1-of-6 A/FX Plymouths from 1965 up for auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Rare 60s factory-prepped drag car up for grabs

1-of-6 A/FX Plymouths from 1965 up for auction
1-of-6 A/FX Plymouths from 1965 up for auction

The Big-Three manufacturers hold their own history of rivalries here in Australia, but in 1965 over in the US, Ford and Chrysler were locked in a battle of their own.

That year, Ford pulled out of the Super Stock drag racing series, and entered into the A/Factory Experimental class for the 1965 drag racing season. Chrylser couldn’t let them go unchallenged, and subsequently built a dozen of extensively modified B-bodies to take the fight to Ford.

Along with another six Dodges originally built, just five A/FX Chryslers are known to still survive.

This car is the most original of them, the 1965 Plymouth Belvedere A/FX, owned by Illinois racer Lee Smith – and it’s heading for auction at Mecum Florida next January.

1965-Plymouth-AFX-emblem.jpg

The ’65 Belvedere was originally a test mule, but modified to A/FX-spec in order to be competitive against Ford’s 427-powered A/FX Mustangs and Comets.

15-inches of sheetmetal was removed from the floorpan, allowing for the rear axle to be moved forward. The front axles too were moved forward by ten inches, supplemented by modified frame rails, revised torsion bar suspension and modified steering links.

The bodies were all acid-dipped; and gained extensive use of fibreglass panelling, as well has Lexan and Plexiglass windows and a thinner reinforced K-member all in the name of shaving vital mass.

1965-Plymouth-AFX-side.jpg

The 426ci Hemi was also lightened at every opportunity, with extensive use of magnesium components and an aluminium head.

Overall the A/FX-spec Belvederes weighed in at just 1270kgs, below the 1450kg weight minimum for the A/FX class though Chrysler ultimately intended to bolster the weight with ballasts.

Unfortunately, the cars never met the regulation due to the excessive modifications to the wheelbase (something Ford was also guilty of) and never raced under its intended regulations.

1965-Plymouth-AFX-trumpets.jpg

The cars did go on to battle their Blue Oval rivals in manufacture match races.

The car has undergone a number of stages and liveries, though has ultimately been restored to the livery and specification it last competed in.

While Mecum have yet to release any pre-auction estimates, the same car was once offered at auction back in 2017. Bids topped out at AUD$570,000 and failed to meet reserve, so it will be interesting to see how the 1965 Plymouth Belvedere A/FX goes the second time around when it goes under the hammer on January 12.

 

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