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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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May 2005 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
MoPaR
By Robert McLellan
 

From the 1950s through the early 1970s Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler stood out as performance machines. First the Hemi engine, then RAM-induction, the Letter Cars, to just increasing displacement and cranking up the power. Chrysler established a bond with enthusiasts that rivaled the "we are a Ford Family First, Last and Always" attitude among Ford owners which began in the 1920s. The legend lives on among MoPaR collectors and today a 1970 'Cuda or Charger Daytona will fetch more money on the auction block than Ford or GM rivals.

Chrysler Corporation spread their performance image through multiple models and body styles. Plymouth began its magic in 1958 when it introduced its Fury with the Golden Commando V8 and electronic fuel injection system. By 1961 it had a 413 CID with 375 H.P. In 1964 a 425 H.P. 426 CID Belvedere Satellite became available. The Road Runner was introduced in 1968. The 1967 Barracuda, meanwhile, advanced through performance stages along with the new 1970 Duster. Special models and special engines, with variations in trim and interiors.

 
 
 
       
       
       
 

Meanwhile, Dodge made progress in performance in the mid-1950s with its Super Red RAM V-8 with hemispherical combustion chambers. In 1956 this became the D-500 with 295 H.P. From there to the Polara 500, Coronet and the "Dodge Rebellion" campaign of high performance models moved rapidly with "Dodge Fever". The Coronet became the Coronet 500, Coronet Super Bee, etc. The Challenger, likewise, along with the Charger and Dart, all created special performance and decor packages.

 
 
 
       
       
       
       
       
 

Chrysler introduced its Hemi V-8 in 1951 and hot rodders took notice. Many a dragster was powered by the Hemi engine in the 1950s. Recognizing what they had accomplished, Chrysler began promoting the engine with their Letter Cars in 1955 as the C-300 with 300 H.P. A grand success, this was followed the next year with the 300B with 355 H.P. In 1963 the 300J developed 390 H.P. The 1965 300L was the last Letter Car, but the 300 Series continued on.

 
 
 
       
       
       
 
www.moparwebring.org
www.moparts.com
www.Allpar.com
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, May 2005
 
 
 
 
 
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