1965 Belvedere II

A/FX Altered Wheelbase
426 HEMI Auto




Chrysler Corporation's Drag Racing efforts went extreme in 1965 with a handful of purpose-built factory drag machines. The 1965 Plymouth Factory Altered Wheelbase cars and their Dodge counterparts resulted from a battle between Ford and Chrysler for victory in the NHRA's Super Stock and A/Factory Experimental (A/FX) classes.

When Chrysler got wind that Ford was planning to equip its smaller Mustang and Comet bodies with the SOHC 427 (single overhead cam engine) for the 1965 A/FX season, it decided that radical measures were necessary to keep its midsize Plymouth Belvederes and Dodge Coronets competitive. In late 1964, Chrysler engineers began constructing 6 Belvederes and 6 Coronets for intense dragstrip duty. This was laid out in a Confidential Technical Report named “RACE CAR - AFX DRAGSTER “A” SERIES “B” BODY PLYMOUTH CONFIDENTIAL”

The details were laid out exact in every specification. Each Mopar altered wheelbase car underwent serious surgery. The wheels were moved forward -- the rear axle by 15 inches, the front suspension by 10 inches, to create a 110-inch wheelbase Drag Car that put about 56 percent of the car's weight over the rear tires. The steel body panels were dipped in an acid tank to make them lighter or replaced with fiberglass parts.

 The bizarre appearance these factory built production cars prompted the name "FUNNY CAR," Every modification served an important purpose: Most important the altered wheelbase allowed for superior weight transfer off the starting line to help the lagging tire technology.

 Chrysler built AWB cars were distributed to the factory backed Dodge and Plymouth drag race teams; Notable Plymouth Drag Racers as Ronnie Sox, Butch Leal, and Al Eckstrand. When NHRA took one look at the wildly modified cars, they banned them from A/FX competition. Quickly these cars and their racers found a new lucrative circuit to complete in that had become very popular the “Match Race” scene.

All Factory produced Plymouth and Dodge AWB cars started life as a RO & WO A990 mule. All 12 AWB cars were powered by a K-Head Race Hemi engine. They started the season with dual four barrel carburetion.  Out of the box from Chrysler, they were capable to run 10.20-second quarter mile elapsed times at 138 mph. Chrysler authorized a switch to Hilborn fuel injection during the season, and the ETs improved to the mid nine second range at 140+ mph. Although the Chrysler AWB cars would be quickly eclipsed by fiberglass bodied, tube chassis funny cars, they remain as some of the wildest Factory built drag machines ever constructed.

 The axles were moved forward, the rear one by 15 inches, the front by 10 inches to create a 110-inch wheelbase racer that put about 56 percent of the car's weight over the rear tires.

 The plan is to convert this 1965 Plymouth Belvedere II into the latest rendition of one of Chrysler's most outrageous Factory Built Race Cars. The altering of the wheelbase and metal work will be done at Billy Atwood's Garage, the best Damn Garage in Old Saybrook. Body and Paint will be taken care of by Kevin Carroll and crew at Central Connecticut Automotive. It will sport a Ted Thompson Power Hemi Mill, Randy Juliani Transmission and one of Ultimate Converter Concept's latest Convertors. 

 What is Match Bash? Simply put by Match Basher Steve Magnante, “it is a building style that seeks to pay tribute to the glory days of the altered-wheelbase door-slammer Funny Car. Match Bashers are modern enough to be driven on the street but retro enough to conjure the smell of nitro and nights under the lights at Cecil County Drag-O-Way.”

On January 12, 1965 Chrysler gave birth to the "Original" Funny Car.

Today on the 50th Anniversary, PROJECT "RACE CAR -

The Altering to a Funny Car has been Completed

AFX Dragster Fabrication Page 1

Moving the Front Wheels Forward 10 inches, Page 2

426 HEMI Engine and Trans Mock up- Page 3

Dustless Blasting- Page 4

Body Work and Paint- Page 5  Page 6

Ted Thompson Hemi Build- Coming Soon!