Stage I, Stage II, Stage III Max Wedge     

What does all this stage stuff mean? A lot of people including myself always thought the three stages of Max Wedge engines pertained to the year and the engine that year. I went around talking like I knew this stuff but really didn't. I called the 1962-413 Max Wedge "Stage I", the 1963-426 Max Wedge was a "Stage II" and the 1964-426 Max Wedge was a "Stage III". That's what a lot of people called them. As I began collecting Mopar technical bulletins and other unusual literature I learned the answer to the stage question.

First off, the a 413 Maximum Performance Wedge is NOT a "Stage I" Max Wedge. It is simply a 413 Maximum Performance Wedge or Max Wedge if you prefer to keep this simple. When the 1962 413 Max Wedge was dreamed up they simply called it a Max. Perf. Wedge. In 1963 the engine size was increased to 426 cubic inches and was simply referred to as the 426 Max. Perf. Wedge. They didn't start calling the 413 a "Stage I" and the new 426 a "Stage II" like some of you might think.

The way the "stage" thing got started was when Chrysler was coming out with an improved version of the already existing 426 Max Wedge Package in May 1963. The improvements included bigger carbs and an intake modified to use them, a clutch fan for less horse power robbing drag on the engine and improved cooling, some slight port machine work not on the previous 413 and 426 Max Wedge heads. They also moved the battery to the trunk for better weight distribution. The engine though, with the new improvements was still a 426 so they referred to it as a "426 Super Stock II" for the Plymouths and a "Ramcharger 426A" for the Dodges. That's where the "Stage I" and "Stage II" talk started. Then in 1964 they made some more improvemnets to the engine and it was referred to as a "426 Super Stock III" for Plymouth. The Dodge version was referred to "Ramcharger 426III". The common term became "Stage III".

So there you have it. The 413 Max Wedge was simply the 413 Max Wedge. The 426 Max Wedges are the true Stages I, II and III. Now you know the correct way to sound like you know what you are talking about. I'll bet there a few of you out there that just can't wait to correct someone out there when they call the 413 a Stage I. I know because I was waiting like a lion waiting to pounce on the first guy that screwed up in front of me. How sweet that was. Maybe later I will get a chance to get into the nuts and bolts of the details for these separate "stage" packages when I have a lot more time

Greg Lane