Take one '65 Belvedere, stuff the engine compartment with dual-quad Hemi power, aim it down the dragstrip, and hang on as you're propelled to 135 mph in 10 seconds. During the early Super Stock era, that's just what Plymouth did while the quarter-mile competition ran for cover.
But with the dragstrip wars at full-throttle, Chrysler needed to keep its edge. So with a handful of standard Super Stock race cars in hand, Chrysler engineers set out to raise the bar even further by building not only a much lighter car, but also one that would provide vastly improved traction with the front and rear wheel positions moved ahead several inches. These single-purpose cars became known as altered wheelbase A/Factory Experimentals (A/FX) and were a hit for their power and performance, while also gaining notoriety for their unique appearance. Almost immediately, these funny-looking, altered-wheelbase cars became the first "Funny Cars," and, thus, the term began.
Bob Munoa has always loved early Mopars and their well-earned contributions to drag racing. Amongst his long list of previously-owned Mopars are Hemi 'Cudas and scores of cool and fast '62-'65 B-Bodies. Now Bob is not your ordinary Mopar guy, who just happens to have a few choice examples parked in his family's garage. Instead, Bob has a shop big enough to stable more than a dozen Mopars, with almost 30 early B-Body donor cars parked just outside. So when this veteran Los Angeles City Fire Captain recently got the impulse to build his own Hemi-powered '65 altered-wheelbase A/FX car, he definitely had the means.
With the help of his dad John (a longtime metal craftsman), his son, bodyman RJ, and brother Phil, the team set out to construct one very awesome Belvedere. The guys began their automotive assault with an untouched six-cylinder Belvedere and made quick work out of completely disassembling the body and bolting it to a rotisserie. Next, the body, floorpan, and framerails had to be measured and surgically cut to alter the wheelbase. Up front, the K-member and shock towers took up a new residence 10 inches forward of their original positions. At the rear, they shortened the Dana 60 four inches to provide more tire clearance. Next, Bob and the team moved the rear axle housing and leaf-spring mounting points forward 13 inches. With all the horses they planned to stuff in this Belvedere, they knew it needed plenty of whoa power. so before finishing the suspension tasks they installed a set of 11-inch rear drum brakes and Stainless Steel Brakes disc brake setup at the front.
On the outside, Bob and the guys relocated the front and rear fenderwell openings forward to match the original altered-wheelbase positions. Unlike the original cars that used ill-matching, fiberglass body panels, Bob insisted on installing better fitting sheetmetal pieces. Then he carefully worked and adjusted the panels so the door and body seams align. The entire B-Body revamping required X-braces to be temporarily welded inside the car to maintain an integral structure that would not move during the work.