There are few legends in all of motor racing that are quite so enduring as that of the Petty Family, it’s not quite exclusive use of Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler products with an electric blue paint scheme.
Tea total brothers Lee and Julien Petty used to take time out from their haulage business and enjoy giving the local North Carolina moonshine runners a good whupping in illegal races for large bets with a 1937 Plymouth they built that was possibly powered by an in line 8 cylinder Chrysler motor.
After the ’39-’45 war Lee embraced and supported Bill Frances efforts to established a stock car series that was more formally organised and ended up winning NASCAR 3 Championships driving his own Petty Enterprises Chrysler, Dodge, Oldsmobile and Plymouth cars, which usually carried the #42, but occasionally carried the #43.
Late in Lee Petty’s third and final 1959 championship winning season Lee’s sons Maurice and Richard Petty found they had neither enough traditional Petty white nor dark blue paint to completely cover a Plymouth that was in need of paint, not wishing to waste either pot they mixed the two together which combined to make the ‘electric’ blue that has since been patented as the same ‘Petty Blue’ seen on today’s featured ’67 Belvedere.
In 1961 an accident at Daytona effectively ended Lee Petty’s career, but by then his youngest son Richard had just completed his first full season behind the wheel finishing an impressive second to 1960 champion Rex White with the first 3 of an eventual unbeaten career total of 200 race wins.
In 1964 Richard by now running almost exclusively in the #43 won his first of an unbeaten career total of seven Championships starting 61 races, winning 9 of them and scoring 28 further top 5 finishes driving 426 cui Hemi powered Plymouths.
1967 was perhaps Richards career defining season, the Hemi had been restricted to 405 cui for the 1966 season after being banned completely in 1965 as were overhead cam NASCAR projects intended for 1966 from Ford and Chrysler.
The 1967 Belvedere had not proved quite as fast as the ’66 model which Richard had used to win seven races and claim third in the 1966 championship so Maurice reskinned the 1966 winning car with a ’67 body that allowed Richard to win the 1967 championship with a career high 27 wins in a single season backed up with 11 further top fives that included an unbroken record of 10 straight wins.
Richard is seen driving his ’67 Belvedere wearing the same period correct cowboy boots as he would have worn back in the day on account of ‘they didn’t have anything else back then’.
Thanks for joining me on this “Mix’n’Match Electric Blue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !