Flashback Friday: A Look Back at the Ramchargers

If one were to look back through the annals of drag racing history, you’d be rather hard pressed to find an organized race team more famous, even to this day, than the Ramchargers. Yes, even moreso than the John Force Racing dynasty. This fabled team represented one the very first ventures into the sport by the automotive industry, as the Chrysler Corporation put their full backing behind this group of their own engineers that went on to create a racing legacy that is truly legendary.

This group of men employed by the automotive manufacturing giant set off in 1959 to partake in what was then the very infant years of the sport of drag racing, with a 1949 Plymouth Business Coupe known as the “High and Mighty.” With extensive knowledge of the “long horn” intake manifold that powered the early Chrysler 300 cars that was later coined “ram induction.” Thus, in 1960, the name Ramchargers was born and the rest was history. In 1963, the team campaigned two factory sponsored race cars, driven by Herman Moser and Jim Thornton, and nicknamed “CandyMatic” with what would become their signature white paint scheme with seven candy apple red stripes on the roof and trunk lid and the Ramchargers name adorning each side of the cars.

The Ramchargers were right in the thick of creating what we know today as Funny Cars, as their success on the track proved to other manufacturers the value of factory team support, instantly creating a fervor of competition with exotic race cars featuring altered wheelbases, and supercharged and fuel injected engines that simply looked “funny.”

Over time, the factories began to gradually easy away from the Funny Car teams to put their support behind more stock appearing categories, the the same held true for the Ramchargers. But with the name already famous (and trademarked to boot), the team and its members formed the Ramchargers Performance Connection that sponsored their team car.

Their 1970 Hemi Barracuda was driven by Dean Nicopolis under the Ramchargers banner until 1986, when it was ultimately retired with 37 class championships and the Division 3 Super Stock crown in 1980. This very car is the lone race car from the storied history of the Ramchargers team known to exist today, restored in 1997 by Nicopolis and Jack Ottino and recognized by the Chrysler Corporation and licensed under the trademark team name.

This car was campaigned from 1974 to 1986, and is equipped with a stock 426 Hemi. Despite the fact that, like most vintage race cars, the rest of the fleet has been lost or destroyed, no one can ever take away the contributions this ambitious team of engineers out having fun on the weekends gave to the sport. If you’ve ever heard the saying “win on Sunday, sell on Monday,” you just might have these gentleman to thank.

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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