How Fast a 1962 413 Max Wedge Really Was

A common thought about Chrysler race engines is how fast they were. The 413 Max Wedge is no exception. Let’s take a close look at how fast it really was.

The 413 Max Wedge engine was road tested in 1962 and recorded a 1/4 mile elapsed time and speed of 14.40 seconds at 101 mph. The Motor Trend test was conducted with the engine in street trim and on the street. At the drag strip the same Max Wedge car with open exhaust and softer tires ran 13.44 @ 109.60 mph.

During the NHRA 1962 season, the average 1/4 mile elapsed time for cars equipped with the 413 Max Wedge was 12.62 @ 113.77 mph.

In June of 1962, Tom Grove raced a 1962 Plymouth Savoy with a 413 Max Wedge engine and recorded a 1/4 mile elapsed time of 11.93 @ 118.57 mph.

This article will discuss the Motor Trend road test and the 1962 race results in more detail. It includes the name of the drivers, drag strip and the exact times and speeds.

1962 Dodge 413 Ramcharger engine.
1962 Dodge 413 Ramcharger engine

Motor Trend (August 1962)

Chrysler lent Motor Trend a 1962 Dodge Dart equipped with the 413 Max Wedge engine for a road test.

The car had 462 miles on the odometer and was minus all the fancy options and accessories. It had the automatic transmission, 3.91 gears in the rear end and the 11.0:1 compression ratio rated at 410 horsepower. The test car weighed in at 3,440 pounds with a half tank of gas.

1962 Motor Trend 413 Max Wedge road test article.
1962 Motor Trend 413 Max Wedge road test article

Street Trim in the Street

They first tested it on the street, with stock tires and a capped exhaust. The Dart really wasn’t meant to be raced this way. Especially with the capped exhaust, which Chrysler claimed robbed the engine of 70 horsepower.

They were able to run it much faster with the exhaust caps off, but we’ll get to that later.

In street trim they ran into some problems which hurt the times. Wheel spin was a problem. With one foot on the brake, they revved the engine to 2,000 rpm. After releasing the brake, they only went part throttle for the first couple of seconds to try to reduce wheel spin.

Their second problem was the shift points of the transmission. It was supposed to shift the car automatically at 5,600 rpm but their test car was automatically shifting at 4,600-4,800 rpm. Obviously this hurt their elapsed times considerably.

Therefore, the 413 Max Wedge in street trim elapsed times in the 1/4 mile and 0-60 mph were the following:

  • 0-30 mph: 2.7 seconds
  • 0-45 mph: 4.3
  • 0-60 mph: 5.8
  • Standing 1/4 mile: 14.4 @ 101 mph

The following was the car’s speed in gears at 6,000 rpm:

  • 1st gear: 49 mph
  • 2nd gear: 82 mph
  • 3rd gear: 119 mph
Motor Trend Dodge Ramcharger 413 road test results.
Motor Trend Dodge Ramcharger 413 road test results

To the Drag Strip

Motor Trend then went to Central Michigan Dragway and met members of the Ramchargers there. The following people were present:

  • Tom Hoover
  • Jim Thornton
  • Elton Eckstrand
  • Mike Buckel
  • Warren Tanzola
  • Wally Chandler

The Ramchargers bought the following 3 cars:

  1. One of the Taylor Motor Sales cars equipped with 410 H.P. (manual transmission and 4.56 gears). It also had custom headers, extra stiffness in the right rear leaf spring.
  2. Mike Buckel’s car with the manual 3-speed, 4.30 gears and M&H Super Stock street-strip tires (otherwise stock).
  3. Elton Eckstrand’s car with the automatic, 4.30 gears and M&H Super Stock street-strip tires (otherwise stock).

The Motor Trend test car was fitted with the larger, softer Atlas Bucron tires, and the exhaust caps were removed.

