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1964 — The Times, They are A’Changing
Things were very different in the United States with a new President, Lyndon Johnson. On August
4th, several North Vietnamese gunboats attacked U.S. Navy destroyers. It was all the action that
President Johnson needed to begin full involvement of U.S. forces in the ongoing conflict in South
Vietnam.

In the Middle East, ominous clouds loomed with the formation of the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO). It was another hot spot for the world to watch.

A welcome distraction came from the music world as the Beatles conquered the unsuspecting
American youth. On April 4, the Billboard Hot 100 listed five Beatles songs all tied for the Number 1
spot. It was an era of the British Invasion as The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and the Dave Clark
Five dominated the music charts.
For super stock drag racing, 1964 was a strange year. There were great changes that evolved into
the Ford Thunderbolt-type cars and the development of the Chrysler Hemi. Those changes,
following on the heels of GM’s racing ban, brought about the total demise of General Motors as far
as racing was concerned; and not just super stock drag racing. There would be almost no
competition from GM automobiles in NASCAR either. General Motors would remain on the outside
of the competition, happy to sell GTOs and Chevelles to the public. However, Ford and Chrysler
unleashed some very potent competition, and the resulting races were incredible. The match race
circuit also saw its share of great races from Chevrolet and Pontiac teams.

The rules for Stock classes in 1964 remained virtually the same as they had been in ‘63. One minor
change was that lower class sports cars would now compete with regular production full-size cars.
Only the top two classes, A and B Sports, remained outside the rules of Stock Class.
Two changes that involved Factory Experimental cars from previous years were put in place for ‘64.
Prior to 1964, any one-off vehicles from the previous year were allowed to compete with the present
year’s vehicles in FX classes. In 1964, ONLY the current year experimental vehicles could compete
in any of the three FX classes. All previous year FX competitors now fell into a totally new class
called “Modified Production.”

In Modified Production (MP), the rules were a combination of stocker rules, with a little of the Gas
class thrown in — very little. All the rules for Stock class regarding street equipment were
incorporated in the MP Class, i.e. lights, horn, body modifications, etc. All of these items not only
had to be in place, but also in working order. Any engine could be used in any body as long as it
didn’t involve any type of modification to the firewall. Lightweight body parts, i.e. fiberglass and/or
aluminum, were taboo unless the car had them when delivered from the factory. Tires allowed were
of the cheater slick variety, in that they had to have a tread design of some type, and a maximum
width of 7 inches. Carburetion was limited to up to two four-barrel carbs or three two-barrels, on any
type of intake manifold. Thus the lightweight aluminum Chevys, Pontiacs, Fords, and Mopars that
had been running in FX in 1963, could now legally run only in MP class in ‘64.
Drag race
There were times when different year
cars were forced to run “heads up”
against other cars with much greater
horsepower. A race at Erie Dragway in
1964 matched the Hine Motors ‘62 413
Dodge against the Hartley Motors ‘64
Dodge Hemi-Charger, without benefit
of a handicap start. The ‘64 Dodge
was later modified with the 2%
wheelbase alteration as well as having
a beam axle. (Jack Bleil)
Ford
Ford had two programs in 1964, one for the full-sized Galaxie and Mercury, and another for the
Fairlane and Comet. Both packages were developed around the basic 427 Hi-Riser drag race
engine that had been used in Ford drag cars since early 1963. With the 4,100 lb. Mercury
Marauder hardtop, the standard 427 Hi-Riser with 11.5:1 compression, mechanical lifter camshaft,
and high-rise, dual-quad intake system, was rated at 425 horsepower. It was offered with a 4-speed
transmission only. With the heavy weight of the Mercury, the car was a natural for A/Stock class.

The 427 Galaxies were another breed of cat entirely. These cars were all-out drag racing machines
in every way. Although they used the same basic 427 Hi-Riser engine, the ‘64 Mk. II 427 included a
new camshaft, redesigned heads with larger ports and 2.19” intake valves, with 1.73” exhausts.
High dome pistons and a redesigned combustion chamber added up to a phenomenal 14:1
compression ratio! It definitely was not a street engine. The new high-rise, dual-quad intake was
used with a pair of 780 cfm Holley four barrels. To get air to the carburetors, a large flexible duct
system drew in fresh, cool air through the inner headlight openings and radiator support panel.
Where previous Ford Galaxies had used lightweight fiberglass front fenders, hoods, and bumpers
to bring the weight down, the ‘64 Galaxie drag package was even more exotic. The entire body was
acid-dipped to make the overall metal skin as thin as possible; and Ford used the 300 series sedan
frame, which was much lighter than the Galaxie frame. The only exception was the hood, which
remained fiberglass and had a distinctive teardrop-shaped bubble over the high-rise, dual four-
barrel setup. Even the front bucket seat mounts were “swiss-cheesed” to save weight. Yet, with all
this weight-saving, the car was still too heavy to get into S/S class, much less be competitive.
However, the lightweight Galaxies fell right into the extreme top of AA/Stock, where they not only
were competitive, they dominated.

