Meet the Ramchargers: engineers who dared to push the HEMI to victory.
In the early 1950s, the hemispherical combustion chamber was experimental technology. These “HEMI” engines held great promises of efficiency and power, but the exact boundaries of their ability had not yet been tested. It would take a secret band of renegade engineers — race-crazed rule-breakers — to take the HEMI to new heights.What the Ramchargers built would change the drag racing world forever.
Why is @SAEintl hosting the #Ramchargers Q&A? “Tonight compares to Hogan talking about the fundamentals of a golf swing.” #Moparchat— SRT (@driveSRT) April 30, 2012
In 1959, an elite group of Chrysler engineers assembled in secret to prove the HEMI’s might using the best research and development tool available: the racetrack. Self-financed in secret, the Ramchargers quickly set to work developing a groundbreaking “ram’s horn” or “high ram” intake system, later colloquially known as “ram air induction”. As the years pressed on, the Ramchargers were the first drag racers to successfully implement the use of a high-stall torque converter and a multi-link rear suspension, innovations that helped the team eke out even faster times off the starting line. The Ramchargers also took a leadership role in the use of nitromethane as a drag racing fuel, and can claim responsibility for popularizing the first full rollcage “funny car” chassis.
“Contrary to popular belief, they raced these cars with their own money on their own time.” #Ramchargers— SRT (@driveSRT) April 30, 2012
Each groundbreaking distinction eventually translated into factory acknowledgment of the effort, and ultimately helped make the case for road-going retail vehicles such as the 1970 HEMI ‘Cuda and HEMI Challenger. It could be said that the Ramchargers laid the framework for performance car culture within Chrysler group at large.The Ramchargers’ adventurous spirit still rings relevant within the walls of SRT today. Where the Ramchargers raced stock-bodied cars to victory, SRT continues the tradition by sanctioning the SRT Viper Cup. As the Ramchargers painstakingly logged performance data while building their record-setting dragsters in the 1960s, SRT honors their legacy by including SRT Performance Pages in each new SRT vehicle.
Then and now, the only way to engineer race-winning suspension is to hit the track. #Ramchargers— SRT (@driveSRT) May 1, 2012
driveSRT.com celebrates the Ramchargers’ legacy by giving fans a chance to take home a piece of history. Three 2013 SRT Viper posters were signed by Ramchargers Mike Buckel, Tom Coddington, Dave Rockwell, Troy Simponsen, John Wherly and Jim Thornton at their most recent speaking engagement at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in May 2012. Sign up for the enthusiast-focused bi-weekly SRT eNewsletter at the bottom of driveSRT.com for your first chance to win, and watch our Facebook page for details on new ways to enter the contest.