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

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The CL test of the 1965 A990 Super Stock Dodge
Dodge Ad for the Ramchargers 1965 Winternationals victory
 
 
The first test run of the AWB AFX car in January 1965-- note it was a Plymouth body with long injector tubes

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Ramchargers Stories - from Mike Buckel Part 16: The AF/X Car Appears in the Spring of 1965
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By Mike Buckel and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Last time we described the 1965 A/FX three-point program to achieve parity with the Mercury Comets and Ford Mustangs with the new overhead cam (OHC) engine.  The three points were 1) weight distribution, 2) total weight and 3) engine power.  The wheels were dramatically relocated to improve weight distribution and in the process created the term “funny car”. 

Five Dodge and five Plymouth bodies were framed in the Los Angeles plant and dipped in acid to substantially reduce weight, on the order of 200 pounds.  The engine power was to be increased by incorporation of fuel injection and making this function properly proved to be a considerable challenge.

A very large number of inlet pipe configurations attached to the Hilborn fuel injectors were tested on the dynomometer.  While this testing was going on the lightweight cars arrived from California and all except the Ramchargers’ car were converted to altered wheelbase.  These cars debuted at the AHRA Winter Nationals in Phoenix the week before the NHRA Winter Nationals. They ran the ram manifold with carburetors.  This would be the only shot before spring as NHRA had declared that these “funny cars” would not race on their tracks.

The Ramchargers’ car remained with the standard wheel location to race in both AHRA and NHRA.  Dodge provided us with an A990 car so all the parts would be readily available to finish out the acid dipped car. 

Jim Thornton and I were scheduled to take the car to Phoenix, leaving Detroit on Tuesday.  That morning Thornton comes down with appendicitis.  Tom Hoover and Dan Mancini agreed to go on the trip but needed time to sort out their affairs. 

So I left Detroit that evening with my wife Carole and daughter Brenda in the D300 crew cab truck with a 426 wedge and the car on a trailer.  The plan was to drop Carole and Brenda in St. Louis, at my folks, pick up Tom and Dan at the airport and head southwest. At Benton Harbor, Michigan the temperature gauge on the D300 goes on the peg. 

As luck would have it a nearby service station was open.  We unhooked the trailer, took the truck inside, removed all the A/C stuff and then removed the thermostat.  While paying the bill the truck overheated again. More investigation and we noticed that no water was circulating in the radiator top tank.  So off comes the A/C once more and we remove the water pump. The impeller had detached itself from the shaft. 

With no options, I took the water pump off of the spare engine in the truck.  The impeller had been turned down to about two inches in diameter, but who can be choosy at 11:00 pm in western Michigan.  I climbed in the back seat for a quick snooze while Carole drove around Chicago and started down old Highway 66. When the fog came in she screamed and I took over the rest of the way to St. Louis.

Then I snoozed while she picked up Tom and Dan.  It was late morning when we finally got launched.  We made Oklahoma City after the best steak ever at Jamils in Tulsa.  By the time we rolled into the Phoenix the new Goodyear tires had pretty much given up with shucking treads and blisters.  Only five tires were on the road.

Altered wheelbase cars at the meet that I remember included: Bud Faubel, Ronnie Sox, Roger Lindemood and the Golden Commandos. The altered cars were included in Super Stock with our stock wheelbase car.  I lost to Faubel in the class runoffs running about 0.05 sec. slower.  The next day we all ran again along with all the lower stock class winners.  I won the thing with the final matchup against a Chevy that was spotted so far down the track I could hardly see the flagman.  Our car was running 11 sec. flat at 131 mph.

The following week was NHRA where the A990 cars dominated Super Stock with Bill Jenkins, driving a Plymouth, won Stock Eliminator.  In A/FX we were close but not close enough to beat out the OHC Mustangs.  We were only about a tenth off their pace which was encouraging since we were planning to have more power soon.

 

The wide variety of injector tube lengths tried by the Ramchargers -- the 15" long tube was selected

The 1965 A990 Dodge Super Stock car

The Ramchargers D300 Club Cab truck and matching trailer

Bill Jenkins 1965 A990 Plymouth Super Stock Nationals winner

The Tasca Ford 1965 AFX 427 SOHC Mustang

When it's "run what you brung" --- you better brung enough -- try 472 cu.in. of injected Hemi -- more next column