Beach Boys puzzle old car freaks.


An old Beach Boys song goes, "It happened on the strip where the road is wide/ Two cool sharks sittin' side by side/ My fuel-injected Stingray and a 413/ Revin' up our engines and it sounds real mean." Later in the song, they refer to a Jag, but neither I nor several car-freak friends know of a Jag called a 413. So what is a 413? Maybe a bored-out 409-- 4.13 liters?

-- Lyle, Ocean Beach

Oy. Another mondegreen. Based on our surveys, 47% of all time wasted by the average American somehow involves misheard pop song lyrics. Since getting this question, we've wasted our time imagining a drag race between a Corvette Stingray and a Jaguar. In 1963, when the Brian Wilson/Roger Christian tune Shut Down was released as the B side of Surfin' USA, Stingrays might have been dragging, but Jaguars were running in polite circles around Formula 1 tracks. (Instead of a trophy, winners got a jar of Grey Poupon.) Jags were hardly known for their acceleration. Heck, most of the time they were up on blocks in the owner's driveway. Those old British clunkers were for people who like to fix cars, not drive cars.

N-E-hoo, a 413 is one of the big Chrysler Max Wedge engines. The lyrics suggest it's in a ram-induction "super stock Dodge." We set up an elf hoc committee to scour Shut Down for something that could be misheard as "Jag," but they immediately broke for lunch and never came back. To compensate, we'll give you a couple of FYIs. It's not two cool sharks, it's two cool shorts. Shorts (as in short wheel base) was the dragspeak equivalent of today's "ride" or "wheels." And to save you more wasted time, don't look for a biography of Max Wedge. Max for maximum, wedge for the design of the heads.

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