"Strictly Stock"
The Champions of 1955 & 1956

by Dan Elliott

components and painstaking re-assembly of the whole car; (2) big, well-trained pit crews; (3) drivers who can go top-speed each lap because they know the car can safely take the pace, and (4) mechanical advantages only Detroit teams can afford or obtain."
      Point (4) is where Carl began his blitzkrieg at the February 1955 Daytona because the Chrysler 300 was too expensive for most racers to own and operate. However, Carl with fresh zeal from the Carrera days had both the money and the organization to use the expensive 300's. The combination of the professional engineers, engine builders, dyno facilities, foundry, trucking equipment, etc., etc., at Mercury Marine and Carl's small, autonomous and extra-responsive race organization were exactly what was needed to win. It was an ideal combination. According to the book Iron Fist, Carl also had full access to top management at Chrysler on a day-to-day basis ensuring that requests received full and fast responses.

      Regarding point (1) from above, preparation, Carl had shown his abilities to prepare cars quickly from show-room stock to race-track ready when he decided to enter the 1951 Carrera. For the 1955 Daytona, he had an even shorter period of time to prepare, perhaps 10 days maximum, unless Chrysler delivered to him prototype cars in Wisconsin. This is unknown. In any case, his usual practice was to completely disassemble each new 300/300B/Dodge D500-1 he received so as to magnuflux every critical part of the engine and suspension, blueprint and balance the engine by sifting though multitudes of factory parts for matching components, hot-hone the engine block, hand polish every critical mechanical component (some with tooth paste), weld steel and angle iron steel to critical parts of the frame to stiffen it and later on to replace the standard sedan frame with an X-member convertible frame for increased stiffness and a lower center of gravity, add two heavy-duty shock absorbers per wheel, add larger heavy-duty brakes, axles and drive train components behind the engine from Imperial, Checker taxi-cab and Dodge pickup truck parts, fabricate and install a roll-bar sophisticated enough in its design so as to further stiffen the overall chassis, expand the stock gas tank to larger than stock by "blowing it out" some, but not enough to be noticed, add a flexible gas pipe vent exiting through the car roof so as to facilitate faster air evacuation from the gas tank at refueling stops, fabricate a straight pipe exhaust system either of 4" (3" max. in 1956) pipe which was run through the trunk and exited above the rear bumper, add manual steering at a ratio of 16.2 to 1 which was the same as the stock power steering ratio, change to higher compression ratio heads of 10 to 1 on 300B's after the early season 1956, change exhaust manifolds to the 3" OD center dump Dodge truck manifolds, strip the interior except for rear side panels and headliner and front seat/driver's side seat-back and speedometer/gauge pod, add quality oil pressure and oil/water temperature gauges below the dash angled toward the driver, add a master electrical disconnect switch where the radio would have been, add a marine quality 7,200 RPM mechanical tachometer on the dash exactly calibrated to the engine in the car when dyno work was being done on that specific engine, wrap the steering wheel with friction tape, cut a hole in the right rear inner fender to expose the right rear tire to the driver, mount a light on the roll bar to shine on that hole, remove the heater assembly and cut away the right front inner fender to expose the right front tire to the driver who could see it through the clock hole in the dash, mount under the hood a floodlight to shine on the right front tire making it easier for the driver to see, add bungee cords and fasteners to prevent the hood and trunk from flying open, replace the headlight housings and headlights with

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