Max Wedge Mopar Engine
Mention Max Wedge around vintage muscle car or Mopar fans, and they'll mentally launch back to the early '60s. In those days, the name affectionately referred to a three-year-long series of Dodges and Plymouths manufactured mainly for straightaway performance. The cars were powered by high-output wedge-head V8s designated by Chrysler Corporation as Maximum Performance powerplants. Before too long, factory engineers, enthusiasts, racers, and buff-book writers, all with known propensities for too-cool nicknames, had simplified the moniker to Max Wedge.
1. Max Wedge Heads
To support these cylinder-filling systems, the Max Wedge engine also featured special cast-iron heads with 2.08-inch tulipped intake and 1.88-inch Mopar exhaust valves, dual valvesprings, and adjustable rocker arms. Ports were 20 to 30 percent larger (in volume) than those in any previous B-engine head, and they were cast without any crossover provisions for channeling exhaust heat to the intake manifold.
2. Max Wedge Short-Block
With high-lift, long-duration solid-lifter cams, a double-roller timing chain, extreme-duty rings and bearings, forged-steel hardened-journal cranks, full-floating pins in fat-beam rods, forged-aluminum high-compression pistons, and dual-breaker ignition systems, the Max Wedge engine output ratings ranged between 410 and 425 hp.
In its development of the '62–'64 Maximum Performance versions of its production B-series wedge engine, Chrysler's focus was clearly on optimized breathing. It's what precipitated the Maxi motors' most prominent physical characteristics—their totally radical (for the time) intake and exhaust manifolds. Whereas previous Chrysler B-engine cross-ram manifolds had been two-piece assemblies, the Maxi intake is a dual-carb, cross-ram aluminum single-piece casting that covers almost the entire top of the engine.
Specially assembled by Chrysler's Marine and Industrial Division, the 12.5 and 13.5:1 high-squeeze engines were intended only for competition. But a low-compression (11:1) base Max Wedge engine would, under most climatic conditions, run well on the street, too. Some low-ratio Maxis were actually dealer-fitted with air conditioning.
Molded in cast-iron, each 40-pound Max Wedge exhaust manifold had generously proportioned, upswept runners, along with a 3-inch "collector" outlet.
6. New Transmission
New for '64 production was the A-833 four-speed. The TorqueFlite trans gave Stock-class and Super Stock Maxi drag racers an automatic advantage, but the single four-barrel Max Wedges that ran in NASCAR were not fitted to any production models.
Each Chrysler division slapped its own official names on these cars and engines. From '62–'64 Dodge referred to the Max Wedge as the Ramcharger 413 and Ramcharger 426. Plymouth called its version the Super Stock 413/426.
Max Wedge cars
These high-output 413 and 426 ci engines were available as optional equipment exclusively in Dodge and Plymouth B-body intermediates sold through new-car dealerships nationwide. Most popularly fitted to two-door sedans and hardtops, the Max Wedge engine was actually offered in all Dodge and Plymouth models and body styles including four-doors, convertibles, and, in the later model years, station wagons.
All Max Wedge cars came standard from the factory with Mopar extra-duty drivetrain, suspension, chassis, braking, cooling, lube and electrical systems. All were severe-service wares developed for Chrysler's earlier 300 models as well as for the durability demands of police and taxi fleets. So when a Maximum Performance wedge was factory-fitted to any one of the nearly 3,000 Dodge and Plymouth models built with the engine between 1962 and 1964, that entire extra-duty automobile was, still is, and will always be called a Max Wedge car.