Certain things are locked in your memories that can never be shaken: the smell of grandpa's pipe, your first trip to Disneyland, your first kiss, or, even more importantly, your first experience with a hot rod. Dan Cook is no different. Growing up in Michigan, Dan recalls his first exposure to those "big old Mopars" was when his older brother purchased Dela Wood's Funny Honey '70 Challenger funny car. Competing against the Super Stockers and A/FX cars, Dale (Dan's brother) gave his little brother an education that would grow into an obsession.
Fast forward to present day. Dan now runs Dan Cook Racing, showcasing several Mopars at a variety of shows and races, featuring a '65 Hemi Coronet slathered with Mopar Performance badging. Dan realized that his Coronet was missing something, something that made '65 a watermark year for Chrysler corporate racing-an altered wheelbase ride.
He never even considered hacking up his current '65, so Dan began to search for another Coronet that would fit the bill. A stripped Coronet was found in Washington State, where the previous owner had begun the process of altering the wheelbase, wheel hubs, K-frame, trunk pan, and fenders. Dan admits the car was in poor shape, needing almost more than he was willing to put into it.
Actually, it was more than Dan could handle on his own, so he called for a little help from his friends-a team of fellow Mopar fanatics consisting of Steve Atwell, Richard and Dustin Vore, Randy Casey, Jan Feener, Jeff Mikuletzky, John Arruzza, Larry and Lenny from Statewide Upholstery, and, of course, Dan's older brother Dale. Once the rolling body was shipped out to Dan's facility in Jupiter, Florida, the crew began to dig in.
Pooling together the vast array of parts needed for such a rare and specialized car would prove nearly insurmountable. Any brackets and other oddities that couldn't be found by Jay Feener were hand-fabricated by Dale, who also modified the spring perches. Original A-990 Super Stock Plymouth seats were positioned in place with custom brackets, along with a tailored dash that deleted the radio and glove box. Randy Casey at The Racecar Factory fabricated the intricate roll cage, along with the large-tube 211/48-inch Hemi headers, as the body was being shaped and sanded to hide the heavy modifications that altering the rear wheelbase makes. moving the rear section 14 inches forward and the front 10 inches, Jeff Mikuletzky brought the car to identical factory specs.
Special parts were fabricated for the Funny car, such as the lightweight steel front fenders, doors, and quarter-panels. The stainless steel K-member and extended length torsion bars are original pieces courtesy of Steve Atwell. Classic Lexan windows were installed for both a vintage look and the nominal featherweight they offer. Sled City of Ohio provided the fiberglass hood, super stock ram-air scoop, dash, and front bumper.
Yet, what made the A/FX a legend was what sat between those lightweight fenders. As all this work was being conducted on the Coronet, Dan dove into building a correct Hemi for the Big B. The task of building a period-correct, cross-rammed Hemi fell upon Dan, and Richard and Dustin Vore. A Callies crank utilizing stock dimensions spins the steel Eagle rods with Wiseco 11.0:1 pistons for a near stock-matching specification.
The top end is nearly factory as well; Mopar steel heads with Manley valves and Comp Cams' springs support an original cross-ram intake manifold topped with twin 770 Holley carbs fed by a Holley Blue electric fuel pump. The heavy-breathing elephant is backed up by a 727 auto filled with a Turbo Action/Cheetah manual valvebody and a Dynamic 3,800 stall torque converter. The heavy Dana 60 boasts 4.10 gears, a Sure Grip, and Moser axles, aiding the Coronet with burning the Mickey Thompsons into dust.