Heirloom
Muscle Car Review|December 2019
Dad Raced This Savoy in the 1960s
Stephan Szantai

Folks interested in automobiles more often than not remember the cars driven by their parents, even if those vehicles only made a short appearance in their lives or proved less than stellar. Denny Sanders had good reason to keep track of what his father, Fred, brought home from work during the 1960s. That’s because Fred worked at Al Roberts Plymouth in Garden Grove, California, and he always seemed to get his hands on interesting rides.

“I got hooked on drag racing and hot Mopars at the age of seven, when my father drove home in a brand new white 1962 Plymouth Savoy with a low-compression 413 Super Stock engine,” says Denny. “Dad, Mom, and I went for a drive. There was no traffic on the road when he stood on it. I still remember being pushed back into the back seat and seeing my dad shift by pushing lit buttons on the dash.”

Fred Sanders didn’t own the Savoy, or, for that matter, the two 426ci 1963 Plymouths (another Savoy and a Belvedere) that he drag raced competitively immediately afterward. The cars belonged to Al Roberts, who sponsored Fred in 1962-1963 as well.

In late 1963, Fred purchased this red Savoy and left the dealership a few months later to open a speed shop in Stanton, California.

Denny recalls, “The white ’62 Savoy put the hook into me, but Dad’s red ’63 sunk it in deep and hooked me for life. I was 15 when he had to sell it to pay medical bills from my mom’s two strokes in 1969.”

Fred’s coupe was a special car in its day, being one of only 177 high-compression (13.5:1) 426 Savoys made in 1963. Like a few other factory Super Stockers, it was retrofitted with an aluminum front end. These exclusive models used parts specific to the factory Super Stock Package: tuned 426ci V-8s (solid lifters, forged pistons, large-port heads, and so on), dual exhaust system with cutouts, heavy-duty transmission, thinner bumpers, aluminum fenders, and more. When purchased new, these vehicles came with a warning that “the car was built for supervised speed trials” and not intended for daily use.

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