1965 Plymouth Super Stock, 426 Race Hemi
"The Texas Rattler"
1965 Plymouth Super Stock, Lightweight 426 Race Hemi
The race car pictured above is a complete restoration of car #82 of the 102 Hemi Super Stock cars that Plymouth produced on their Lynch Road assembly line during the second and third month of the 1965 production schedule. Fifteen standard colors were available, plus a "999" paint code that three customers used to specify their own custom paint color. This car was one of only five produced in YY1, Medium Tan Metallic and only three examples are known to survive today.
This valuable example of Mopar racing history has just seen an exhaustive two year rotisserie restoration in which every single nut and bolt has been removed, restored or replaced and reinstalled. The car was essentially rebuilt with original or NOS parts which include an original, correct, date-coded, 1964 block, aluminum cylinder heads, the correct original magnesium intake manifold, the correct original Holley carburetors, the original aluminum engine components, the original factory steel tubing
exhaust headers, lightweight doors /fenders / hood & .017" thick steel hood scoop, aluminum door hinges, "black box" transistorized ignition, etc., etc.
In the approximately 100 photos that follow you will be able to see some of the history and the restoration process of "The Texas Rattler".
THIS VERY RARE AND COLLECTIBLE EXAMPLE OF MOPAR RACING HISTORY IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE, DRAMATICALLY BELOW MY ORIGINAL PRICE.
I AM OPEN TO CONVERSATION WITH SERIOUS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE POTENTIAL BUYERS. I PREFER TO SELL THE CAR PRIVATELY WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE BARRETT JACKSON / MECUM PROCESS. GIVE ME A CALL AND WE CAN TALK ABOUT PRICE. IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, I MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN ACCEPTING A TRADE.
FOR THIS KIND OF INVESTMENT, I HIGHLY URGE YOU TO COME SEE THE CAR IN PERSON, SIT IN IT, START IT UP, HEAR IT RUN, AND DISCOVER THE ATTENTION AND CARE THIS RESTORATION HAS RECEIVED.
One word of apology to all of you that may view these photos. They are large, high resolution images and they may load slowly if you have a dial-up connection. Be patient, it will be worth it! I have copyrighted and coded a watermark into each of the photos to protect them. Sadly, I have discovered photos of the car being lifted from this website and used on others websites without my knowledge or consent. To minimize this unauthorized "borrowing" I have tried to place the copyright notice
where it is obvious but not distracting.
The final checklist of the restoration was completed in August, 2008, in time to attend the invitational All Hemi Reunion in Salem, Ohio.
During the two year restoration process, I had been very greatly aided by Jim Schild, author of the "Authenticity Guide - 1965 Dodge and Plymouth Hemi Super Stock" books. Jim's consultation and research were invaluable in finessing the small details of the restoration and I was eager to get his impressions of the car after personally inspecting it when I arrived at the show. At the time, I remember him saying "this may be the best restored 1965 R0 Hemi in the country".
Later, when I emailed him, asking permission to use that quote here on the web site, he graciously wrote back: "Thanks for the note. That is fine. You can use anything you like of mine. So far.... your car is the best that I know of. I have told others of that opinion. "x x" says he is trying to equal it with the work he is doing on the "x x" Dodge, but it will be difficult with the attention that you have put into the car. I would vouch for yours anywhere. You have set a new standard".
In the next three pictures, which were very generously donated by Leo Simpson, the original owner of the car, you can see what "The Texas Rattler" looked like in May of 1966.
This car, R051189660, was produced on the last day the 1965 Hemi Super Stock Plymouths came down the assembly line. The line workers had instructions to leave out the door glass, the quarter glass, and the rear glass as the final assembly area team would install the .080 inch Corning glass that had been chemically tempered. The interior on all the cars, no matter the exterior color, was specified to be the lightweight L1T tan vinyl which covered the lightweight bucket seats and the door panels. The rear seat
and replaced by a cardboard divider. Special carpet without the jute backing covered the floor in three sections.