The other side of the Ford drag racing program was the renowned Ford Thunderbolt and Mercury
427 Comet programs. The 427 Comets were all by themselves in development. Originally only
eleven A/FX cars were built, ten hardtop coupes and one station wagon, all originally painted white.
The package started with a standard Comet Cyclone hardtop that had the usual lightweight
fiberglass front fenders, hood, bumpers, and doors. To lower the weight even further in front, a 6-
cylinder radiator was used, and the side windows and rear glass were replaced with Lexan. The
cars were even delivered with American magnesium wheels on the front. The racing weight was
3240 lbs.
A Mercury Comet station wagon super stock car.
At the beginning of the 1964 season,
Mercury released the 427 Comet. Built
to compete in A/Factory Experimental
class, there were eleven Comets built:
ten 2-door coupes and one station
wagon. The wagon was campaigned
by Don Nicholson, who switched from
Chevrolet after the ‘63 season. Seen
here at Detroit Dragway in Spring
1964, the wagon had already been
handed over to Eddie Schartman when
Nicholson’s coupe was finished.
(James Genat/Zone Five)
Under the hood was the now-standard 427 Ford Hi-Riser Mk.II drag engine, with the new head
design and 14:1 compression ratio, except that it said “Mercury Super Marauder” on the valve
covers. Although rated at 425 horsepower, the new engine was putting out well over 500 horses on
the Ford dyno. Detroit Steel and Tubing shoe-horned the 427 Hi-Riser into the engine compartment
of the Comet with minimal changes. One major change was a reduction in the height of the shock
towers to clear the heads and exhaust manifolds. The dual Holley four-barrel carburetors drew
fresh air through a pair of scoops on the leading edge of the hood, rather than through the flexible
hose intakes found on both the lightweight Galaxie and the Thunderbolt Fairlanes.
Dodge and Plymouth
At the beginning of the 1964 drag season, the Dodge and Plymouth drag racing packages were
virtually identical to that of late 1963. When the 1964 cars were introduced, the drag package for
Dodge and Plymouth included the new Stage III engine modifications. Although still rated at 425
horsepower at 5600 rpm, the Stage III engine was easily the most powerful wedge engine ever built
to date. It had a completely new set of heads that featured 2.08” intake valves and 1.88 exhausts.
The ports were opened up so big that previous intake manifolds wouldn’t bolt up. The combustion
chambers had undervalve intake bowls. Combustion for the Stage III was 12.5:1.
The camshaft used on the Stage III was also new and radically different from any previous design,
with .520” lift and over 300° duration. With mechanical lifters and stiffer valve springs, the Stage III
could easily rev to over 6500 rpm. Carburetion remained as before, a pair of 725 cfm Carter AFBs
on the short-ram manifold, which had to be redesigned to fit the Stage III heads. The Stage III could
be had with either the proven 727 Torqueflite or the new Chrysler 4-speed manual transmission.
Included with the Stage III drag package was the lightweight front end package of aluminum hood
and scoop, aluminum bumpers and supports, and aluminum fenders. That was the drag package at
the beginning of the ‘64 model year.
Doug Lovegroves Plymouth races against Tommy Grove. Doug Lovegroves Plymouth out runs Herman Mozers Ramcharger.
Doug Lovegrove’s Mashak Plymouth goes
against Tommy Grove and the Melrose Missile V
during Top Stock Eliminator runoffs at the ‘64
Winternationals. Grove won the race at the
starting line as Lovegrove left before the Green.
Grove won with a time of 11.63 and a speed of
124.13 mph. (Author’s Collection)
Doug Lovegrove’s Mashak Plymouth puts it to
Herman Mozer in the ‘64 Ramchargers car in
the semi-final of Top Stock Eliminator at the
‘64 Winternationals, turning an 11.69 ET at
121.78 mph. Mozer lost with a better ET of
11.57, and better speed of 125.52, but was
caught napping at the start. Lovegrove would
lose Top Stock Eliminator to Tommy Grove’s
Melrose Missile on a red light.
(Matchracemadness)
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This has been a sample page from

Super Stock Drag Racing the Family Sedan Super Stock: Drag Racing the Family Sedan
Super Stock takes a look at what was, in the 1960s, the most
popular class of drag racing - factory Super Stock. It traces the
evolution of the cars, the engines, the rules, the personalities, and
many of the teams, from its beginnings in the mid-1950s through to
the 1960s and the era of the Super Stock 409s, Ramchargers, 421
Pontiacs,
406 and 427 Fords.

This was a time when Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors competed
on a weekly basis, at local drag strips throughout the country, and
the saying “...win on Sunday, sell on Monday...” had real
significance in the marketplace. This is also the period that saw
emergence of the term “musclecar” and the production of a whole
class of American automobiles – which are now the most sought
after by collectors, restorers, and performance enthusiasts.
Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - 1955-60 Racing
Chap. 2 -
1961 Drag Racing
Chap. 3 -
1962 Drag Racing
Chap. 4 -
1963 Drag Racing
Chap. 5 -
1964 Drag Racing
Chap. 6 -
1965 Drag Racing
Chap. 7 -
1966-68 Racing
Included in this book are first person accounts of what drag racing
was really like in the early 1960s. How the manufacturers controlled
the competition and even the results of the races, and how the
sanctioning bodies attempted to control the manufacturers, who in
turn simply sidestepped the rules. Appendices include all of the
major event winners and the rules defining the classes as well as
information detailing the engines and chassis’ competing in Top
Stock categories.
Also includes detailed coverage of the American
musclecar era
, coverage of the famous drivers and teams of the
period
and vintage photos and accounts of the early days of
American drag racing.
Softbound
Item: CT495
Price: $
Click here to buy now!
"It's the best, best, best, single work I've ever encountered on a
subject so dear to my heart."
-- Steve Magnante, Hot Rod Magazine,
May 2002
This is a great book and something no racing enthusiast should be without.


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