Butch Leal’s 1965 Plymouth Hemi Belvedere A990 is one of the most collectible nostalgia race cars in the collector car hobby. A cult movement of the collector car community is a group of collectors who are intent on owning some of the most famous race cars in drag race history. This is surely one of them.
Today this historically significant race car is being offered for sale by its owner from Hammonton, New Jersey. (Click here to view the advertisement on the Cars On Line website.)
Butch Leal had cut his teeth in the racing world driving Fords. Yet Butch Leal’s 1965 Plymouth Hemi Belvedere A990 was one of the two Plymouth cars he ran that year when he made the switch from Ford to Plymouth. He will be forever known as one of the top Mopar drag racers of the Muscle Car Era. As his reputation grew, the young West Coast driver was known as “The California Flash” and that was his logo seen on the side of his race cars. He was one of the only racers to actively campaign both a factory altered-wheelbase car and an NHRA- legal Super Stock entry. A noted 4-speed driver, Leal won the Super Stock class title in NHRA at the U.S. Nationals in 1965, and won the NHRA Super Stock championship again at the 1966 Winternationals. That makes Butch Leal’s 1965 Plymouth Belvedere A990 the most famous Hemi Super Stock car ever built.
Moreover, he often match raced this car at open events, and, as a result, it shows up in numerous magazine stories during those years. Leal’s legal Super Stocker, VIN R051199756, was one of 13 Plymouths built for the 1965 racing program with 4-speed transmissions, and, according to research by Darrell Davis, this was also the final Plymouth Super Stocker built, constructed in February 1965. Today they believe it is one of only three of the original 4-speed cars to still exist.
Like all RO51 Super Stockers, this all-steel ‘business coupe’ was delivered new with the rear seat deleted. It was equipped with a cross ram Chrysler Race Hemi engine with dual Holley carburetors. The car was shipped new to Ashley Dabba Dobbs Motor Co. in Clarksville, Tennessee. As the story goes, when Butch Leal was looking for a 4-speed Belvedere to run Super Stock, legendary driver Ronnie Sox found this one for him at Dabbe Dobbs Motor Co.
The car was sold in 1967 to Bob Brown of Mont Claire, New Jersey. Butch Leal and Tom were campaigning his Flip Top Barracuda at that time. After a long history of racing under other ownership, this car was beautifully returned to its original exterior condition. It has now benefitted from some substantial refreshing to the driveline. Today, a Ray Barton-built Hemi engine, complete with dyno sheet, is under the hood. Click here to read the Ray Barton dyno sheet.
The rebuilt Hemi Cross Ram engine is mated to an A833 4-speed with Hurst shifter and a 4.56:1-geared Dana rearend. It still has Super Stock springs and the factory front suspension, plus a roll cage legal for Nostalgia Super Stock racing. The original fender tag is with it, as is the supporting documentation.
Butch Leal’s 1965 Plymouth Hemi Belvedere A990 is historically significant, but at the same time ready to make a trip down the quarter-mile track. It has been documented by Mopar historians Galen Govier and Darrell Davis, and also by Butch Leal himself. The fender tag and door tag are still on the car. Follow this link to see more documentation such as the IBM card and dealer letter.