It seems that most classic race cars typically end up being stored away in barns, locked up, or worse – they are crushed, never to return to life again. Fortunately for the enthusiasts, that isn’t always the case. I present to you the car that won the 1963 Super Stock class at the Winternationals (with a 3-speed transmission), and also competed that same year in Super Stock Automatic (with a push button TorqueFlite). It went on to take home the Stock title in 1964. The car was dubbed the ‘Melrose Missile’ in 1963, and its best performance ever was in the summer of ’64, with a 12.00 ET at 118.26 mph.
The Mopar Missile is a 1963 Plymouth Savoy that was raced by Tom Grove (who drove the stick car) and Charlie Di Bari (who drove the automatic car in ’63). The car was retired in 1965, when Tom Grove began driving a Ford. The car was restored and is currently being housed by Bob Mosher at Mosher’s Musclecar Motors.
The car was named the “Melrose Missile” for the Oakland, CA dealership that produced it, Melrose Motors. The engine is a 426 cubic inch Max Wedge that features dual carburetors on a Cross Ram intake manifold. This engine was the top-of-the-line equipment available from Chrysler at the time.
The car saw a lot of success during its two race seasons. Not only did it take the aforementioned titles and race wins, it also broke 26 track records. This car was truly dominant in its day. Little customizations such as an aluminum front bumper and hood lightened it it up, enabling it to get down the track faster. The car also featured the factory option hood scoops, as well as an aftermarket tachometer to assist in leaving the starting line consistently at a set RPM.
Mosher occasionally drives the car and takes it to car shows. We can only hope that this fine piece of American racing history will be around for many generations to see. This is one Mopar that we are glad is still around.