Old racing pictures

George Klass

Well Known Member
#5
With the S/S and F/X cars, I just had to let the photos speak for themselves. For the most part, the cars that I knew anything about were either the ones I was acquainted with from my general area (SoCal or California areas) or the ones that were well known racers from around the nation (Sox & Martin, Strickler, etc.) and you guys know about them anyway. In 1961 and 1962, I think that the vast majority of 409 S/S cars stayed and raced in their own region. Because there were much fewer Z-11 cars built (1963), we tended to know more about them but even so, only small minority of Z-11 Chevys ever showed up at NHRA National Events.
 

skipxt4

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 13
#6
SuperStocker409: I know, my memory, isn't what it used to be , that looks like Bobby Moore's car.:clap
 

SuperStocker409

Well Known Member
#8
With the S/S and F/X cars, I just had to let the photos speak for themselves. For the most part, the cars that I knew anything about were either the ones I was acquainted with from my general area (SoCal or California areas) or the ones that were well known racers from around the nation (Sox & Martin, Strickler, etc.) and you guys know about them anyway. In 1961 and 1962, I think that the vast majority of 409 S/S cars stayed and raced in their own region. Because there were much fewer Z-11 cars built (1963), we tended to know more about them but even so, only small minority of Z-11 Chevys ever showed up at NHRA National Events.
George your site is awesome can't thank you enough for having it up. I look through it all the time
 

George Klass

Well Known Member
#11
I like the shot of the "bubble top" above, I will use it the next time I do an update if you don't mind. A lot of the shots of '62 Chevy 409's that are shown as running in A/S were actually in S/S in '62. Those photos were taken after 1962. NHRA changed the S/S class formula a little in '63, and many of the Chevy 409's (409 HP rated engines) fell into A/S that year. Hayden Proffitt's red bubble top Chevy for instance ran at the '63 Winternationals in A/S class, which could still compete in the Stock Eliminator category...
 

George Klass

Well Known Member
#14
George, great photos and great info.

I remember the first time I showed up with a set of Z-11 heads and top half.

It was an AHRA track and the inspectors scratched their heads not sure what class.

I got bounced from Gas, Super Stock, even B/S.

I jumped on B/S :)
There was a lot of confusion at NHRA tracks, too. Even at NHRA National Events, especially at the 1962 Winternationals. I know of many NHRA tracks that allowed the Z-11 cars to run in their S/S class instead of the F/X class. The NHRA Stock Class rules were much "looser" at the local tracks, even when that track was a NHRA track. They would tighten up the tech inspections if it was going to be a Division race...
 

Blk61409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 7
#15
The only break I got regarding “looser” run tracks was talking the track manager into getting a by run with an odd number for the top stock eliminator!
Good thing he didn’t remember me from making him stay until about 2am to protest a guy that was going to outrun me, he was 400lbs light!!
Anyway, thanks George for reminding me, I did get stuck in an F/X class one time, results were real ugly!!
 

SuperStocker409

Well Known Member
#16
I like the shot of the "bubble top" above, I will use it the next time I do an update if you don't mind. A lot of the shots of '62 Chevy 409's that are shown as running in A/S were actually in S/S in '62. Those photos were taken after 1962. NHRA changed the S/S class formula a little in '63, and many of the Chevy 409's (409 HP rated engines) fell into A/S that year. Hayden Proffitt's red bubble top Chevy for instance ran at the '63 Winternationals in A/S class, which could still compete in the Stock Eliminator category...
George feel free to use it, would be a honor Sir.
 

George Klass

Well Known Member
#18
In thinking back on the "Super Stock Years" for Chevy and Pontiac it had to be 1962, and ONLY 1962. Although the 409 was released in 1961, they were not really a showroom floor commodity at the time, they were in short supply. In 1962, the 409's were plentiful. By 1963, Chevy really did not have competitive NHRA legal S/S cars. A 409 equipped '63 Chevy was out classed in NHRA competition. Yes, they did have the 427-inch Z-11 package but it was not a S/S legal combination.

