The Max Wedge Story

The Max Wedge


As the Detroit muscle car wars of the 1960s began, the Chrysler Corporation and its Dodge and Plymouth brands were pacing the sidelines. But not for long: Midway through the 1962 model year, the Maximum Performance Wedge package was introduced—the legendary combination that soon became known as the Max Wedge.


This first Max Wedge displaced 413 cubic inches and was offered in two versions: an 11.5:1 compression-ratio model with 410 hp, and an even more radical 420 hp model with a whopping 13.5:1 compression ratio. Both engines were just barely drivable on the road. In truth, they were thinly disguised racing engines, and they soon made their presence known on the nation’s oval tracks and drag strips. The Ramchargers, a drag racing team made up of company engineers, easily won their class at the U.S. Nationals with their Max Wedge-powered ’62 Dodge Dart.


For 1963, the Max Wedge’s cylinder bores were enlarged from 4.17 to 4.25 inches, increasing the displacement to 426 cubic inches, while new, higher-flowing cylinder heads were fed by an even larger pair of four-barrel carburetors. Produced in two phases of development, Stage II and Stage III, the 426 version of the Max Wedge continued the domination of America’s race tracks, as the Ramchargers’ Dodge swept the Top Stock honors at the ’63 U.S. Nationals.


The Max Wedge got its name from its wedge-shaped combustion chambers, which distinguish the engine from the company’s previous generation of powerplants that used hemispherical chambers. The Max Wedge became a bona fide performance legend in its own right. However, maybe an even greater legacy was established for the engine in 1964, when the 426 Max Wedge served as the mechanical foundation for the reborn 426 Hemi.




  • Anders Roshage
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Real yeasterdays memmo!

  • Robert Cummins
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    what about the 440 wedge that came in the 1970 dodge challenger?

    Posted September 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Those were the days when you could open the hood and have something to show off. Now it is just a plastic cover that says HEMI on it and retains all the heat so your car overheats in the Texas summers. I have since removed the plastic cover and the car runs so much better. No more stalling when turning right into a parking lot.

  • epicurus
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    In high school my friends and I liked the look of the cross ram mainifold. I had an old 65 plymouth fury 4 door 318 engine we nicknamed it “the wedge” (as in max wedge) and bought some number stickers we stuck on the fender to say 426. Quite ridiculous, but hey, teenagers.

  • brian
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I have a 426 max wedge with ( Ramcharger ) stamped on top block pad.Who do I contact about info.

  • Jim Dalrymple
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you for all the information. Sadly, Yahoo today posted they thought was the hottest stock street car. They wouldn’t have a clue what a Max Wedge is. There is a guy in NY who won Indy and Pomona at least once in a Dodge Max Wedge. If it weren’t for the break-out rule the car is capable of running in the high nines.

  • Robert
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I have a ’63 maxi Polara. What an incredible car. After reading about the history of drag racing, I had to own one. She is a beast. Perhaps not by today’s standards, but I respect her for what she is. Doesn’t wanna stop. Doesn’t wanna turn. Just wants to go straight. Challenging to drive in the street. You really have to plan ahead. Kinda knew that getting into this. Feels like your are sitting on just an engine and transmission. Tiring and not for the faint-of-heart.

  • Steve Dabbs
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I have a question. A friend is looking for an Iron single four barrel intake for Max Wedge heads for a pull truck class. Do they exist???

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