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Marion Schneider

1964 Dodge Polara 500
This black 1964 Dodge Polara 500 is owned by long time Mopar enthusiast and recent new Mopar Club member Marion Schneider. The Polara 500 with a high performance Street 426 engine was purchased at Dodge City Motors in Farmington, New Mexico on 30 December 1963. Shortly after I purchased the car from the original owner, we retrofit the car with a 426 Max Wedge engine to enhance the performance a bit more.

The car features the huge port Max Wedge heads and an aluminum 15 inch cross ram intake manifold with 2 Carter 625 cfm four barrel carburetors. The camshaft is a high lift 300 degree version with associated valve gear which permits 6500 rpm operations. Most noticeable are the large upswept tuned factory cast iron headers, which dump into 3 inch pipes.

To handle such increased torque and horsepower the transmission is a standard heavy duty Chrysler 4 speed introduced for
operation behind the 426. We retained the 3.23 axle so we could drive the car on the streets and to and from shows. If one wants to use the car primarily for track use, then we would use a 4.33 or higher rear end. As isthe car really moves well on the highway. I actually met a man at last year’ s Mopar show at Auges that remembered this car when it was at the dealers in Farmington before it was sold. Being the first 426 to appear at Farmington, it caused considerable interest among Mopar buffs there. We replaced the heads with Chrysler’s recently available Phase III plus heads, which have larger 2.14 inch valves for somewhat better airflow and power.

Performance of the 426 Max Wedges is well known as they dominated the Superstock classes in 1963 and 1964 with quarter mile ets ranging from 12.7 to 11 seconds and
110 to 125 mph depending on gearing and car weight. As best we can find less than 100 Polara 500’s were equipped with 426 engines in 1964. I saw a claim that only 4 came from the factory that year with 426 Max Wedges.

This car is believed to be the only one of its kind in the state of New Mexico with pretty good certainty. I have gathered considerable information on the Max Wedges and may share some of this information in upcoming newsletters. I personally believe that the Max Wedge cars represent the high water mark for Chrysler performance during its history.