barrel carb on a conventional cast-iron intake manifold. Its exhaust manifold was conventional, too, without the flamboyant ram’s-horn sweep that gave the Max Wedge headers such allure. But the Commando was no shrinking violet. It was rated at 365 horsepower and had 470 pounds/feet of torque. High performance valve springs, pistons, plugs, and a hot cam were inside. Hydraulic tappets, dual breaker distributor, nonsilenced air cleaner, dual exhausts, and heavy-duty clutch were part of the package.

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1965 Plymouth 413/426 Wedge

The '64 Plymouth 413/426 Wedge's engine was carried over unchanged for 1965, though Belvedere was repositioned in the Plymouth lineup and an upscale version was added. The basic sheet metal continued but with a new grille, single headlamps, and a “Baby Fury” look. Without changing dimensions, the Belvedere line became a mid-size, as Plymouth put the Fury name on a set of longer full-size models with 119 inch wheelbases. New to the Belvedere roster was the attractive premium-level Satellite. It came standard with front bucket seats, center console, custom wheel covers and some up-level exterior trim to set it apart from the lesser mid-size Plymouths. Inside, the Belvedere and Satellite got a new dashboard with integral instrumentation -- a departure from the Jetson look of 1963-64.

The 426 Street Wedge was dropped after ’65 and its displacement soon became synonymous with Chrysler’s King Kong Hemi. The wedge would return in ’66 bored to 440 cubic inches. This was the engine that would carry MoPar into the heart of the muscle years, around which Dodge and Plymouth would build performance cars for a whole new generation of buyers. How many of them, in those fast-changing times, would recall its origins in the barely tamed 413 Max Wedge of 1962?

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1962-1965 Plymouth 413/426 Wedge Specs

Plymouth revised the 413/426 Wedge throughout models years 1962-1965. Get detailed specifications on this muscle car:

1962 Plymouth 413 Wedge
MoPar’s mighty 400-plus-bhp 413-cid V-8 came to the downsized
1962 Plymouth 413 Wedge as a limited, high-performa­nce option.

Engine Type
V-8/RB-Wedge
V-8/RB-Wedge (Max Wedge)
Displacement (cid)
426
425
Horsepower @ rpm:
365 @ 4800
415/425 @ 5600
Torque (pounds/feet) @ rpm
470 @ 3200
470/480 @ 4400
Compression Ratio
10.3:1*
11.0:1/13.5:1*
Bore (inches)
4.25
4.25
Stroke (inches)
3.75
3.75
Valve Lifters
Hydraulic
Mechanical
Availability
1964 Belvedere
1965 Belvedere/Satellite

*12.5:1 in 426 Stage III

Times*:

0-60 mph (sec)
6.8
0-100 mph (sec)
N/A
1/4-mile (sec)
15.20 @ 95.5 mph
Top speed (mph)
130
Axle ratio
3.91:1
Engine type
426/365

*Source: Motor Trend (1964)

Times*:

0-60 mph (sec)
N/A
0-100 mph (sec)
N/A
1/4-mile (sec)
12.69 @ 111.97 mph
Top speed (mph)
N/A
Axle ratio

Engine type
426/415

*Source: Hot Rod (1963)

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