At the final assembly point, several craftsmen fabricated an exhaust system, using the rather crude, but effective, steel tubing headers that the engineers had designed. The hood was cut to accept the thin steel hood scoop and the rubber seals that would cover the aluminum velocity stacks on the adaptor plate, which was shipped to the dealer in the trunk of the car. The chrome plated aircleaner was installed on the motor.
After final inspection, the car was loaded on a transporter and shipped in January 1965 to Mingle Motors in Port Arthur, Texas. An experienced local racer had arranged for the dealer to sponsor the car and it was given the name of the "Texas Rattler" and a coiled south Texas rattlesnake was painted on the doors.
The car was very successfully campaigned around the Orange, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Golden Triangle Dragstrip area for several years, and one local racer very recently told me after finding this web site, that he could not recall the "Texas Rattler" ever being beaten in a scheduled or impromptu match race that was so popular in those times.
The 1966 NHRA Winternationals in Pomona California saw an appearance by the "Rattler" as it went deep into eliminations, only to be defeated in the semi finals by the event's Top Stock Eliminator, Shirley Shahan in the "Drag-On-Lady" SS/A car. Shirley ran a 11.26 ET @ 125.76 MPH to win the title. In months to come, the "Rattler" would eventually hold the national record for it's class for about a year.
After several seasons racing, the car was sold to a racer in Lake Charles, Louisiana and the Mingle Motors sponsorship details were removed from the rear fenders. The following pictures come from that time period.
By the mid 1970's the car had again been sold to a new owner in Louisiana. His driver was also a pretty good paint and body man, so the original Medium Tan Metallic paint of the car was replaced with a very bright BB1 Black over very straight body panels. Along the side was painted, in pink letters, no less, "Pink Panther"!! Some of the local Louisiana racers have recently discovered this web site and the car they used to know , and some of my new frieds will, hopefully, be able to find some photos
of the "Pink Panther" and I'll immediately put them up here on the site. Stay tuned for more!
This owner was serious about competition, so a new motor was built by a famous name shop on the east coast, the paint scheme was changed again to a tan, white and red combination with the two racers names on the door. A Jim Hale specification 1965 Hemi motor and, later, a Barnett Automotive investment, allowed the car to go quicker and quicker. By 1981, the paint scheme had been changed again with a silver nose, a blue tail and some orange stripes on the side.
The new team, Romero and Gary, were really sorting the car out and it eventually was able to run as quick as 10.02 seconds in SS/BA (Super Stock B Automatic) and 10.06 seconds in SS/CA in the low to middle 130 mph range which were very very respectible times for that period in drag racing history.
The photos of the car below have been generously donated by Woody Gary of New Iberia, Louisiana and one of the photos shows Woody in the car at the 1981 Cajun Nationals, where he finished as high as the quarter finals in Super Stock eliminations.
In the early 80's, the car was listed for sale in NHRA's National Dragster newspaper. It caught the eye of a racer in the Hoffman Heights, Illinois area and a deal was stuck to sell the car to him.
After a season or two of racing, disaster stuck the original "Texas Rattler"
At the big end of the strip, something went wrong... perhaps a fire started. The bulkhead connector that feeds the engine wiring harness through the firewall to the under dash harness appears to be melted from a great deal of heat. My suspicion is that an electrical short in the fusible link started an electrical fire. In any event, the story goes that the driver tried to bring the car to a panic stop, flat spotting both of the front tires
when the brakes locked up and the car went off the end of the drag strip into a field. The car rolled and flipped, with only the NHRA-required roll bar preventing more serious damage to the car and injury to the driver.
Not long after the incident, the remains of the famed "Texas Rattler" were sold on a Bill of Sale, including all the previous Titlework, to another 1965 Hemi racer in Kansas. That fall, the bare shell, stripped and gutted of all the unique parts only used on the 1965 Plymouth R0 cars and without a front or rear suspension, was again sold, dropped onto a flatbed trailer and taken to eastern Ohio. Sadly, the "Texas Rattler" sat on the ground, in the dirt, unprotected from the weather for the
next 24 years until I finally located it and brought it to Colorado for a full restoration in November of 2006.
