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Home/News and Feature Articles/Car History - Car Stories/ Dodge Stories/

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The Ramchargers were a club made up of Chrysler engineers.

The used drag racing as a test bed for ideas they were working on at Chrysler.


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Tom Hoover and his awesome '57 Plymouth Fury Convertible.

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Ramchargers Stories - from Mike Buckel Part 03: Forming the Ramchargers
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By Mike Buckel and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

The Ramchargers was formed as a loose confederation in 1957. A focus among the club members was to exploit the ram intake technology developed during the A-311 Indy Car Engine Program, hence the name "Ramchargers". Old rosters show a large number of guys that came and went, with membership of up to 2-dozen.

There were, as with all organizations, a few guys that were apparently the backbone and spark plugs. Among them were Tom Hoover, Herman Moser, Wayne Ericson, Barns Daniels and Troy Simonson, who each had a racecar. By 1959 the club had become more organized and Herman was the President.

Hoover was first off by installing a prepared 392 Chrysler in a brand new '57 Plymouth convertible. The engine was ready when he took delivery of the car and the 318 was pulled almost immediately.

The intake was the first ever streetable ram manifold. Two 4-barrel carburetors were mounted on top of a plenum chamber over the curbside valve cover. Ram tubes connected the plenum to the cylinder heads. The tubes on the curbside looped under the plenum and were longer than the ones on the streetside so tuning was accomplished over a wide range of the power band. The car had the early iron case Torqflite transmission.

Tom became the class winner and record holder in C/Gas/Automatic. The story goes that Tom was a terrible driver. He raced the car in "Drive" and when he spun the tires, the transmission would upshift, sometimes to high gear, and the tires would stop spinning. Then the transmission would downshift and the cycle would be repeated. The power must have carried the race.

Herman Moser ran a record holding '53 Dodge with a little 241 Hemi in E/Gas. His fabricated ram manifold had six Holley single barrel carburetors. He shared a garage in the worst part of Detroit with a guy who raced fabricated light weight sporty cars - powered by outboard motors. You could not leave your transportation car outside when you went to visit or help him with his car, or it might "disappear".

Wayne Ericson had a '54 Dodge with a 354 Hemi that held the class records in B/Gas. Wayne was the Chrysler fuel injection guru working on the electronic system that was to compete with the Rochester mechanical fuel injection offered on Chevrolets and Pontiacs. The big problem was that the world was not ready for automotive electronics. Wayne had a variation of the system on his Dodge, with a fuel control mounted on the bottom center of the instrument panel.

The NHRA, of course, rejected the car for having fuel in the plane of rotation of the clutch, when he went through Technical Inspection for the '60 Nationals. He gave them some song and dance and got the car approved.

During one of the time trials the clutch exploded and the scatter shield that had suffered many clutch explosions said, "I quit" and let pieces into the car. The fuel control was broken and fire ensued. Wayne died 10 days after the incident. Wayne's demise was very fresh on the Ramchargers collective minds when I joined in the spring of 1961.

We will pick up on other Ramchargers cars in the next installment.

Ram Induction details. It was an odd setup that worked. It led the way to what would become the factory "Sonoramic" (Plymouth) and "Golden Commando" (Dodge) options.

Herman Moser used a 1953 Dodge like this to set records in E/Gas

It was powered by this tiny 241 cu. in. Hemi which was a totally different block/heads engine from the big block 331-392 Hemi of fame.

Wayne Ericson used a '54 Dodge like this for his experiments with fuel injection. Placing the fuel controller inside the cockpit lead to his demise.

This is the 354 Hemi as used in the Chrysler 1956 300B. This was the FIRST production engine to be rated at one HP per cu. in. Ericson used this version to test fuel injection for Chrysler.