Classic Car Auction of Toronto - Spring

Lot : SP109
1965 Plymouth Belvedere Altered Wheelbase

Auctioned on Saturday, April 4, 2009

Not Sold at a High Bid of $100,000

    During the 1960s, Detroit’s “Big Three” hoped to achieve sales success with involvement in Super Stock drag racing competition. Technology increased rapidly, and soon, many stock-appearing drag racing cars were equipped with lightweight body panels, heavy-duty components, and monstrous engines. The cars became quicker and more specialized, and by 1965, Ford and Chrysler were the two main rivals in the popular Super Stock and Factory Experimental (A/FX) classes.

    In response to Ford’s new SOHC-powered Mustang and Falcon-based A/FX cars of 1965, Chrysler engineers unleashed 12 altered wheelbase (AWB) Belvederes and Coronets. With both front and rear axles pushed forward, the AWB cars offered improved traction and weight transfer, making the most of their powerful 426 “Hemi” engines. Initially capable of low 10-second elapsed times, the AWB cars were quickly banned by the NHRA, and morphed into crowd-pleasing “match racers” with nitromethane, fuel injection, and superchargers. The resulting 9-second cars were also banned by Chrysler, which grew uneasy about these “funny” cars after photos of Dick Landy’s wheelstanding Coronet were published. While Ford’s fiberglass-bodied Comets rendered the AWB Chryslers obsolete by 1966, they remain an important evolutionary step in drag racing history.

    The 1965 Belvedere offered here is a recent and faithful recreation, based on a complete rotisserie restoration with incredible detail. Everything is new, rebuilt, or restored, and just like the original AWB cars, the front and rear axles were repositioned 10 and 15 inches respectively. Power is by a brand new 426 “Hemi” engine with 465 horsepower, topped by a 1960s-era Hilborn fuel injection system including tall velocity stacks. A Hurst-shifted four-speed transmission feeds power to a Dana 60 rear end, and other features include Wilwood brakes, a full roll cage, a Gary Ball interior, Lexan side windows, a refurbished dash, and a fuel cell. In addition, the car features lightweight fiberglass body components, including the front fenders, dash, bumpers, hood, and deck lid. Without doubt, this 1965 Belvedere recreates the drama and excitement of the original funny cars, and it will continue to thrill future generations.