Suspension: Front, the narrowed A100 straight axle has a 6031/44-inch track width and rides on custom leaf springs by Craig Spring of Seattle, Washington.
Rear: 3,800-pound 454/455 Mopar Performance Super Stock leaf springs.
Brakes: Big 11-inch A100 drum brakes are retained, and, according to Rich, are plenty capable of stopping this 3,100-pound rig from 130-mph trap speeds at the strip.
Wheels: fronts are ultra-rare magnesium American five-spokes; rears are widened steelies.
Rubber: Up front, Rich mounted a set of bias-ply 7.75-15 Uniroyals with skinny whitewalls. The whitewalls may look silly to some, but similar tires were used on the altered-wheelbase Hemi match racers of The Ramchargers and Bud Faubel. Proof appears on the cover of the September '65 issue of Super Stockers in action. The rears are modern Mickey Thompson ET streets, measuring really big.
Body: Nothing says "old school" like taking a perfectly good four-door sedan, and turning it into a really cool A/FX car. It takes a lot of cutting and welding to do it, but, wow, what a look.
Paint: The factory '65 gold color was applied by Rich, and the lettering by Bob Thompson of Team Thompson in Pomona, California, (909/987-4424).
Interior: It's street car with a cool race vibe; the interior sports A100 van seats on reproduction Kramer Automotive A990 Super Stock brackets. Richard and friend, Mike Volz, welded the radio hole and glovebox door closed to duplicate the look of a factory-supplied '65 A/FX fiberglass dashboard. That's all there is, there ain't no more.The stock Mopar aluminum steering box mounts to a fabbed steel plate. Note the replacement of the factory K-member and frame extensions with welded square tubing. Simple and sweet.
The gutted interior sports A100 van seats on reproduction Kramer A990 Super Stock brackets. Richard and friend, Mike Volz, welded the radio hole and glovebox door closed to duplicated the look of a factory-supplied '65 A/FX fiberglass dashboard.
The narrowed A100 straight axle has a 6031/44-inch track width and rides on custom leaf springs by Craig Spring of Seattle, Washington.
In true run-what-ya-brung fashion, the Hilborn-injected Hemi looks like a 426, but packs a Velasco stroker crank that delivers 511 cubes. Ross pistons yield a pump-gas friendly 10.5:1 compression ratio and dyno proven 600 hp at 6,800 rpm.
Richard isn't afraid to tell people he sliced a clean Coronet grille to accept this vintage 3-gallon Moon tank. External tanks like this appeared as the factory A/FX teams began playing with nitro mixtures.
Simple sheetmetal panels fill 15-inch gaps in the quarter-panel extensions after surgery.
The temporary tape outline reveals where the stock quarter-panels are cut and moved forward 15-inches from their stock location to get the altered-wheelbase effect. The entire horizontal section, including the wheelhouses, also moves a like amount and is rewelded into position.
Bob Thompson brainstormed with Rich to come up with a tasteful tribute to the circus wagon/storefront advertising font style common to most mid-'60s door-slammer funny cars. Here Bob brushes on the red border for the Gold Rush logos. Airbrush work isn't correct; it didn't hit the funny car scene until the late-'60s.
Compare the lettered Gold Rush with the naked car in the main photos. Rich borrowed elements of the old Doc Burgess/Bill Jenkins Black Arrow Plymouth and the late Les Ritchey's Performance Associates logos for his modern counterpart. All sponsor logos and slogans are hand painted, not decals.
Rich blows minds every time he takes his latest creation out for a drive. Cops don't seem to mind and usually give him a big thumbs-up.
"Most of the guys who build these things today make them too pretty. The real ones were actually very crude. Like fighter planes, they'd go up, get shot at, land, get patched, then go back up again."-Richard LeFebvre