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


The Ramchargers 1962 413 Super Stock Dodge -- the first of the factory built Super Stockers

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Ramchargers Stories - from Mike Buckel Part 06: 1961-62 The Super Stock Beginnings
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By Mike Buckel and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

The '61 Nationals represented a watershed event for Chrysler as all the future muscle cars sprang from that event. The Ramchargers Dodge entered as the only Chrysler product represented in the emerging Super Stock wars. The story of how we beat all the best cars in the country is documented in the book; We Were the Ramchargers.

We did not win stock eliminator but one could not tell that by reading any of the magazines that came out within the following several months. The Ramchargers beating Don Nicholson was on the cover of National Dragster the following week and photos of the Ramchargers beating Strickler/Jenkins, and Mickey Thompson were included in the article. These same photos were published in Hot Rod and most car magazines. Needless to say Chrysler was overwhelmed with the publicity.

It took until November for Lynn Townsend, the President of Chrysler, to finally approve development and production of a Super Stock car. In one of the smartest moves of his career, he selected Tom Hoover to implement this decision. Tom was given a stack of Change Orders signed by Townsend himself and directed to make it happen and make it happen he did. If the Maximum Performance Program would have gone through normal engineering channels the cars would have been at least 5 mph off the pace and two years late.

Time was running out on doing something for the '62 model year as many new parts needed to be designed, tested, tooled and produced. These included new heads, intake manifold, exhaust manifolds and camshaft for the engine. The car needed a better transmission and different exhaust system.

The engine was basically the same as that run in the Ramchargers '61 car, since there was no time for engine development. The new heads had a much thicker deck in addition to larger ports. The thick deck precluded head gasket failure. The exhaust manifolds were built for best flow with no tuning.

The Engine Design Department "refined" the cam designed by Jim Thornton resulting in a cam that was not quite as good. The Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed transmission was selected as it was a known strong unit and had good synchronizers. New gears with a 2.2 low gear ratio was tooled along with different input and output shafts. A new clutch housing was tooled that was explosion-proof eliminating the need for a separate scatter shield. It all came together in May when 100 Plymouths and 100 Dodges were produced - and they were the most ready to race car ever mass produced. Change the tires and go.

The Ramchargers had assembled a '62 racecar for the Winter Nationals. The old short-long ram manifold was used that required major surgery of the inner fender wells. The old, nasty Chrysler 3-speed transmission was used. Perhaps it was fortunate that the Winter Nationals were rained out and all the guys had to fly home, except me.

I flew my wife Carole out and we had a makeshift honeymoon in California. The following Sunday, while the Winter Nationals were running, we took the car to Fontana along with Al Eckstrand in a Torqflite equipped Chrysler 300. We raced each other several times with our Dodge being much stronger at the top end. The new B-body being much lighter than the '61 was running in the 12s at 112-113mph.

But I noticed that Al got a very good launch with the automatic transmission. This piece of observation would serve us well in the spring. After the Fontana fling the car was shipped back to Detroit.

Next time  - Spring time in Detroit.

  • Read the 1962 Dodge Super Stock  Road Test in Motor Trend Magazine - click Here

  • Read the Dart 413 Test in Car Life Magazine - click Here

  • See the Dodge Dart Ramcharger Ad - click Here

This drag race put Chrysler Corp on the map

Tom Hoover and the 1962 Dodge 413 Super Stock engine

Factory photo of one of the 1962 413 Dodge Dart

The 1962 car, not certified by NHRA running in A/FX. It was used by Mike Buckel on his honeymoon in California

Mike Buckel and Jim Thornton just driving around Southern California in the Ramchargers new A/FX Dodge - soon to be certified as a SS/SA car.