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Even before the Forward Look 1955 C 300s, Chrysler Hemis were winning NASCAR Races
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56D500boy
Posted 2020-04-20 3:13 PM (#597128)
Subject: Even before the Forward Look 1955 C 300s, Chrysler Hemis were winning NASCAR Races



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Even before the Forward Look 1955 C 300s, Chrysler Hemis were winning NASCAR Races

Last year, a friend of mine gave me an empty wine box full of Mopar (Action, Performance, etc) magazines. Fast forward to these recent weeks , in this time of Covid-19 lock down (self-imposed mostly), I’ve had a chance to start to page through these magazines one at a time. Yesterday, I was reading one the talked about the 1954 Dayton beach race and how Lee Petty had won in a 1954 Chrysler New Yorker. The article (a portion of which is included below) mentioned how the 54 Chrysler 331 hemi was the first Mopar to be equipped with a four barrel Carter WCFB and that the rated horsepower, 235 hp, was the highest in any N.American car. These facts intrigued me and I set about to find out more.

The first thing was to find out a bit more about what Lee Petty was racing prior to 1954. What I found out was Lee Petty had been racing Plymouth coupes with the flat head 6 from 1949 to 1952. He finished third in points in 1950. In 1951 he raced another Plymouth Coupe. He finished fourth in points for 1951. 1952 saw more of the same. In the 1952 NASCAR season, Lee was driving the Plymouth coupe in races that were being dominated for the most part by the Fabulous Twin-H Hudsons. He finished third in points in 1952.

REFERENCES:

https://www.racing-reference.info/season-stats/1952/W/

https://www.allpar.com/racing/petty-plymouth-racing.html

Then I read that for the 1953 season, Lee Petty switched to Dodge, and more specifically a 2dr Coronet with the new 140 hp Dodge “Red Ram” hemi V8 . Lee saw the advantage of having that engine in a light car such as the new 1953 Dodge coupe. That said, for the Daytona Beach race Lee Petty drove a 1953 Chrysler. It is not known whether he bought it, or if it was furnished to him by Chrysler Corporation. It appeared that he alternated between the large Chrysler and the Dodge for certain races. The Dodge was best suited for the majority of NASCAR's events, which were then held on dirt tracks. He garnered Dodge's first NASCAR win, as he had already done for Plymouth, and went on to finish second in Grand National points.



REFERENCES:

https://www.allpar.com/racing/petty-plymouth-racing.html

https://www.racing-reference.info/yeardet/1953/W

http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=73594&...

Finally, we get to the 1954 season. Lee Petty, switched to the Chrysler two door Club Coupe with a 235 factory hp 331 cu in double rocker (hemi) (Some say the Coupe was a Windsor but the Windsor only came (normally) with a 265 cu in flat head six – The New Yorker Deluxes were the the only ones with the new 4 bbl 235 hp 331 V8 – Photos clearly show that the car was a New Yorker Deluxe (with badging taped over along with all the other chrome). While the factory rating for the 4bbl dual exhaust 331 was 235 horsepower punch, it is likely that with the Petty tuning (by Lee and Maurice), it put out much more. The Hemi engine was backed by a Dodge truck transmission. It made Lee unstoppable at the Daytona Beach race course in that car that year . With 37 races slated for 1954, Lee Petty participated in every one of them in either the Chrysler coupe or a V8 Dodge coupe (depending on the track) He won his first Grand National Championship in 1954 in the Chrysler.

REFERENCES:

https://www.allpar.com/racing/petty-plymouth-racing.html

In 1955 and 1956, Lee Petty continued to drive Dodges along with the new dual four barrel Chrysler C300s, the most powerful cars in America at that time. It is not known if Lee had to buy the cars, or if he was given assistance from Chrysler. I have a jpg copy of a December 1955 invoice/order for a race-prepared 56 Dodge D500 that was to be given to Lee Petty gratis – so who knows? Lee was 3rd in the points after Tim Flock driving a C300 for Carl Kiefkhaefer’s Mercury Outboard-sponsored 55 Chrysler C300 team and Buck Baker driving the Griffin Motors 1955 Oldsmobile.

By the 1956 season, Carl Kiekhaefer’s 56 300B team was dominating. Lee Petty was only 4th in points for the year after Buck Baker (driving Kiekhaefer’s 300Bs and D500s), Herb Thomas (driving Chevrolets and Kiekhaefer Chrysler 300Bs and D500s) and Speedy Thompson (driving Kiefhaefer 300Bs and D500s).

