The New Ramchargers Dodges

December 6th, 2011

Text by Wayne Scraba

Photos by MPR and Auto Imagery

Photo cred: Auto Imagery

Chrysler and Ford are adding a new and controversial chapter to the history of factory involvement in NHRA Stock and Super Stock racing.  The fabled Ramchargers’ name is prominent in Mopar’s contribution to the latest installment of this ongoing saga.

In 1959, a ragtag, bucks-down but incredibly talented bunch of employees from the Chrysler Engineering Institute pooled their meager resources (it’s said that each of them kicked in less than $40) and started a car club. The mission? Build a competitive drag car, one that could compete with and beat the Chevys and Pontiacs that were dominant at the time. They eventually picked a name for their group: the Ramchargers.

While their first car, High & Mighty, a C/Altered ‘49 Plymouth business coupe wasn’t much to look at, it showed the ingenuity and innovation the gifted Ramchargers were capable of.  By the early-‘60s, the Ramchargers had campaigned (and pretty much developed) Stock, Super Stock, Top Fuel and Funny Car Mopars. In 1963, the Ramchargers campaigned a pair of factory-sponsored Dodge sedans fitted with Chrysler’s 727 pushbutton automatic. Painted white with seven candy apple red stripes over the roof and along the trunk deck, along with the name RAMCHARGERS on the body flanks, the cars’ earned the nickname Candymatics, a mix of the candy apple paint stripe combination and the new automatic transmission. At the U.S. Nationals that year, the pair of Ramchargers Dodges pretty much dominated the S/SA field, and went on to capture Top Stock over fellow Dodge campaigner Al Eckstrand in the Lawman Dodge. Performances were so staggering, Chrysler bought a series of full-page “Some Days You Win” ads in the magazines of the day, proudly proclaiming their victory. You can pretty much thank the original Ramchargers for the feat.

In the following more than two decades, cars carrying the Ramchargers trademark stripes and logo vanished from competition. The Ramchargers were silent.

Until now, they’re back! Respected NHRA chassis builder (and a guy who has had a big hand in the development and construction of the new Dodge Drag Pack Challengers) Mike Pustelny (MPR in Almont, Michigan) has revitalized the name. Two Ramchargers Challengers are campaigned today, one owned and driven by Dave Thomas (Pennsylvania), and the MPR shop car driven by Pustelny. These are special cars (Thomas’ piece runs in AA/SA with a V-10, while Pustelny runs an A/SA Hemi). We’re fortunate to be able to take a close look inside one of these cars as it goes together. You might be surprised at its level of sophistication. Check the following photos for more insight.


Source – Candymatics


5851 Scotch Settlement Road

Almont, MI  48003

810.789.8998 (http://www NULL.Mprracecars


Ramchargers (http://www NULL.Ramchargers


By Wayne Scraba

In the past (for some this is still the case) it was common to have a bank of instruments in your race car. It was the only way to keep track of critical functions. It also kept the driver pretty busy, because there was a lot to look at and do. Today, you can forget all about that.  Instead, you can pretty much have one display mounted in your dash performing all of those functions and more. That single display can be hooked to a comprehensive data acquisition system capable of providing a huge amount of feedback and data on how your car performs during every lap down the quarter-mile.

One case in point is the user-friendly AutoMeter Pro-Comp Pro MFDL system MPR installed in the Drag Pack Challenger. This system was selected for one big reason: It’s based on high-end Stack technology. It can monitor and take readings from 13 different inputs, taking 200 readings per second. In the old days, you’d be hard pressed to watch a fuel pressure gauge, keep an eye on the tach, and monitor the oil pressure gauge during a run. And you’d have to rely upon memory to figure out what the gauges were reading at a specific spot in the pass. AutoMeter’s Pro-Comp Pro does everything for you.

This system is ready right out of the box. Included are the wiring harness, all integrated switches, internal shift and warning lights, engine rpm, drive shaft rpm, USB interface and DataPro software. Built-in vertical, longitudinal and lateral G sensors (+/-6g), volt channel, nine configurable inputs including four pulse (speed)/analog and five analog channels for flexible setup geared toward your personal application, with full shock travel sensor compatibility. It also includes six user-configurable LCD display screens showing two, four or six digital readings per screen. It has multiple run recording and storage: All passes down the strip, along with the time and date, are stamped when recorded. This means you know which run occurred even if you can’t download immediately after a lap. The same technology and access to data pro teams have is now available at a sportsman racer-friendly price.

This system is compact and rugged. The sealed carbon composite display measures 7.48 x 3.82 x 2.125 inches (to the back of the Mil-Spec connector). Three rpm ranges are available: single range 8,000 rpm (P/N 9601) dual range 8,000 rpm (P/N 9602) and dual range 10,500 rpm (P/N 9603). And speaking of sportsman racer-friendly, check out the prices. Calculate the cost of a comprehensive set of quality gauges and then compare. This definitely beats the good old days.




Auto Meter

413 West Elm Street

Sycamore, IL 60178

866.248.6356 (http://www NULL.autometer



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