Here’s how fast the four 413 Max Wedge powered cars were:

CarDriverElapsed Time & Speed
Taylor Motor Car #1Jim Thornton12.97 @ 113.92 MPH
Taylor Car #2Mike Buckel
Tom Hoover
13.30 @ 112.51 MPH
Eckstrand’s CarElton Eckstrand13.12 @ 111.11
Motor Trend’s Test CarWarren Tanzola
Wally Chandler
13.44 @ 109.76
1962 413 Max Wedge powered cars and their elapsed times and speed.

The car driven by Jim Thornton benefited with the custom headers and 4.56 gears.

The Motor Trend’s car suffered with the 3.91 gears and the inferior tires compared to the other three cars.

Motor Trend’s Key Takeaways

They found shifting at 5,800-6,000 rpm was ideal with the closed exhaust. With the caps off the ideal shift points were 6,200-6,500 rpm.

With the automatic car, use the push buttons to shift the gears yourself and not rely on the automatic shifting in drive. This enables the driver to control the shift points.

4.30 or 4.56 gears are better than the 3.91s. Although the 3.91s are better for highway cruising. I’m unsure about you readers, but I don’t care about highway cruising, give me the 4.30s.

1962 Dodge Polara 500 with a 413 Max Wedge engine.
1962 Dodge Polara 500 with a 413 Max Wedge engine

1962 413 Max Wedge Track Records and Speed

The following table includes track records, elapsed times and speeds of various different 1962 413 Max Wedge drag race cars. These cars were driven by professional drivers, in 1962, doing this for a living and not your average Joe in the street on a Saturday night.

More than likely these cars had open, custom headers, 4.30 or 4.56 gears and street-strip tires like the M&H.

The average 1/4 mile elapsed time and speed of the following 413 Max Wedge cars were 12.62 @ 113.77 mph.

Elapsed Time & Speed
1962 Dodge
410 H.P. (11.0:1)
Woody “Flying Dutchman”Fresno, Ca.
12.42 @ 114.40 MPH
1962 Dodge
420 H.P. (13.5:1)
Dave ChevronFresno, Ca.
12.56 @ 115.97
1962 Dodge

420 H.P. (11.0:1)
Bill Golden “Maverick”Pomona, Ca.
Top Stock Eliminator
12.38 @ 115.38
1962 DodgeJacobsSunshine Drag, Fl.
Top Stock Eliminator
12.90 @ 111.00
1962 DodgeRonnie CoxMooresville, N.C.
Top Stock Eliminator
12.92 @ 112.50
1962 Dodge
420 H.P. (13.5:1)
Bill Golden “Maverick”Colton, Ca.
12.57 @ 115.83
1962 Dodge DartElton EckstrandHagerstown, Maryland12.40 @ 112.50
1962 Dodge DartElton (Al) StricklandHagerstown, Maryland12.02 @ 114.70
1962 Dodge DartAl EckstrandCentral Michigan Dragway12.80 @ 112.50
1962 DodgeBud FaubelYork, Pennsylvania
12.73 @ 114.35
1962 DodgeBud FaubelMason-Dixon
13.08 @ 112.35
1962 413 Max Wedge Elapsed Times and Speed.

Tom Grove and the Melrose Missile

In 1962, Tom Grove was racing a 1962 Plymouth Savoy (Melrose Missile) equipped the 413 Max Wedge engine. The car was produced by Melrose Motors located in Oakland, California.

On July 15, 1962, at Fremont Drag Strip in California, the Melrose Missile was the first production car with a factory option engine to run faster than 12 seconds in the 1/4 mile. The 413 Max Wedge driven by Tom Grove ran a 11.93 @ 118.57 mph.

Tom Grove racing the Melrose Missile
Tom Grove racing the Melrose Missile

If you have any questions to ask me about the 413 Max Wedge elapsed times, send us an email found specifically on my contact page or comment below.

About 38 years ago I assembled my first Mopar engine. It’s at that time my hands on experience with Mopar engines, including the Max Wedge, started. Although my research of the engines started years earlier.

Read More 413 Max Wedge Articles

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413 Max Wedge Horsepower and Torque

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