Dodge's one-year flirtation with downsizing ended for 1963, and its big models returned to the 119-inch wheelbase. Plymouth stuck with the 116-inch span, but both divisions cleaned up the styling. No sign of fickleness under the hood, however, where the devastating new 426-cid wedge awaited. Indeed, the 1963 Plymouth 426 Wedge was a mighty engine that could be found in a number of the automaker's muscle cars.

Muscle Car Image Gallery

1963 Plymouth 426 Wedge is a muscle car. This Dodge Ram Charger is a stock car for drag racing.
©2007 Publicatioins International, Ltd.
Full-size Dodges and Plymouths lost some of their eccentric styling in 1963,
but Belvederes like this one had incredible engines under the hood. See more muscle car pictures.

This was basically a bored 413, again called the Ram Charger at Dodge and the Super Stock at Plymouth. Dual Carter four-barrels and the upswept ram's-head exhaust headers were retained. But the 426 got a host of internal beef-ups to make 415 bhp on 11.0:1 compression or 425 bhp on 13.5:1. Stage III 425-bhp versions followed during the year with further modifications including larger-bore carbs, recast heads, and 12.5:1 compression.

1963 Plymouth 426 Wedge is a muscle car. The Dodge Ram Charger is a stock car for drag racing.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
This 415-bbp version provided pure power.

Preferred transmission was a heavy-duty TorqueFlite automatic, which again used pushbutton gear selection. The alternative was a floor-mounted three-speed manual; Chrysler didn't yet have a four-speed. Available axle ratios ranged from 2.93:1 to 4.89:1.

1963 Plymouth 426 Wedge is a muscle car. The Dodge Ram Charger is a stock car for drag racing.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The interior of this muscle car was without frills;
it featured a floor-shifted three-speed manual.

This was serious ordnance, ill-suited for everyday use. Indeed, brochures warned that the 426 was "not a street machine" but was "designed to be run in supervised, sanctioned drag-strip competition ... Yet, it is stock in every sense of the word."

Plymouth offered the 426 Wedge in all full-size models, from the sleeper Savoy to the luxury Sport Fury, and even made available a race-ready aluminum front-end package that trimmed 150 pounds.

1963 Plymouth 426 Wedge is a muscle car. The Dodge Ram Charger is a stock car for drag racing.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The Plymouth 426 Wedge was offered in a wide range
of models, such as in this Belvedere.

Mopar's most-popular street performer in '63 was the 330-bhp 383-cid V-8. But the 426 Wedge was there for the asking. Hot Rod fueled a 13.5:1-compression version with 102-octane and took it to the Pomona dragstrip. Running a TorqueFlite with a 4.56:1 gear, the magazine smoked a 12.69-second ET at 112 mph.

The 1963 Plymouth
Belvedere 426 Wedge
Specifications
Wheelbase, inches: 116.0
Weight, lbs: 3,400
Number built: NA
Base price: $3,000

Top Available Engine
Type: ohv V-8
Displacement, cid: 426
Fuel system: 2 x 4bbl.
Compression ratio: 13.5:1
Horsepower @ rpm: 425 @ 5600
Torque @ rpm: 480 @ 4400

Representative Performance
0-60 mph, sec: 6.5
1/4 mile, sec @ mph: 13.66 @ 107

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For more cool information on muscle cars, see:
  • Plymouth muscle cars spanned the spectrum from fanciful to fearsome -- and sometimes displayed both qualities in a single model. See profiles, photos, and specifications of Plymouth muscle cars.
  • Muscle cars came in many shapes and sizes. Here are features on more than 100 muscle cars, including photos and specifications for each model.
  • Muscle cars created their own culture. To learn about it, read How Muscle Cars Work.

These muscle car profiles include photos and specifications for each model:

For related car information, go to these articles:
  • The engine is what gives a muscle car its flamboyant personality. To learn everything you need to know about car engines, see How Car Engines Work.
  • Muscle cars wouldn't have much muscle without horsepower -- but what exactly is horsepower? How Horsepower Works answers that question.
  • NASCAR race cars embody the muscle car philosophy of power. Read How NASCAR Race Cars Work to find out what makes these charged-up racers go.
  • Are you thinking of buying a 2007 muscle car, or any other car? See Consumer Guide Automotive's New-Car Reviews, Prices, and Information.