Bookmark this Page!
Website Index
Join Us - Help Preserve Auto History

Don't Want to Join Now?
Help Us Grow Our Collections
Donate $25

Donate here
They Support Us -
We support them

Volunteer to Help Us!

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


The Ramchargers first club car. The (in)famous High & Mighty.

A chopped top radically altered wheelbase 1949 Plymouth coupe with a 354 Chrysler Hemi and the world's first "tunnel ram" intake. It was the C/Altered record holder in 1959.

Any Downloadable Files
Associated with this Article

(Click on the file name to download it)
The High & Mighty at full song in 1960!!

Click HERE to Print this Page

Ramchargers Stories - from Mike Buckel Part 04: The High & Mighty
Click on the Thumbnails
Below to Enlarge

By Mike Buckel and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Last time we described the race cars of Tom Hoover, Wayne Ericson and Herman Moser.  Barns Daniels also ran a '57 Plymouth but continued with the A-Engine.  His car ran E/Gas and featured home built ram manifold with six side draft carburetors, later eight.  This car was not however, a record holder.  His transportation car was a "Forsdsler" a '55 Ford with a Chrysler Hemi. Troy Simonson tried to get power from the flat head six-cylinder with not much success.

In 1958 the NHRA announced that the Nationals would be held at Detroit Dragway. This announcement really gelled the Ramchargers as they resolved to construct a club car that would be a winner.  The first decision was to determine in which class to compete.  C/Altered was selected because Chevys dominated the class and with the secret weapon of the ram manifold they could be defeated.  This was the very beginning of the Ramchargers attitude of being the champion of Mother Chrysler, which hit its peak during the Super Stock and Pro Stock years and tapered off with the dragsters and funny cars.

As good engineers, the work of designing the car was divided with committees for each group.  There was an engine, chassis, body and suspension group, each with a chairman and specific goals. The result was the High & Mighty. An early assumption was that funding limitations would preclude a full-up race engine so to compensate the car would have to have outstanding traction. This result was the very high center of gravity and the shorted wheelbase. Relocating the rear wheels forward shortened the wheelbase. Where did we see this in the future?  As history has shown, this car had many technological innovations including the first four-link rear suspension, the ram manifold that placed the carburetors above the roof level and the megaphone exhaust pipes.

Construction was accomplished in a single car garage and no record holding car was ever constructed for less money. Each active member kicked in about $35 which bought the '49 Plymouth, a set of Jahns pistons and a few odds-and-ends.  The 1959 version of the car did not have rear fenders and the paint was a mixture of available paint, a pucky green.  As described in Dave Rockwell's famous book, We Were the Ramchargers, the 354 Hemi was salvaged from a truck engine returned for warranty.  The car was not completed until just a few weeks before the Nationals and proved to be a handful to drive. During the very first launch the RIGHT front tire tried to come off the ground. Obviously, the four-link suspension was effectively canceling the engine torque reaction. The solution was to make some adjustment to the suspension and launch the car more gently. Unknown at the time, the exhaust pipes de-tuned the engine at mid power, so shortly after launch the car would fall on its nose.

With the birth of the High & Mighty along with the early success at the '59 Nationals in Detroit it was back in garage. The High & Mighty got a major face-lift for the '60 season including fenders and a white paint job. It could no longer be called the "vomit comet".  A sponsor was found in Masons Chrysler Plymouth although there were no big bucks associated with the deal.

With the introduction of the slant 6, Ramcharger Pete McNicholl, became another record holder. He ran a slant 6 first in a dragster in G/Dragster the class that was set aside for flathead Fords, six cylinders and inline eight cylinder engines. NHRA changed the rules after Pete became unbeatable so he built a G/Gas Willys that quickly became a record holder in that class. He ran 170, 195 and 225 and maybe more versions of engines.

All the guys ran their cars along with the High & Mighty at the '60 Nationals and defended or reset their records.  This was the event where Wayne Ericson lost his life as a result of a clutch explosion and fire.

During the '60 season the sport became fully aware of Super Stock cars. Ford, Chevrolet and Pontiac offered ultra high performance cars with engines being upgraded throughout the year. The team of Royal Pontiac of Royal Oak Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit, won the '60 Nationals with times in the low 14 sec and speeds of 100 mph. The team toured the country with the S/S Automatic car towing the S/S Stick car. They would race themselves and almost anyone else that would race them. A guy named Ray Christian from Columbus Ohio beat them with a '60 Plymouth.  What he was running is still unknown, but it really upset Pontiac.

When NHRA published the '61 Rule Book the Ramchargers were surprised to find that the High & Mighty was no longer legal. (editors note: This would not be the last time the NHRA changed the rules on the Ramchargers !) The new rule precluded the crankshaft from being higher than 24 inches from the ground.  The engine in the High & Mighty was 36 inches above the ground.  The car became useless, since the entire car design and construction was centered on a high center of gravity.  The car was run once at Detroit Dragway early in the spring of '61 where it swallowed a valve.  The car was then scrapped.  Someone saved the intake manifold and tachometer that are now installed on High & Mighty II.

The thought then arose to try for a Super Stock deal.  Next time the Super Stock is born.

Click HERE for all other intallments.

This is why it was called High & Mighty !!

High and Mighty trick rear suspension

High & Mighty 354 hemi engine, headers & tunnel ram intake

The chassis team tests their design

High & Mighty custom race-prep interior

1959 C/Altered Record holder

High & Mighty in 1960 with trophies

High and mighty group photo.. they are (from left to right) Doug Patterson, Dick Maxwell, Maurie Leising and Jack McPherson. High & Mighty was built in Jack McPherson's garage.

Barns Daniels also ran a '57 Plymouth in E/Gas. (The Ford behind the Plymouth was Chrysler powered).

Barnes' Plymouth sported this intake