Ray Evernham was present in the Sherwin-Williams booth at SEMA this year, and the big event on Halloween day was the unveiling of his introduction to the world as a car designer and builder. If you recall the teaser video we brought you last week, we could tell from the not-so-subtle clues that it was going to be a 1964 Plymouth, that we were certain of.
But that designation is about where it all stopped being a Plymouth, and Ray Evernham started being a car designer and builder. The Plymouth, named “FORPLY”, unveiled as a huge success, and it was standing room only as onlookers stared in amazement at the ultra-cool car before them.
There have been cool cars unveiled before, and many more will follow. But as a debut vehicle that promised to take an old school muscle car and combine it with new school NASCAR technology, we’d have to say that Evernham made his mark at SEMA, and then some – even though he was a bit nervous as to how the public would receive it.
The Belvedere is an all steel and original bodied car that got the best of the best. A car that should see 200 mph in street legal trim, “as long as it passes inspection,” Evernham says, is decked out in radiant red with a matte finish and graphite accents.
For power, this NASCAR inspired Belvedere has a 358 ci NASCAR Dodge Racing engine pumping over 750 ponies at the crank utilizing a FAST fuel injection system. A NASCAR prepped 4 speed trans helps get the power to the 9 inch rear end with 3.60:1 gears.
We got a chance to sit down with Ray and ask him a few questions, and first thing we wanted to know was where his inspiration came from to select a non-mainstream vehicle such as the Belvedere. A brief look into Evernham’s history and you can easily see the connection to Mopar, but it goes deeper than that.
He has been connected to Dodge and Chevy professionally as a crew chief, but he says he has always been a part of the Mopar family. “It just gets in your blood,” he told us, “I’ve had ‘Cudas and Chargers, so I do like the Mopars.”
He remembers the winning Petty car back in 1964, and he always loved that body style, and who couldn’t? King Richard has always been a great inspiration to many, and it’s pretty cool to see a car like the Belvedere tied to NASCAR’s roots and to modern technology all in the same Sprint Cup Car-Of-Tomorrow (COT) chassis.
Rolling stock consists of 18 x 9.5 inch NASCAR-style aluminum wheels with 285/40 ZR 18 tires, and stopping power is done with four-piston calipers front and rear. Fully adjustable coil over shocks help to keep the car handling like a pro, and the cockpit is all business.
What inspired the color? It wasn’t exactly an inspiration as it was a desire to build a car using that color, and it was almost as if the color just came to them, and was decided as quickly as it was thought of.
With so much technology put into a classic Mopar, we asked Evernham if it’s a little discouraging that Dodge has again pulled out of NASCAR. It may not be something that the rest of us understand, but Evernham said he understands. At the same time, though, he says he likes the new regime and what they’re doing. He hopes that with the success they’re having this year that they will come back to NASCAR, as do the rest of us.
The car will be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson in January, as it was intended to be a fundraiser for the Evernham Family Racing for a Reason organization. We asked if there was a reserve but at the starting bid of $500k it’s safe to say that a reserve won’t be necessary.
While there are some pretty wild custom cars that can be had for less, the important thing about this car is that it’s not your typical custom build. The Belvedere a NASCAR inspired build by a three-time winning crew chief that bridges the gap between old school looks and modern technology.
More than just a modern engine swap recipient, it’s a car that can handle 200+ mph, even though there’s few places that many of us would be able to drive it. We don’t recommend putting a car like this to the test, but just knowing that it can see NASCAR speeds is enough to get a slight grin on our face.