Butch Leal's WO Hemi Coronet
In 1966, God created the Street HEMI. And in 1967, He created the WO/RO Hemi twins. If you don’t know your Mopars, it deciphers into WO (Dodge Coronet 440 Super Stock) and RO (Plymouth Belvedere II Super Stock). Both of these cars were built in batches of 55 each to compete in Super Stock racing.
They were different than previous Super Stock HEMIs because they were derived from the Street HEMI, not the Race HEMI. Aside of a hood scoop, no sound deadener, radio, or heater, 4.80-series gears, and a few engine durability mods, they were very much like any other HEMI Mopar you would spec out at the dealership.
Stock, they were produced as white hardtops with black interiors. Set up for racing, maybe they’d look like Butch Leal’s old car.
“The California Flash” Butch Leal got his start as a teen driving a 1960 El Camino with a factory 4-speed 348 and tri-carbs, which led to a ’62 Biscayne with a 409 and a rare ’63 Impala with the Z11 motor. But then GM enacted a racing ban so, with Mickey Thompson’s urging, Butch went to a ’63 Galaxie with a 427.
Hemi from Butch Leal's WO Coronet
Not happy with the car’s performance, he made some engine mods and was on his way to being an engine builder as well, not to mention a driver of a Ford Thunderbolt the next year. It was with that car that he won the US Nationals in 1964. A meeting with Bob Cahill, Director of Racing at Chrysler, led Butch to join Chrysler’s factory racing team.
Butch’s WO Coronet is not one of his better-known cars because he was heavily involved in funny cars at the time. Incredibly, this example hasn’t been cut or, um, butchered. It’s documented with the Certificard and authenticated by ol’ Butch himself! The cost to own a race car of one of the greats? Try $395,000.