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

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Adding a supercharger
pushes the limit!

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The new 1967 Dart funny car used a "torque-reaction cancellation" chassis with a separate drivetrain subframe that could pivot from the other chassis. The Ramchargers later supercharged the engine -- stressing the rest of the drivetrain to its limit.

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Ramchargers Stories - from Mike Buckel Part 22: The Ramchargers New 1967 Dart Funny Car
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By Mike Buckel and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Engine durability became an even bigger issue as we moved into the ’67 Funny Car season.  The Ramchargers were running straight Nitro with a touch of Hydrazine, 50 degrees of spark lead and 11.5:1 compression, the same as what we had been running in the ’66 car.  By the end of racing on Sunday afternoon four to six cylinders were blowing blue smoke. 

Upon disassembly the pistons in these cylinders had the top ring stuck in the groove.  There was no sign of heat damage or scuffing.  We concluded that the firing pressure was sufficient to yield the piston top and you should know how stout Hemi pistons are.  The problem was a minor issue with the ’66 car but greatly escalated with the ’67 car.  The outstanding chassis in the ’67 car allowed more time at full throttle as shown by the higher speeds and the piston damage.

Dan Knapp, the key guy on the dragster, had been telling us for more than a year to put on a blower.  Since virtually every body we were running except the Comets were by now supercharged it became more acceptable to try out this combination.  Tom Hoover began collecting parts in May and, as typical, put together a trophy engine.  The combination was 484 cu. in. using a Moldex crankshaft with 8.5:1 compression, which was very aggressive at that time. 

The heads were aluminum with stainless steel valves.  The block had the head, main bearing and main bearing side bolt holes machined for one size bigger than stock and the deck machined for seal rings.  A Detroit supplier had bolts that were considerably stronger than Grade 8 called “Super-tainium”.  The 6-71 blower was set up with 35 percent overdrive, which was also very aggressive at that time.  This setup was the same as the dragster except for the displacement and compression ratio.  The plan was to run just 50 percent Nitro and continue with 50 degrees of lead.

Introduction of this combination was at Cecil County in June.  The program was one of the Funny Car events with 50 cars and a $2500 to win purse, exceptional money in 1967.  Dan Mancini had negotiated a deal for $500 against the purse.  The chance of loosing one of these big events is very high because of the possibility of a red light, a driver snooze at the line or a parts failure.  So this was the perfect time to try out the blown motor.


The story of the cars introduction is very well told in Dave Rockwell’s book We Were the Ramchargers; however, it is such a good story that I will repeat it here.  We arrived early Saturday afternoon to test the new combination with me in the saddle.  On the first burnout I communicated to the crew that the car felt like it had a second engine.  On the third burnout the aluminum kickdown carrier shelled out its splines and spun on the output shaft.  So we stuffed in the only spare transmission we had and developed a plan to get through the night.

Clearly we could not use full power in low gear.  We were running M & H tires that had very good bite at the line but were weak on the top end.  So we switched to the Goodyear’s that had just the opposite performance characteristics.  The plan was to pedal the car in first and second and then turn the horses loose in high gear.  Using this plan the car ran 8.0’s at well over 180 mph.  This was a quarter second and 10 mph better than the injected engine.  Who says you can’t make good ETs with a poor low end?  The torque cancellation chassis took the additional 1500 hp with no adjustments and continued to go super straight.


We waded through the field and won the event that finally concluded at 2:00 am Sunday.  During eliminations, Arnie Beswick opened up a three-car length lead while I was pedaling in low and second.  Once I punched the high gear button and wooded it, Arnie just disappeared.  I thought that he broke his car but it turned out it was the first time he had gone over 170 mph, so I had him covered by 15 mph.


We were able to come up with a steel kick down carrier that had four pinion gears instead of three.  After about a dozen runs the needle bearings in the pinion gears were crushed.  After about six runs the high gear clutches and the kick down band were tired.  We were finally approaching the limit of the basically stock Torqueflite transmission.

 

The 67 Dart chassis with the initial fuel injected nitro burning Hemi

The 67 Dart with new supercharged engine debuts at Cecil County Dragway

Mike Buckel at Cecil -- a cameo

The supercharged Dart was "like having two motors" -- Hang on Mike !!

Shutting down the Stone Woods & Cook Mustang funny car at Detroit

Mike Buckel with the 67 Dart

Arriving on the trailer and ready to race.