based on early '60's Mopar Logo

Works in Progress

1965 Plymouth Belvedere

Bobby Miller writes:

Let me tell you about my ongoing race car project.

I have a 1965 Plymouth Belvedere two door hard top. The car was a 318 car and has hardly any rust.

The Plymouth's configuration:

My comments on the above setup:
How does the Plymouth run?

1965 Plymouth Belvedere

At my home track at Ozark International Raceway (which is only a 1000 foot track) I have run a very traction limited 9.21 at 112 Mph; also a 7.05 at 98 in the 1/8th mile. Those times were with a no name 3200 stall convertor.

I got a supposably good 5000 stall convertor and with this stall convertor my best 60 foot time was a 1.55, but most of the time it is around 1.60 to 1.65.

I went to the Monster Mopar Weekend last September and this was my first time racing in the 1/4 mile. With my car still spinning off the line, my best time was 11.29 in the 1/4 at 119 mph. And my best 1/8 mile was 7.20 at 95mph. My 60 foot time was a 1.61.

Remember that junk torque converter I mentioned? Well on the eighth pass nothing felt wrong with the run, but when I came back to the pit area my buddy came running over and showed me a piece of my torque convertor! After we looked under to see what was wrong with it, we found that the torque convertor bolt lug had broken loose from the convertor. It ripped the bolt through my SFI approved flexed plate with the bolt still in the torque convertor lug!

I was very upset because I missed eliminations Saturday and Sunday. It was a two hour drive for nothing. I took the torque convertor back to the guy who built it (Samco Transmission) at the Lake of the Ozarks. I will never buy another product from them again. After I fixed the convertor I went to my home track and raced the car. It lost four mph in a 1000 foot. I only ran 108 mph, my car should have been, hopefully, running high ten seconds in a quarter at 124 mph. I can see why everyone says that you cannot by a good convertor cheap!

My future plans are to move the rear springs in and put 31/13/15 Mickey Thompson slicks on Weld 15/10 Pro Star wheels. I will definitely put a roll bar in the '65 too.

I also plan on painting my car red and put all fiberglass parts in it. I am going to put a fuel cell in too. In Spring 2002 I would like to put a bigger cam, possibly a roller cam, and a 250 horse nitro-system. I am positive that this will get my car running in tens!

I have a question for anyone reading this that has a 1965 Belvedere hardtop: My car weighed at 3380 lbs with me in it, it is all steel except for the hood was not on it and it has bare interior with just two front seats. Does that weight sound right or approximately what the car should weigh?

Any advise Mopar fans are willing to offer I will be glad to read and consider, your help and opinions are appreciated.

Update June 2002

I moved my springs inboard and had mini tubbs installed.

I am using M/T 29.5/11.5/15 slicks on Weld Prostar wheels, which are 15/10 with 6-1/2 inches of back spacing. Also i have a set of M/T 31/13/15 slicks yet to try.

Regarding that junk 5000 converter I wrote about above? Last year it was the last race of the year at my local track. I let my cousin drive the '65. He was doing a burn out and all of a sudden the tires quit spinning but the motor still revved up and he went and made a pass. He only run a 9.60 at 106 mph in the 1000 foot mark so I knew something was wrong with my car.

So I saved up my money and built a new tranny over last winter and finally traded for a 4400 stall Turbo Action converter that only had three 1/8 mile passes on it.

My buddy was running a 13.5.1 small block with a 350 horse nos shot but a about the 1/8 mile it would melt a piston. So on the third pass he said the heck with it and traded it to me. However it stalls about 5200 behind my big block, as it was built for a tranny brake, which I have not bought yet.

When I put my new transmission in I checked my old stall conveter. The converter had gotten so hot that it burnt all the paint off of it and turned the outside of the converter blue! I will never buy a cheap converter again!

Now for the good news!

I took my car back to my home track and ran a best time of 10.69 in the 1/4 at 128mph. My track went to 1/4 racing on Friday nights. Also, I ran a best 1/8 time of 6.88 at 100mph and a 60 foot time of 1.53.

But I am not done yet.

I still think there is more left in the old car. I mean I have not played with the timing or tried adjusting the carbs yet, etc.

Then there is this little problem I am having with my car leap frogging off the the line> Anyone have any suggestions or ideas? I was thinking of buying a Caltrac kit and trying it.

Also in the works is a complete Indy 440-1 aluminium head kit with Stage II porting and either a 640-650 solid flat tappet cam or a 660-690 solid roller cam, with a 1050 carb.

I still plan on getting a 150-250 nos system. But I have to get my 10 point roll cage put in before I race it again, or when I go to the Monster Mopar Weekend again this year.

I hope to run around 9.90-9.50 with the Indy head kit. What do you folks out there think?
Nice one Bobby!

You are right when it comes to torque converters: no shortcuts are available! By the way, I have heard good things about the Dynamic 5100 too, fwiw.

My cheat sheet says the V-8 equipped shipping weight for a '65 Belvedere I sedan was 3130; 3170 for a Belvedere II hardtop, and 3220 for the Satellite hardtop.

Keep having fun and making new Mopar friends with the Plymouth!   smile!

Gary H.

November 23, 2001; January 6, 2002; June 2002

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