Factory Funny

The original “Funny Cars”


In 1965 Chrysler's corp, drag racing skunk works went to some serious extremes all in the name of speed.



Mopar created some purpose-built drag cars made too "win at all costs" against Ford for victory in the NHRA's Super Stock and A/Factory Experimental (A/FX) classes.



When Chrysler found out Ford was planning to run the smaller Mustang and Comet bodies with the mean SOHC 427-cid engine for the 1965 A/FX season. To keep on top the midsize Plymouth Belvederes and Dodge Coronets would have to shed some weight, so in late 1964, Chrysler engineers crafted 6 Belvederes and 6 Coronets for battle.



Each Mopar altered underwent some serious work. The front wheels were moved forward 10 inches and the rear axle by 15 inches back, making a 110-inch from the factory 116-inch wheelbase, with 56% of the car's weight over the rears for a better launch. The steel body panels were acid dipped for even more weight savings, tipping the scales at just off 3,000lbs.


©2007 PUBLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL, LTD. THE 1965 PLYMOUTH FACTORY ALTERED WHEELBASE CARS EMPLOYED FIBERGLASS BODY PANELS THAT WERE TECHNICALLY FACTORY OPTIONS FOR MIDSIZE MOPARS. THE COMPLETE SET COST $410 AND WEIGHED JUST 80 POUNDS.



These radically modified cars started to be called "funny car," by shifting the wheelbase it allowed for superior weight transfer off the line. This was very important when you realize the rock hard tires these guys had to run on.



The Chrysler-built Alt. wheel cars were ran factory backed Dodge and Plymouth teams. Ronnie Sox, Butch Leal, and Al Eckstrand all piloted these factory machines.



All Mopar altered cars were 426 Hemi powered, pumping out 550+hp and running dual four-barrel carbs to start the season, they were capable of 10.20s at 138 mph. Chrysler made the switch to Hilborn fuel injection during the season, and the times dropped into the mid 9s and the speeds reached 140+.



It didn’t take long for the NHRA officials to ban the altered’s from A/FX competition. But It didn't really matter, since the cars found a home on the popular and lucrative match race circuit.



These Mopars didn’t have much time in the sun before the fiberglass-bodied, tube-chassis funny cars replaced them but they still left a work in drag racing history as some of the wildest factory-built drag machines to ever run down the 1/4 mile.

~Blanton Payne


Sources

PUBLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL

How Stuff Works

Hot Rod

Street Muscle

Mecum

Hemmings

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