DION MAR­SON 1963 PLY­MOUTH BELVEDERE

NZV8 - - DECADE AGO -

Dion Mar­son’s Ply­mouth Belvedere was the to­tal pack­age — show-spec looks, mega power, and the right un­der­pin­nings to make the most of that power. De­spite that, Dion even­tu­ally de­cided he wanted some­thing else. He found it in a 1970 Dodge Coronet that was built to the same for­mula. In fact, the Su­per Bee also graced the cover of NZV8 — Is­sue No. 109. Around two years ago, the Belvedere was on­sold to Wan­ganui’s Bill Arm­strong, who hap­pens to be even more horse­power crazy than Dion. Un­der Bill’s own­er­ship, the big Wedge en­gine was re­moved and a blown 572ci Hemi dropped in, although that en­gine is re­ally des­tined for Bill’s Dodge Charger.

Bill tack­led the Master­ton Mo­tor­plex drag strip in the car and, de­spite the car’s tubbed rear end, had all sorts of trac­tion prob­lems. Those is­sues have now been re­solved, thanks to some sus­pen­sion tweak­ing and new shocks.

The orig­i­nal mo­tor was torn down by Dave at TPE Rac­ing, where it was dis­cov­ered that the crank had a large crack in it; it was only pure luck that it had not de­stroyed the block. The re­built mo­tor now has a dis­place­ment of 473ci, thanks to the 400 block be­ing fit­ted with a 440 crank. The valve springs have been re­placed, as they were toast, and a new set of billet caps holds the BME rods to the new crank. Bill’s plan now is to run the car this com­ing sea­son, hope­fully with some de­cent run times, and then sell it to fund the Charger build.

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