The rest of the photos below detail the process of finding, then bringing the 1965 Plymouth Belvedere I Lightweight Super Stock Race Hemi "Texas Rattler" back from the edge of the grave and reintroducing it to the Mopar collector's world at the All Hemi Reunion in Salem Ohio over the weekend of August 22, 23 and 23, 2008.
As mentioned earlier, this restoration is perhaps the most accurate and correct restoration of any of the 1965 Hemi R0 cars. Parts used in the restoration are date code correct replacements in addition to parts that came installed on the car when it came down the Lynch Road assembly line in late 1964.
If you have an interest in acquiring this valuable piece of Mopar and Hemi racing history for your own collection or for the collection of someone else, please contact me at the phone or email address below.
Here are two photos of the Texas Rattler when it was on display at the 2009 Mopar Mile High Nationals held at Bandimere Speedway in Denver over the weekend of July 10, 11 and 12, 2009.
This car always draws a crowd when on display, and it was a nice compliment to be invited to appear at the Mopar Corporate display.
If you have a serious interest in these cars, you absolutely MUST go to Darrell Davis' web site and purchase one or several of the definative books on the Chrysler Production Summaries for these cars. I am not kidding when I say that these books are literally worth their weight in gold.
As a retired Senior Vice President at Chrysler, Mr. Davis spent untold hours going through the archived production records to compile (among other important memos, bulletins and correspondence) a list of the sequential VIN numbers, the receiving sales zones, receiving dealer code numbers, paint color codes and quantities of each , shipping dates and option codes for these cars. Largely because of Davis' work, there is now a list of VINs that match up to the Sales Order numbers (with the additional code numbers)
that are stamped in the secret places on the body, now making
it virtually impossible to "fake" a car that does not have all the original numbers. Fraudulent attempts to deceive a potential owner with a "clone", or "tribute" car are now impossible.
If you are a serious Mopar collector, you can contact him at
Darrell L. Davis
100 Tech Drive
Sanford, Florida 32771
(407) 330-9090 (FAX)
or you can go directly to Darrell's store on eBay at Darrell Davis Max Wedge and Race Hemi Books
In addition to the Davis books listed above, you should also get copies of Jim Schild's books to revisit the development and history of the Max Wedge and Hemi race cars.
Filled with impecable research, the 1965 Authenticity Guide is essential reading for someone who is considering the purchase of one of these cars or is dedicated to the meticulous and correct restoration of one of the original cars.
Amazon carries "Maximum Performance - Mopar Super Stock Drag Racing 1962 - 1969" Click here to purchase the book through Amazon
Better yet, Mr. Schild has authored several other books that are invaluable such as the Authenticity Guide - 1964 Hemi Super Stock and the Authenticity Guide - 1968 Dart and Barracuda Hemi Super Stock books. You can reach him at The Auto Review, 5 Rowan Oak Lane, Columbia, Illinois, 62236-4148 or via email at JSchild@htc.net
Lastly, I would like to direct you to an excellent web site full of great information on all facets of the Max Wedge and Race Hemi cars that Greg Lane has put up. This site is chock full of knowledge that any serious Mopar collector needs to have.
Greg has been absolutely invaluable in the restoration of this car, both in terms of locating hard to find parts, many of which came from his own private stash of rare, hard-to-find "Mopar Unobtanium" goodies, to explaining the smallest, arcane bits of virtually unknown information that every true early B-body Mopar collector is seeking.
I can't tell you how many times Greg came through with a sharp, detailed photograph of the precise date-coded item that I was searching for. And... with his network of nation-wide contacts he knew where to buy it if he didn't have it himself.
If you have historical Mopar records or Dodge or Plymouth cars or parts that you want to either buy or to sell, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to contact him at this address Greg Lane's Race Hemi and Max Wedge web site
Did you get the sense that I really mean it..... Go to his web site and contact him? Just do it! The photo below is courtesy of Greg Lane and his computer.
For further information, call Gordon @ 303-324-3300 or