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By David A Hakim (story and photos)
We’re on the eve of the 12th annual Mopars at the Strip event and are rounding up our muscle to hit the road to Vegas on the MoPower cruise. A tradition that goes back to the original event, fanatical Mopar gearheads meet up at different jumping off points and head to the afterhours hangout which is the Cannery Hotel and Casino located on the outskirts of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Pre-determined meet ups and routes from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California are setup with planned fuel stops along the way. For this year’s event, we’re going to be hammering down in our Scat Pack Forums Charger R/T from Glendora Dodge in SoCal. Glendora Dodge was one of the original Mopar Direction Dealers back in the 1970’s and has been the place to go for Mopar muscle in the Los Angele area for decades. Today, they stock and sell R/T and SRT hot rods for today’s enthusiasts.
The man who makes sure Glendora Dodge keeps an ample supply of go-fast goodies and restoration items in stock is parts manager Matt Deane. Matt has been a fixture at Glendora Dodge for over 25 years with a stint at the legendary Keith Black Racing engines in between. What keeps Matt coming into work every day is his passion for fast cars, high performance products and the love of the Dodge and Mopar brands.
Matt’s bosses who own Glendora Dodge, Dennis Silletto and Lonnie Suchanek, understand performance buyers are the most passionate customers. They know these same consumers who buy crate engines, intake manifolds and carburetors for a 1969 Dodge Super Bee or ’70 Swinger 340 will come back and purchase a new Charger or Challenger R/T for their daily driver.
Matt also shares his vast knowledge of Mopars with just anyone who asks for his advice. He’s a hands-on guy that cut teeth on a 1970 Challenger with 383 in which immediately added the Six Pack induction system, HEMI suspension components and other items and immediately hit the LA cruising epicenters like Whittier and Van Nuys Boulevard. Today, Matt still owns his ’70 sitting next to it in the garage is 2009 Challenger R/T.
We’re looking forward to swapping stories with Matt along four hour journey to Vegas. Heck, we may even take him on in some Dodge trivia. Loser will be buying at the In-N-Out in Barstow!
By Steve Magnante (Scat Pack Forums)
The Joy of Chasing Rare Parts
Part of the thrill that makes up the experience of being a Dodge enthusiast is hunting down the rare parts that go into our favorite cars. You don’t even have to own a complete car to play along. I know guys who seek out engine parts with particularly early casting dates. For them, the thrill is in holding a hard part that was among the very first produced. One collector actually made a shrine out of a 426 Hemi block with a October 1963 casting date. The 426 Hemi wasn’t officially announced until February of 1964 and this ’63 block was one of the very first made.
I’m a player too. I once owned two cast aluminum Slant Six cylinder heads wearing February 1960 casting dates. Rewind; notice I said aluminum. If you’re up on your Slant Six history you’ll know regular Slant Six heads were made of iron. Mine were part of an experimental run of perhaps 100 aluminum heads intended to see if the reduced weight enhanced vehicle efficiency and also to determine if the softer metal led to longer cutter life on the factory machine line.
And though our Modern Mopars have only been in production for a little over a decade, savvy LX parts hounds are learning to double check casting dates, stampings and bar codes in search of oddities and pre-production goodies because they’re just plain cool. Getting back to the early iron, here’s a look at some exotic high flow cast iron exhaust manifolds made for the 1964 426 Max Wedge program. Have you discovered any unique parts at the swap meet - or hiding on your vintage or modern Mopar? Tell us about it! –Steve Magnante
Besides printed reports in vintage car magazines, my first tangible exposure to the legend of the Tri-Y Max Wedge exhaust manifolds was under the tiny hood of JoHan’s 1964 Dodge Polara kit. A 1/25 scale plastic model, the replicas are correct down to the as-cast iron finish. I discovered these miniatures in 1976 as a 12 year old kid. Despite searching, I wouldn’t see the real thing for almost 40 more years!
The big day came on July 13, 2013 at the Chryslers at Carlisle swap meet. This driver-side Tri-Y manifold was made to suit then-current NASCAR rules mandating the use of “factory stock” iron exhaust manifolds in competition. The rule was eliminated for the 1964 race season to allow tube-style racing headers so all Tri-Y development work stopped and stocks on hand were scrapped due to their size and weight. It is believed that less than 10 sets exist today. The number one flange has been repaired with braze. The vendor only had this single item, its twin for the passenger side went missing long ago.
The reverse side further illustrates how Chrysler engineers paired the numbers 1 and 5 cylinders to encourage exhaust gas scavenging. A close look for casting numbers and dates turned up only the typical DPCD (Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, DeSoto) foundry marking seen on most iron manifolds of the era. The seller was asking $1,200 for this single item. Though tempted, I “bought it” with my camera instead of my wallet.
I hit double pay dirt at the same 2013 Chryslers at Carlisle show when I spotted this Tri-Y equipped ’64 Dodge Polara 500 in the special Max Wedge Invitational display. Owned by Anthony MacDonald of Newville, PA note how the inner fender has a special flat-spot to make clearance for the bulky manifold. Though it has been confirmed that no Tri-Y manifolds were factory installed on 1964 Max Wedges, a certain number of these special inner fender panels were made. They were used up on early 1964 Dodge B-bodies until stock was... [Read More]
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