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The Ramchargers used their knowledge gained in Chrysler Engineering to develop some awesome racers.

They also were involved in the development of the MOPAR short and long ram intakes and, of course, the second generation HEMI.


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From the early to mid-sixties, the Ramchargers may have been the most
dominate Super Stock and AFX cars of the period.

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Ramchargers Stories - from Mike Buckel Part 01: In the Beginning
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By Mike Buckel and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

I am Mike Buckel and I was a very active Ramcharger from the Super Stock of 1961 through the blown fuel Funny Car of 1967. I will describe some of the events and memories of what life at Chrysler was like in those years and of the Ramchargers. I will try to avoid retelling stories that are well documented in We Were the Ramchargers, by Dave Rockwell and published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) although some stories are so good they are worth retelling and somewhat embellishing. The book is available through SAE.org and is highly recommended.

But let us back up a bit and look at Chrysler in the 50s before moving on to the golden days of drag racing. Chrysler, and in particular, Engineering was an old man's company. Most of the senior people had been with the company since the depression days of the 1930s and were very conservative. The flat head six cylinder engines remained as the base engine in Plymouths and Dodges until 1959 and dated back to before WW-II. The cars were boxy so that a man could enter without hitting his hat. Manual transmissions had a very low 2nd gear so that 1st was not necessary for boulevard driving. When accelerating up through the gears it felt like 1st, 2nd and 4th. The early semi-automatic transmissions were horribly inefficient.

After the War it was perceived that more modern engines would be required. A huge engineering project looked at numerous engine configurations including 60 degree V-8s & V-12s among others. In parallel, combustion chamber configurations were studied and tested in single cylinder and multi-cylinder engines. The first major decision was to go with a 90-degree overhead valve V-8.

As the Korean War began there was a concern that because of military demand the civilian fuel quality would go down. Testing had shown that the HEMI cylinder head had a much lower octane requirement than other combustion chamber designs. Use of a HEMI combustion chamber would allow the engine to have a higher compression ratio than others and would not suffer as fuel quality deteriorated. So the adoption of the HEMI for the Chrysler V-8 of 1951 was not at all based on performance.

About that time John DeLorean graduated from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering. The Institute was a program began in the early 1930s that provided students with a Graduate Degree in Automotive Engineering in two years while gaining experience in various engineering departments.

Most of the Ramchargers were graduates and I was in the class of 1963. DeLorean apparently was quite outspoken about the need for Chrysler to improve its performance image and design cars for the younger market. He was told that Chrysler had some very smart people that had determined what the market needed and he was invited to leave. He first went to Packard until they folded, then on to Pontiac and the rest is history.

Next time we will look at the 1953 Indy Car engine and the birth of the Ramchargers.

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It all started here.
But it wasn't immediately thought of as a performance engine.

The first Ramchargers project was this Plymouth C Altered with an early Hemi. Note the intake and exhaust runners.

Their 1961 Dodge Dart was a long ram "Sonoramic" car. The 383 made sweet
330 HP and could run with the best
Chevys and Fords of the day

The 410 HP 413 short ram engine
broke the ground for the famous
1963 and 1964 "Ramchargers"