The Ramchargers

Inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1996


The Ramchargers in the mid 1960's

The Ramchargers in the mid 1960’s

The Ramchargers were initially composed of engineers, technicians and car buffs employed at Chrysler Corporation in 1959. The “High and Mighty”, a modified Plymouth Coupe, entered in the 1959 Nationals, initiated the type of innovations and performance levels associated with the Ramcharger’s Team. The familiar white and candy stripe identification was first used on Super Stockers of the early 1960’s. The Ramcharger’s Super Stock and FX Super Stockers of that era were driven by Jim Thornton and Mike Buckel. Although they rotated driving chores, Thorton was the primary driver. The Detroit area based Ramcharger’s Team was credited with many of the sport’s firsts:

  • Ramchargers Logo 72The concept of the intake manifold “RAM” tuning.
  • Exhaust header tuning.
  • Center of gravity relocation for weight transfer.
  • Development of the automatic transmission for use in Super Stock and Funny Cars.

Ramchargers Dean B 72The quest for innovation was rewarding since this team was the first to break the 9 second barrier with a stock bodied car, the 8 and 7 second barrier with a Funny Car, and the 6 second barrier with a Top Fuel dragster. The list of drivers for these Top Fuel entries reads like a “Who’s Who” of the sport. In chronological order, Dan Westerdale, Chuck Kurzawa, Leroy Goldstein, and Clare Sanders all provided excellent driving/record setting performances.

Ramchargers Dean 72The Ramchargers retired the Top Fueler in 1974, and reentered the category in which they first achieved national recognition. A three car Super Stock team was formed — Ted Flack SS/K, Lee Palarchio SS/D, and Dean Nicopolis SS/DA. This effort yielded new Super Stock records, and many divisional point meet championships as well as three Division 3 Super Stock titles. Ted Flack and Lee Palarchio retired in 1977. However, the Super Stock D/Automatic of Dean Nicopolis continued to compete and dominate this Street Hemi Class (37 Class championships) until retirement in 1988.

Team member Dean Nicopolis died in 2010.