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    1965 McKee Sports Racer / Can Am Race Car

    Consignment #: 7003 Sign In to View Price

    Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale January 15th – 19th, 2014 at Russo and Steele’s 14th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction. Please contact us for more information.

    When Chrysler introduced the redesigned Hemi engine in 1964, it immediately dominated NASCAR and NHRA racing. NASCAR, worried that its fabled parity was threatened, announced a ban of the Hemi engine for the 1965 season. Ronnie Householder, who was Chrysler’s Director of Racing in the 1960’s, made the decision to “pull” ace driver Richard Petty, who was the face of NASCAR throughout the 1960’s, from the NASCAR series for 1965. Concurrently in Phoenix, Arizona was a young former Marine jet fighter pilot, Bob Montana, who owned a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership (Town & Country Chrysler-Plymouth)and had a passion for all forms of racing. Bob’s dealership had been hosting the Ramchargers drag racing team for several years during the NHRA Winternationals held near Phoenix and he had developed friendships with Chrysler’s racing executives. Bob enjoyed SCCA sports car racing and, coincidentally, American race car designer and constructor McKee Engineering had just begun construction of a series of mid-engine, tube-frame sports racers which could be modified to accept the new Hemi engine.

    Ronnie Householder recognized that a McKee race car with Hemi power would provide Richard Petty with an additional choice of race series in 1965, and an order was placed with McKee Engineering for a Hemi powered, tube frame mid-engine sports racer. In January 1965, while attending the Chicago Auto Show, Petty visited McKee Engineering with Chrysler racing executives and was offered the opportunity to campaign the factory-backed racing effort in the emerging unlimited sports racing series, Can-Am. Because the car could not be completed by the beginning of the racing season, Richard drag raced throughout the 1965 season and for 1966 he returned to NASCAR. It was left to Bob Montana to campaign the Hemi-McKee, which was known as the “T & C Plymouth Special.” The Hemi-McKee raced on a national basis from 1965 through 1967 in Can-Am and USRRC races at Riverside, Las Vegas, Bridgehampton, and other venues alongside the McLarens, Lolas, Chaparrals, Ferraris, and Porsches of the era. It is reported that two late-season SCCA victories were scored in 1965. By 1968, the monocoque race car chassis succeeded tube-frame designs, and the Hemi-McKee raced only in regional SCCA competition thereafter.

    The car was eventually retired in 1969 and following Bob Montana’s untimely death in 1971, the car remained intact and in storage for the next 35 years until its restoration was completed in the summer of 2004, followed by its debut the Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. In the summer of 2005, the Hemi-McKee was invited to both the renowned Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England, and the Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. The subject of many articles including one in Hemmings, the McKee remains without doubt one of the most fascinating pieces of Chrysler factory-backed racing history in private hands today. Never available to collectors until now, it will provide the crowning jewel for committed Chrysler collectors everywhere.




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