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Tuesday July 15, 2014
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Chrysler's "RB" Wedge - Development Through the Years 1959 -1977
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Did You Miss These?

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to See the the Article

1972 44s W-30 Test

The Big Sleep: Performance in the
In-Between Years 1971-1982

1955 Chrysler 300 in drift

Was the Original Chrysler 300
the First Muscle Car?

1964 Pontiacs onthe line

Made in Pontiac - How they put 'em together Back in the Day!

1970 Chevelle LS6

1970 - Screaming the loudest
before you die!

ForPly vs 64 Wax Wedge

"ForPly" versus Tom Hoover's 1964 Pure Stock Max Wedge

Olds W-43 4-Valve

Don't Call Me a Hemi - 'cause I'm not! Oldsmobile's Infamous W-43

1962 Max wedge 413

Tom Hoover, an original Ramcharger worked to develop the
"Max Wedge 413-426 and later was responsible for working
on and selling the 426 Hemi project..

1958-60 B Series V8

The 1958-1960 "B" wedge. Except for the longer deck height,
the "RB" was no different in design.

1963 Chrysler 300J V8

The high water mark for Chrysler's 413 would be the 1963
300J engine. Essentially borrowing the pieces from the 1962
Max wedge, it even sported an optional mechanical cam!

440 Six Intake

The hottest RB other than the "Max Wedge" was the 440
"Six Pack" or "Six-Barrel". It was rated at 390 HP and could
hustle a B-Body Mopar into the mid 13s in street trim.

1964 Street 426 	S

The "Street" 426 or 426S was a slightly warmed over RB taken
from the Chrysler 413 engine family that powered Imperials
and New Yorkers. It was enlarged to 440 cid in 1966 and
remained in service until 1977.

by Wild About Cars Staff - reprint with permission only.

Maybe you know some of the story of the famous “RB” (raised block - B Series) engine, and maybe you don’t. But what you should know is that, like all performance V8s of the decade of the 60s, it went through many, many changes. From a basic passenger car engine introduced in 1959 through the famous 440 “Six Pack”, the RB kept getting better and better in each and every year of production. Let’s talk about it and bring out the key facts.

First, know that the RB was a derivative of Chrysler's B series wedge engine that was introduced in 1958 in 350 and 361 cubic inch versions. It was considered the replacement for the Divisions “Poly” combustion chamber engines that was used in different sizes and designs from as early as 1953 and which would eventually end up in all their brands.

The "B" engine's design came about due to the consolidation of Chrysler Corporation engines across the board that had been envisioned prior to ’58, but implemented in that year. From then on engines would be designed for use across the entire Chrysler line. The “B” block that resulted from this decision would be the first new “wedge” combustion chamber design. It would later be called the “low block” because its lower deck height that could not accept longer stroke crankshafts.

All Low Block B-series engines have a 3.375” stroke, a 9.98” deck height and 6.358” long connecting rods, resulting in a 1.88:1 rod ratio. Initially, the “B” block was set up as a performance engine, but only for the first year of use and in the 350  cid version in Plymouths, and  361 cid Dodge version where it even saw a fuel injected model! The 350 fell by the wayside after 1958, and the 361 would last until the end of the series usage, well into the 70s, albeit for trucks only.

Recognizing that the low deck would be limited in displacement at a time where “bigger is better", both Dodge and Plymouth quickly abandoned the 350 after 1958 and only kept the 361 as a performance engine just through 1961. They then went to the last iteration of the ”B”  block, the famous 383 cid version. It was essentially a larger bore version of the 361 and used a 4.25” bore, and had been introduced in 1959. Over 3,000,000 B 383 engines were produced between 1959 and 1971. We will cover the ”B” Series in more detail at a later date.

But while the 383 “B” was carrying the performance mail for Dodge and Plymouth from 1959 through early 1962, the “RB” block was developed, to power Chrysler’s New Yorker, Imperial and of, course the famous 300 Series. Initially it was delivered in 413 cid, and like all the future RB engines, it would have a 3.75” stroke and in the 413, a 4.1875” bore. In the performance version, with long ram intake manifolds, it would develop 375 HP and 495 ft. lbs. of torque – far exceeding the last iteration of the Hemi. The 413 would carry the mail for the 300 from 1959 through 1965 for the Hi-Po 300s.

Not to be confused with the 383 “B” engine, there was a  383 RB block produced  1959-1960 on the US-built Chrysler Windsors and Saratogas. This occurred because one of the Trenton engine’s assembly lines had been converted to make the new 413, but demand for the 383 B engine was too high for the remaining line. The solution was to create a 383 RB to fill the gap. This 383 RB had a 4.03” bore but was otherwise the same as the 413 produced at that time.

