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C/FX Racing - Battle Of The Heavyweights

Obscure C/FX was Fertile Ground for the Small-Block and Dragstrip Drama in the Summer of 1965

By Geoff Stunkard, Photography by Vintage Accounts

Dave's wife, Susie Koffel, humorously recounted her experiences as the den mother for the racers at Indy that summer in a story that ran in Super Stock & Drag Illustrated magazine. "We built that car to go after the record, and Dick Maxwell was there, and we got it at Muncie," she recalled. "We even put a big sign on the wall as we worked on the car that said 'Get Hoefer!' But we never did have a chance to race him that year."

Dave concurs: "I never raced him heads-up; I think that would have been fun. We ran unopposed at the Nationals. Amazingly, because of how NHRA tried to make things fair with the FX cars, the lower FX cars ran in Jr. Stock. So we got the class win at Indy, and then we raced on Monday; I got down to three cars, including myself, Bill Ersham from Toledo, and a guy named John Callendar. Well, I broke out against Ersham, and Callendar won the whole thing, which included a trip to Hawaii. I'll always remember that."

The Maloney Motors C/FX car would retrieve the record in late September at National Trail Raceway. Then, in early October, Sylvia Hoefer got behind the wheel of the Ford at Half Moon Bay for the final weekend of points meets of 1965. While Bill cautioned her not to hit the record too hard, she legged the big Galaxie down the 1320 to what would be the best numbers of the season, a 13.17 that stood until the records were all reset to minimum with the 1966 rules package changes.

"What I remember was that in 1964, my dad had gotten points in Modified Production for resetting his own record over and over," said Willie Hoefer, "and I think that next year you could not reset your own record; somebody else had to do it, so my dad put my mom in the car and told her to double clutch it to not hammer the record. They said she missed a gear, but really it was how she was told to drive it. She was actually pretty good with that stick."

The season was winding down, and so was the interest by the factories in FX and, perhaps even more, by Bill Hoefer.

"We had a pretty good deal, very generous, but he had to do a lot of traveling," Sylvia said. "You know, toward the end of the season, Bill was really tired of being told where to race. We headed to someplace, maybe Bakersfield, and he was so fed up with it that he put a big 'for sale' sign in the window of the car. It finally got to him, being told what to do." Indeed, by the end of the year, Ford was done as the Hoefers' supporters, as well. Bill didn't miss a beat, starting 1966 with another dealership-sponsored stocker.

"After that, he got a Chrysler A/S Hemi Coronet in 1966, the same year Bill Jenkins had his Chevy II," Willie said. "Ted Spehar put that car together for him and called him and told him he would need to get a trailer to come get it. Up to that time, we had flat-towed everywhere, so he got one. Unfortunately, he only ran it for a year, and that car was stolen, and then we moved to Eastern Oregon and had a cattle ranch, so that was the end of his racing. I raced for about a decade, 1973–1984, and won the Mile-High Nationals in 1984 in Super Stock. I have no idea where the C/FX car went, maybe back to Ford."

As for the Koffel "273 Hemi" package car, Dave found out where it went several years ago. "We retired the car in late 1965, and the reason I know that is because we put the Edelbrock intake back on it, and I sold the car locally as a turnkey race car to a man for his son. Well, the son ended up being drafted into the Army soon afterward and never came back. The man had the car for some time, and he sold it. I tried to track it down for a while and found out it had been restored as a stock A990, but I think it would have been worth more as the only 1965 C/FX car than one of 100 Hemis!"

For Dave, the era of Factory Experimental paved the way to bigger things, including helping with the W2 race head development during Bob Glidden's lone-year Mopar run (1979) and up through today, with Koffel's Place modern role in big-inch Chrysler street and bracket performance.

"To have a factory deal was a really big thing, doing research-type stuff, and to this day, I'm really more interested in going fast rather than winning. So 1965 sort of got that started for me as an outside contractor, and I later worked for another 12 or 13 years directly for them. I met a lot of people inside of Chrysler during that time, many who became lifelong friends. I really enjoyed it."

On the Record...
Sylvia Hoefer blistered the C/FX index with a 13.17 at the sea-level air of Half Moon Bay in early October 1965, the last weekend of the year to set a record.

July 2 C/FX Suburban Motor Sales 13.92 ---- Muncie, IN July 1964
July 2 Hoefer Brothers 1965 Ford 13.92 101.46 Carlsbad, CA April 1965
July 16 Dave Koffel 1965 Plymouth 13.45 103.21 Muncie, IN July 1965
July 23 Dave Koffel 1965 Plymouth* 13.36 ---- York, PA July 1965
August 20 Hoefer Brothers 1965 Ford 13.32 107.30 Palmdale, CA Aug. 1965
September 10 Labor Day Weekend; Dave Koffel wins C/FX class on a bye run at Indy
September 24 Dave Koffel 13.29 ---- Columbus, OH. Sept. 1965
October 15 Sylvia Hoefer 13.17 ---- Half Moon Bay, CA Oct. 1965

*Listed as Koffel-Engelhardt-Mortimer
(C/FX record results, summer 1965, National Dragster cover dates)

By Geoff Stunkard
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