Inside Drag Racing’s Legendary Team
AUTHOR: David Rockwell
This book takes you behind the scenes with the group of Chrysler engineers who, from the 1950s through the 1970s, became one of the most successful and influential drag racing teams of all time. The only team of engineers from an automobile manufacturer to drag race successfully, the Ramchargers broke the most time barriers in drag racing history and earned the most National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Super Stock titles during the sport’s golden era of factory competition.
Dave Rockwell, a Ramcharger himself, interviewed more than 40 team members, competitors, and track operators for We Were the Ramchargers, the first book to provide inside details on all elements of the Ramchargers story.
In addition to chronicling the races they won and legendary cars they developed (including the High and Mighty, 426 Hemi, and first Funny Car), Rockwell opens corporate and personal files to take readers behind the doors at Chrysler (showing, among other things, how the Ramchargers helped pioneer the platform team concept), while revealing the personalities of the men who made it all happen.
Published By: SAE International
Date Published: August 2009
Also available @ Amazon.com.
I just saw that was coming out from an article in this months Mopar Action. I’ve got to get it. I had a friend who knew Barnes Daniels, and I never heard him mentioned anywhere else before until this year.
I had also never heard of the match race they had in ’61 between Al Eckstrand and Don Nicolson at the US Nationals, the first and only time in NHRA history they had a match race, not to mention that it was demanded on the spot by the spectators, at the Indy nationals. Amazing!
That article in “MoPar Action” magazine goes into great detail about Al Eckrtand taking on the Jenkins/Strickler team’s Chevy in the ’61 Dodge, a car that was heavy as a tank. Al could beat them at the top end if his transmission syncros did their job right…! Everybody knows that MoPar caught fire when their push-button automatic transmission was discovered to be the way to go. Even the engineers themselves didn’t expect that…!!!
If Larry and The Storm King have any other thoughts on the book after reading through it, I for one would like to hear them.
The story of the Ramchargers is fairly comprehensive and provides many details about the team. It’s interesting to note that before The High & Mighty C/A Plymouth some of the team ran a ’57 Plymouth in E/Gas with a custom made 18inch ram induction manifold with 6 Carter single-barrel side draft carbs. Or, with the High & Mighty the Ramchargers calculated the ideal wheelbase and moved the rear axle forward in their first altered wheelbase car. The big problem they had in going from the ’61 body-on-frame Dodge to the ’62 unibody design was the short rear overhang and light rear end. Launch off the line was an issue so they did things like cast a rear bumper out of lead and build stock exhaust pipes with lead sleeves and they took weight off the front by using smaller 6-cylinder radiator and front brakes assemblies. Some of this stuff was used on the ’63 cars along with shifting the k-frame forward 1 inch along with the center bolt in the rear leaf springs to move the rear axle up.
With their day jobs as engineers for Chrysler, each team member was assigned various areas of the car to focus on and thus everything became very optimized. Imagine, one guy for engine, and then an expert for intake and another for exhaust, and a guy for transmissions, and then one for rear suspension and then a weight expert to move weight around. I do recall that they helped everybody and you could call them up if you ran a Mopar and ask for advice and problem solving. They just wanted all Mopars to win. The team spent a lot of time testing and only ran big events or match races. They worked with Goodyear to develop tires for drag racing doing run after run with different tires. And of course, a lot of what they did was to keep ahead of whatever Ford or GM was doing, or whatever the rumor was they were developing. Thus, along came first the 426 Hemi and then the ’65 altered wheelbase cars. I could go on and on, so perhaps any of you with great interest will just have to get the book.
Hi Larry … Billy Casey here … havent seen you since Sherm and Diane Petrie’s wedding . around 67, 68 I think … hows your little brother Jeff doing … havent seen him since school…Billy
The High and the Mighty clone is in the Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, MI.
Bruce Hertel would be proud ! His style of pipes !
I probably should have mentioned that Stage III max wedge motors, rated at 425 HP, were pulling 490HP on the dyno at Chrysler and the very first Hemi’s in 1964 were pulling 550HP and then north from there.
Also back in 1963, the Ramchargers had a 450 cubic inch max wedge they used for match races!
I should link you all up to the official Ramcharger’s Web Site: http://main.ramchargers.com/
Check it out.
Detailed video interview with the authors of “We Were The Ramchargers” on You Tube. Starts here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzY85LFGqgg
Check that out…! ❗