You know RK Motors Charlotte is the headquarters for Mopar muscle, but there are few cars we love more than the early industrial strength Dodges and Plymouths. You know, the cars that were little more than full-tilt race pieces that you could buy right off the showroom floor. Today, such cars are highly sought prizes for serious collectors, and this stunning 1964 Dodge 440 is one of the most amazing machines we’ve featured. It is #5 of only five (yes, five) built with a 426 Street Wedge, a 4-speed manual, and precious little else. Even more amazing is that this one shows only 2681 original miles (not a misprint, but you know how those miles were accumulated), and it was recently given a comprehensive cosmetic and mechanical restoration by the pros at the RKM Performance Center. If you’re a fan of double-throwdown early Mopar muscle, this car is a must-have.
The great thing about these factory hot rods was that they were all engine and precious little else. This one comes with its original window sticker and Chrysler Corporation Broadcast Sheet showing that the only option installed was a heater, plus seatbelts, which were mandatory in the car’s home state of California. In the years that followed, it was a familiar sight at local drag strips, and it was undoubtedly a tough machine to beat no matter what you were driving. But eventually the rigors of racing caught up with the Dodge, and the engine was pulled and the body tucked away. For the next forty years, it rested comfortably in a California garage where it was protected from the elements in a way that few cars of its era were. It was rediscovered in 2008 and delivered to our shop where the beautifully preserved original interior was removed and stored, and the body was carefully stripped of its tired original finish. The original sheet metal was in great shape and needed very little bodywork, but many hours were invested to get it into its current breathtaking condition. The original red paint was exactly duplicated in two-stage urethane and applied over the freshly massaged sheetmetal, which now fits better than any factory-made Mopar in history. Gaps are excellent throughout, the finish is concours quality, and there’s not a mark on the car. The car also includes two hoods, the original flat hood as well as a Max Wedge hood that really gives it some attitude.
At the same time, all the original trim was polished and reinstalled, including the original grille, emblems, and bumpers. That striking white trim strip that stretches the length of the body? Original. The square tail light lenses? Original. Heck, even the little Chrysler Pentastar logos on the lower front fenders are the ones that were installed back in May of 1964. And it goes without saying that the glass is original as well. This car is a truly remarkable specimen.
The sad part of this story is that the original engine was long gone when the car was discovered. However, a correct date-coded 426-S block was located and thanks to the experts at Michael’s Racing, it was fully rebuilt to stock specifications. 426 Wedge blocks don’t exactly grow on trees, and finding one was a challenge, but since Chrysler didn’t start marking the VIN on engine blocks until 1968, there’s really no difference between this block and the original, and if we hadn’t just told you about it, you’d never know. The upside is that you now have a sweet-running big block 426 Street Wedge that you shouldn’t be afraid to use as intended. Of course, this one is also dressed to compete at the highest levels, with proper detailing throughout the engine bay. The chrome air cleaner and valve covers are freshly plated, the Chrysler Turquoise paint is as nicely finished as the stuff on the exterior of your daily driver, and every little piece is correct, accurate, and date-coded wherever possible. The lovely cast iron exhaust manifolds are like factory headers, and they’ve been ceramic coated so they will look that good practically forever. There’s a correct 26-inch radiator, heavy duty fan assembly, and a red cap battery to finish it off.
The original A833 4-speed manual underneath was tested and found to be within spec, so it went back into the car and shifts beautifully. Out back, a set of 3.91 gears on a Sure Grip inside an 8.75-inch rear deliver otherworldly thrust, and this car is still a threat to much more sophisticated modern machinery. The chassis was so amazingly well preserved that we did little more than clean it up for show. The floors were completely unmarked, and all the original components that were installed by the factory were still bolted in place with paint markings that had been applied more than forty years earlier. A new exhaust system with correct mufflers and tips was installed to give the 426 just the right sound, and the original springs are augmented with new shocks and rebuilt brakes to keep it safe on the road. The car comes with two sets of rolling stock as well, the original 14-inch steel wheels with 8.00-14 bias-ply tires as it was new, and a set of 15-inch steelies with fat radials that allow you to make the most of the engine’s performance.
As shocking as it may seem, that interior is almost entirely original. We replaced the carpets with correct materials, but otherwise the upholstery, the door panels, the dash, the headliner, and even the package shelf are 100% factory original pieces. Again, clean California living and a protected environment comes through in the end, making this perhaps the most accurate ’64 Dodge 440 in existence. The front bench shows only very minor wear, all of it in the driver’s seat, and the back seat has probably never had a human posterior perched upon it. We gave some of the brightwork a little polishing, but for the most part this car is exactly as it was on May 13, 1964 when it rolled out the door at Hamtramck. The steering wheel is original, the gauges remain beautifully finished, and even the pedals show next to zero wear. And no, we didn’t roll the odometer back; in fact, when it came to us, it showed only 1885 original miles, but since this car no longer sports the original engine, the owner decided to have some fun with it by hitting the road. There is no radio, and that’s the original block-off plate in the center of the dash. There’s no console (which would add weight), and as I mentioned earlier, the seat belts were mandatory in California, so we cleaned them up and put them back in. The spotless trunk received a correct mat, and we’re pretty sure that’s the original spare tire back there, still wearing an original label.
Documentation is fairly extensive. We have all of the restoration receipts and photographs, the original window sticker, the original broadcast sheet, the original owner’s manual, and a bunch of promotional materials that came from the dealer and were found in the glove box. This isn’t eBay stuff, this is real history attached to this very car. This car has also been completely inspected, decoded, and authenticated by Galen Govier and is in his registry, along with a complete set of documents from Chrysler Historical. This car has also won all the big events, including the B-Body Street Class at the 2009 Mopar Nationals when it was wearing the Max Wedge hood and fat tires.
So let’s recap, shall we? One of five built. 2681 ORIGINAL miles. Original interior and chassis. Show quality paint and bodywork. Correct, date-coded 426 Street Wedge engine and original 4-speed transmission. Factory documentation. This isn’t just a cool car, this is a cool car that is completely unmatched by anything else on the market. If you’re a fan of the industrial strength Mopars, this is a car that will absolutely amaze you in every way. Few Dodge production cars are rarer, and even fewer are faster. If you’ve been looking for the right car, you’ve just found it. Call today!