No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
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- Resources for the Historian, Researcher, and the Enthusiast -
Tuesday June 17, 2014
Revisiting the Ramchargers, '69 SC/Rambler, '55 Packards, '67 442 vs. Turnpike Cruiser, '03 Mustang Cobra Brochure - and More!

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Today's Stories -
Revisiting the Ramchargers - A Tribute to Jim Thornton
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Did You Miss These?

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to See the the Article

1965 Pontiac 2+2

1965 Pontiac 2+2
Baddest Big Car Ever!

1970 Chevelle LS6

1970 - Screaming the loudest
before you die!

ForPly vs 64 Wax Wedge

"ForPly" versus Tom Hoover's 1964 Pure Stock Max Wedge

Olds W-43 4-Valve

Don't Call Me a Hemi - 'cause I'm not! Oldsmobile's Infamous W-43

1966 GTO Tiger Test

1966 "Gee Tee O Tiger" Test

1963 Ramchargers Photo

The remaining Ramchargers autographed this famous photo
of their two 1963 S/S cars launching together.
Jim's signature is prominent at the left.

Tom Hoover 1957 Plymouth

The Ramchargers' first experiment with ram tuning was
Tom Hoover's1957 Plymouth. It sported a 392 Chrysler Hemi
with the ram tuning shown here.

1959 High and Mighty

The "High and Mighty was the first Club project developed to
test all their theories. It was very successful.
Note the ultra-long ram induction system - it worked!

1961 Dodge Dart

The first foray into Super Stock Racing was with a 1961 Dodge Dart.
The motor was a 413 - made available by Dodge for this sole purpose.
They beat Don Nicholson's Chevy at the NHRA Nationals and that paved the way to the Dodge/Plymouth S/S Program!

1962 Dodge S/S Car

The first "factory built Super Stockers were
pioneered by the Ramchargers.

Note: With the passing of Jim Thornton last week, we thought it appropriate to Revisit the History of Dodge's racing activity in the 60's since Jim was such a significant contributor.

In the Beginning - Part One
by Mike Buckel & Wild About Cars Staff - reprint with permission only.

A Little History
I am Mike Buckel and I was a very active Ramcharger from the Super Stock of 1961 through the blown fuel Funny Car of 1967. I will describe some of the events and memories of what life at Chrysler was like in those years and of the Ramchargers.

Let us back up a bit and look at Chrysler in the 50s before moving on to the golden days of drag racing. Chrysler, and in particular, Engineering was an old man's company. Most of the senior people had been with the company since the depression days of the 1930s and were very conservative. The flat head six cylinder engines remained as the base engine in Plymouths and Dodges until 1959 and dated back to before WW-II. The cars were boxy so that a man could enter without hitting his hat.

After the War it was perceived that more modern engines would be required. A huge engineering project looked at numerous engine configurations including 60 degree V-8s & V-12s among others. In parallel, combustion chamber configurations were studied and tested in single cylinder and multi-cylinder engines. The first major decision was to go with a 90-degree overhead valve V-8.

Testing had shown that the HEMI cylinder head had a much lower octane requirement than other combustion chamber designs. Use of a HEMI combustion chamber would allow the engine to have a higher compression ratio than others and would not suffer as fuel quality deteriorated. So the adoption of the HEMI for the Chrysler V-8 of 1951 was not at all based on performance.

Forming the Ramchargers
The Ramchargers were 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.

The High and Mighty
In 1958 the NHRA announced that the Nationals would be held at Detroit Dragway. This announcement gelled the Ramchargers to construct a club car that would be a winner.  The C/Altered class 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 being the champion of Mother Chrysler.

The First Super Stocker - the 1961 Dodge
The next logical step for the group was to get into the super stock wars, that was heating up at the time. Ford, Chevrolet and Pontiac were actively involved, but there was no Chrysler Corporation cars represented. A proposal was developed and Jim Thornton, Tom Hoover and Dan Mancini . . .

To read more about the Ramchargers - Click HERE!

More Period Stories & Articles on Chrysler's Race Program:

To see a 1961 Dodge Dart Long Ram Road Test - Click HERE

To see the First Factory 413 Super Stock Road Test - Click Here!

To see a 1963 Dodge Ramcharger Duo - Drag Test - Click HERE!

Check Out this 1962 Dodge Brochure - Click HERE!

See Dodge Polara Performance Ads from 1963 - Click HERE!

See 1963 426 Max Wedge Engine Announcement - Click HERE!

NOTE: These stories make our argument for the Automotive History Preservation Society - It is the material they have collected that allows us to bring much of this to you.

And too much history is already lost - or worse or hidden from all of us. Please Help Us!

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they can do their great work!

Documents from the AHPS's Digital Documents Library
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1969 Rambler Scrambler
1969 Rambler Scrambler Intro and Driving Impression

Popular Hot Rodding Magazine had an opportunity to wring out and introduce the new AMC Rambler with the 390 V8 found in the AMX. Built by Hurst for American Motors, there were to be 500 made - but it was such a hit they made 1,000. See why the Scrambler was spot on for the muscle car market in 1969!

Click here to read/download the 1969 Rambler Scrambler Test!

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1955 Packard Brochure
  1955 Packard Prestige Brochure

Packard revamped their cars for 1955 - almost in self defense. For many reasons, all of them bad, Packard chose to stand pay on their 1951 body style and their ancient L-Head I-8 (from the 30s) for much too long. But one thing should be said, when they changed, they caught right up. Unfortunately it was a case of not too little, but much too late.

To See and Download the Packard Brochure - Click HERE!

1967 442 and Tpk Cruiser Test
1967 Oldsmobile 442 vs. Turnpike Cruiser Road Test

Motor Trend Magazine had the opportunity to compare the 1967 442 against the 1967 Turnpike Cruiser. In case you don't know the Turnpike Cruiser was basically a 442 with a 2-barrel carb and ultra tall gears. The idea was to make a performance car that would deliver great mileage at highway cruising speeds. See how both compared..

To Read and/or Download this 1967 442 vs. Turnpike Cruiser test - Click Here!

2003 Mustang Cobra Brochure
Modern Muscle - 2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra Brochure

Talk about impact! When Ford Announced the Mustang Cobra for 2003, they shattered the perceptions of their Pony Car being a nice performing but not top-dog machine. The "Terminator" Mustang sported a race-prepped 4-cam, supercharged V8 with 390 HP. 13 second quarter mile times were a snap and for the first time since perhaps the Boss 429, Mustang became synonymous with raw, unadulterated POWER!

To Read and/or Download the 2003 Mustang Cobra Brochure - Click HERE!

Check Out Our Road Tests Why do we publish "Road Tests" in Techipedia?

Within a few years after a car is announced, the Urban Legends begin to appear: It accelerated faster than the speed of light; it got 45 MPG; it came with a 16 speed transmission; ya da, ya da, ya da. Well, we at the AHPS and WAC are constantly adding original road tests so that the real story can be told. Go to your BRAND and pick "Road Tests", then Check 'em out - as we are fond of saying "How did your car measure up?" - don't be surprised about the truth.

Click HERE to go to Techipedia and see Back in the Day Tests!

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In case you didn't know - the Automotive History Preservation Society operates a very special Digital Documents Library that you can access through Wild About Cars and the AHPS. Check out the over 230 thousand pages of material you can download (or just view) by clicking on the link below. Even though you don't have to be a member to view the materials, PLEASE sign up HERE and help us by DONATING by going HERE

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