On the Pontiac side, 1961 was not really a banner year. Most of the Pontiacs in '61 were equipped with the Super Duty 389 engine. About a dozen 421 engines became available in 1961 toward the end of the year, and none of them were installed in showroom cars. By 1962, the 421 Pontiacs were showroom available. The lightweight (Swiss Cheese) Pontiacs were never classified as S/S legal by NHRA so for all practical purposes, Pontiac was also without legal competitive S/S cars in NHRA competition in 1963.

Ford did field a reasonably competitive S/S combination in 1961 (390-inches). In 1962, Ford bumped the displacement up to 406-inches, but the car was just too heavy. Too some extent, Ford was lucky that their cars were too heavy in '62, it gave them an incentive to release a light weight model in 1963, with the 427-inch engine. So, Ford, Chevy and Pontiac DID have light weight, big inch engine cars in 1963, BUT, neither Chevy or Pontiac produced enough of them to satisfy NHRA that they were "available" to anyone that wanted one. Only Ford did that, they kept building the light weight galaxies. I honestly believe that had Ford known that GM was going to kill off production of the the Swiss Cheese Pontiac and the Chevy Z-11 in 1963 after only a few were produced, I doubt that Ford would have stepped up (or maintained) production on the light weight Galaxie.

And then there were the Dodges and Plymouth S/S cars. In 1961, I can't remember more than 2 or 3 S/S Mopars in NHRA competition. In fact, other than the Ramchargers 1961 Dodge, who else was there in the Mopar camp? But by 1962, it was obvious that their new design was perfect for S/S competition. By 1963 they had bumped displacement from 413 to 426-inches, and in 1964, they released the Hemi. Ford took all the good parts they had installed into the '63 Galaxies and installed them into their Fairlanes in 1964. In essense, 1964 NHRA S/S became a Ford, Dodge and Plymouth show, and that pretty much ended the "Glory Years for S/S".

The only time that all the brands (Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Dodge and Plymouth) were represented in NHRA legal S/S competition with full size cars was in 1962...
 

George Klass

Well Known Member
#20
George, great recap. Your recollection is spot on.

A friend of mine that worked at Ford told me when the Fiberglas 63’s were first made they weighed MORE than the steel cars! It took them many tries to make it a meaningful weight reduction.
I never knew that, but it does stand to reason. The original fiberglass parts were kind of thick.

It was really NHRA that controlled the S/S class in the early 1960's, and not the factories. The primary difference between a S/S car and a F/X car was not the car itself, but how many were produced. The '63 light weight 427 Galaxie and the '63 light weight 427 Impala (the Z-11) were really cookies from the same recipe. If you made enough cookies it was a Super Stock and if you didn't, it was a Factory Experimental, and the number of cookies needed to make it a Super Stock was arbitrary, and entirely up to NHRA.

The evolution of the Super Stock class was moving faster than the factories could keep up with it. In '61, you could purchase a Chevy with a 283 engine, purchase the 409 engine separately, and swap engines, and it was still a "stocker". In '62, you couldn't do that (although, I know of several racers who did, NHRA did not check VIN numbers). In '62 there was no "minimum" number that had to be produced, and in '63 there was, and at that point, the F/X class became as important to the fans as S/S was in '62. So in the end, NHRA had done a huge favor for the factories. Chevy in particular never was able to capitalize on NHRA's F/X class like Ford did with the '65 427 Mustang but by that time it really didn't matter; match racing had taken over and had became the next hot ticket item. This was a huge boon for the fans because they could now go to their local track and see the action (booked in 2 out or 3 match racing), where in the past, they had to go to one of the few NHRA National Events to see that kind of racing. In 1962, there were only two places to see the F/X cars in action, the NHRA Winternationals and the NHRA Nationals. Now they could see that style of racing every weekend if they had a track nearby. And when NHRA banned the goofy looking altered wheelbase Dodges and Plymouths from running in the F/X class at NHRA events, the match racing scene simply exploded across the nation.

I think that NHRA realized that they had made a mistake banning those goofy cars, they should have created a class for them instead. But the factories were overjoyed, they could build 6 or 7 flip top Comets or altered wheelbase Dodges and Plymouths for a lot less money than 500 Super Stockers, and still keep the fans excited.
 
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