In 1963, more horsepower and less weight are the rule, everybody’s got a lightweight car with aluminum this and fiberglass that. Everyone was terrified of the Z-11 427 Chevys, well except for Dick Brannan and his 63 lightweight Galaxie and the Ramchargers and their 63 Max Wedge Dodges. Both cars won national events and held records. Pontiac had a lightweight car that they drilled holes in the frame and support structure and used aluminum exhaust manifolds that would melt if you ran the cars too long. Ford also has another trick up its sleeve, Tasca Ford, a Rhode Island dealer, took a page from Pontiac’s book and stuffed a 427 Galaxie motor into a lightweight Fairlane. So we have some A F/X Tempests and a Fairlane and a slew of Mopars.
In 1964 Ford commits to the cause by building 11 427 High Riser powered Fairlanes called “Thunderbolts” and sold them to selected racers.
Up to this point things have been mostly about more horsepower, bigger motors, and lighter weight. One of the problems that everyone encounters is traction, how to get the power to the ground. There are several limiting factors: tires, weak transmissions, wheel hop, and weight transfer. Tire technology was barely out of the recap era, when you could have your street tires “capped” with stickier rubber that didn’t have any tread. Drag slicks were in their infancy and you could only get so much tire in the wheel well anyway. Transmissions were developing at a rapid pace, 3 speeds evolved to four to give more bottom end grunt and automatic transmissions were getting better. Chrysler cracked the code on the automatics with its “Dial-a-Win” push button transmission.
More to come, until then, keep modeling!
"Rat Fink" Ron