REFERENCES:

https://www.allpar.com/racing/petty-plymouth-racing.html

https://www.racing-reference.info/season-stats/1955/W/

https://www.racing-reference.info/season-stats/1956/W/

Here is some info about the 235 hp 4 bbl 1954 Chrysler 331 hemi , Lee Petty’s cars and then the article that got me going on this.

Hope someone will enjoy this.




Edited by 56D500boy 2020-04-20 3:21 PM




(MoparActionOct94_Chrysler235hp331_1.jpg)



(MoparActionOct94_Chrysler235hp331_2.jpg)



(MoparActionOct94_Chrysler235hp331_3.jpg)



(FirePowerBrochure_1.jpg)



(FirePowerBrochure_2.jpg)



(4bblCarbIn1954ChryslerBrochure.jpg)



(1954ChryslerNewYorkerDeluxeClubCoupe_small.jpg)



(lee-petty-1954.jpg)



(LeePettyDaytonaBeachRace1954_ChryslerNewYorkerDeluxeClubCoupe.jpg)



(LeePetty1954DaytonBeach_trophy.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments MoparActionOct94_Chrysler235hp331_1.jpg (241KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments MoparActionOct94_Chrysler235hp331_2.jpg (236KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments MoparActionOct94_Chrysler235hp331_3.jpg (232KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments FirePowerBrochure_1.jpg (205KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments FirePowerBrochure_2.jpg (217KB - 18 downloads)
Attachments 4bblCarbIn1954ChryslerBrochure.jpg (178KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 1954ChryslerNewYorkerDeluxeClubCoupe_small.jpg (235KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments lee-petty-1954.jpg (56KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments LeePettyDaytonaBeachRace1954_ChryslerNewYorkerDeluxeClubCoupe.jpg (318KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments LeePetty1954DaytonBeach_trophy.jpg (123KB - 16 downloads)
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R41HP
Posted 2020-04-20 4:08 PM (#597133 - in reply to #597128)
Subject: Re: Even before the Forward Look 1955 C 300s, Chrysler Hemis were winning NASCAR Races


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Nice work. You can add Tommy Thompson, 1951 Motor City 250 in a 1951 New Yorker:

https://www.racing-reference.info/race/1951_Motor_City_250/W

And Gober Sosebee, June 1, 1952 at Hayloft Speedway, Augusta, Georgia in a 1952 Chrysler. I wasn’t able to confirm what model it was, but must have been a Saratoga or New Yorker:

https://www.racing-reference.info/race/1952-13/W
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56D500boy
Posted 2020-04-20 4:31 PM (#597137 - in reply to #597133)
Subject: Re: Even before the Forward Look 1955 C 300s, Chrysler Hemis were winning NASCAR Races



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R41HP - 2020-04-20 1:08 PM

Nice work. You can add Tommy Thompson, 1951 Motor City 250 in a 1951 New Yorker:
And Gober Sosebee, June 1, 1952 at Hayloft Speedway, Augusta, Georgia in a 1952 Chrysler. I wasn’t able to confirm what model it was, but must have been a Saratoga or New Yorker:


Thanks.

As for Gober's car, I would guess Saratoga Club Coupe because the wheel base was 125.5" compared to the New Yorker's 131.5".

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R41HP
Posted 2020-04-20 9:11 PM (#597153 - in reply to #597137)
Subject: Re: Even before the Forward Look 1955 C 300s, Chrysler Hemis were winning NASCAR Races


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Posts: 216
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Location: Chicago
56D500boy - 2020-04-20 3:31 PM

R41HP - 2020-04-20 1:08 PM


And Gober Sosebee, June 1, 1952 at Hayloft Speedway, Augusta, Georgia in a 1952 Chrysler. I wasn’t able to confirm what model it was, but must have been a Saratoga or New Yorker:


Thanks.

As for Gober's car, I would guess Saratoga Club Coupe because the wheel base was 125.5" compared to the New Yorker's 131.5".



Agreed. The (and my) prevailing opinion is it was a Saratoga. But in respect to your diligent documentation efforts, I want to be clear that despite spending some time a few years ago researching this, including communicating with some actual people with access to NASCAR archives, I cannot specifically prove it.

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