Here are the 1959-1965 413 cid performance engines:

  • 1959 - 1961 with 4-Barrel Carb. Max Horsepower: 355 @ 4600 rpm Max Torque: 470 @ 2800 rpm Compression: 10.0:1.
  • 1959 with 2 × 4-Barrel Carbs. Max  Horsepower: 380 @ 5000 rpm Max Torque: 450 @ 3600 rpm Compression: 10.0:1
  • 1960 - 1961 with 2 × 4-Barrel Carbs. Max Horsepower: 375 @ 5000 rpm Max Torque: 495 @ 2800 rpm Compression: 10.0:1
  • 1962 - 1965 with 4-Barrel Carb. Max Horsepower: 340 @ 4600 rpm Max Torque: 470 @ 2800 rpm Compression: 10.1:1
  • 1962 with 2 × 4-Barrel Carbs. Max Horsepower: 380 @ 5000 rpm Max Torque: 495 @ 2800 rpm  Compression: 10.1:1
  • 1963 - 1964 with 2 × 4-Barrel Carbs. Max Horsepower: 390 @ 4800 rpm Max Torque: 485 @ 3600 rpm  Compression: 10.0:1
  • 1963 - 1965 with 4-Barrel Carb. Max Horsepower: 360 @ 4600 rpm Max Torque: 470 @ 2800 rpm  Compression: 10.1:1.

By 1962, however, Chrysler was involved in the “super car” wars, and they soon found that their Dodges and Plymouths 383  cubes was not enough to stay ahead of  the Pontiac 421, the Chevy 409 and Ford 406 cid engines. Also interestingly, Chrysler 300s (not the letter series cars could be had with the 413 cid 300H long ram engine and proved to be a drag strip terror winning the SS/A class at the NHRA Winternationals.

Thus, the idea was launched to do the same in the Dodge and Plymouth ranks. The solution was initially simple, they issued the 413 as a “police pursuit” option, though as far as can be determined, the engine was never delivered in that role. At this time, Tom Hoover was charged with developing a true drag package, based upon his success with the 1961 Dodge in the Ramchargers. (He would later have the same responsibility for the Hemi).

The 1962 Ramcharger “Drag” 413, of course, was released with the Hoover designed “short” ram intake, so as to fit between the smaller Dodge and Plymouth fender wells. What was learned was that this new manifold  had a much greater rpm potential and gave the SS cars a higher top end than the 300 sporting the long rams. This was a little bit of a “happy accident” as was the realization that the cars launched much better with the Torqueflite transmission when tested. The rest is history.

However, in 1962, Dodge was all over the place with “B” and “RB” engines offering a 361, 383 and three 413s all with some sort of 2-4 barrel hot cam configuration. Plymouth just offered the Max Wedge 413.

By 1963, Chrysler recognized that NHRA would limit the SS ranks to 7 liters (427 cid) so they pulled out all the stops and released the 426 cid  RB block. The 426  block had a 4.22" bore and 3.75” stroke. It was supposedly offered as the "non-catalogued" option S42 in Chryslers with 373 or 385 HP via a single 4-barrel carburetor with11.0 or 12.0:1 compression ratio, respectively, or 413 or 421 HP via ram-inducted dual 4-barrel carburetors. None were factory delivered . . .

To read more about the Chrysler Corp. "RB Series V8 - Click HERE!

More Stories & Articles on the
"RB" series Engine:

Chrysler Bulletin "426 maximum Performance Wedge Engines - Click HERE!

1964 Plymouth "Super Stock " Owner's Manual - Click HERE!

See 1963 Dodge Polara "Ramcharger" Performance Ads - Click HERE!

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1971 Corvette Brochure
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Brochure

The 71 Corvette was a bit less ferocious when compared to the earlier models, but Chevy made sure that lowered compression did not impact the performance of the 'Vette to a great degree. This was likelhelped by the fact that the '70 model never received the LS7 454 it was slated to get. Check out this neat brochure that linked past Corvettes to the equivalent 1971 Model.

Click here to read about the 1971 Corvette!

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1965 Dodge Coronet 426-S Test
  1965 Dodge Coronet 426-S Road Test

The 426 as a street engine had been around for a few years in Dodge but largely overshadowed by the Max Wedge and Hemi. But with the burgeoning "super car" market, it suddenly became visible and viable as an alternative to the GTO, 442 and others. By th etime it was noticed it was soon to be replaced with the 442 - a more serious contender. Meanwhile, see what Car Life Magazine thought of it..

To See the 1965 Dodge 426-S Test - Click HERE!

1976 Mustang II Ads
1976 Ford Mustang II, Cobra II Ads

when these cars came out, they were scoffed at, because even though they were 302 V8 equipped, the engine was a shadow of its former self. But in 1976, it was a performance car. And what people are finding out nowadays is that wit a few tweaks - it can be as quick as a worked over Fox body Mustang. Check out he period ads - and while you are at it, this Mustang Cobra II period road tes.

To Read and/or Download these 1976 Mustang Cobra II Ads - Click Here!

1956 Dodge Ads
1956 Dodge Ad: "The Flight Sweep!"

By today's recollectios, the 1956 Dodge may not seem like a big deal, but the "Flight Sweep" look was a big change for Chrysler Corp. and Dodge. While the 1955 models had been a radical change from the previous stodgy 1940s look of chrysler products, it was the 1956 that got with the program with swept back fins and a crisp frontend. Check the look out - and why not download the "LA Femme" brochure too!

To Read and/or Download the 1956 Dodge Ads - Click HERE!

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