Tag Archives: ramchargers

Jim Thornton’s Greatest Hits: Part 2

By Steve Magnante

 

The Dodge high performance world lost a pioneer with the June 2, 2014, passing of former Chrysler Corp. Race Vehicle Design Manager and Ramchargers race team member, Jim Thornton. Recently, we reviewed some of Mr. Thornton’s many contributions to the evolution of Dodge stock-bodied drag race vehicles. Now, let’s continue our tribute with a look at how he helped ensure that Dodge drag race package cars were ready to fully employ the mighty output of the 426 Race HEMI® engines that powered them down the drag strip.

 
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Jim Thornton’s Greatest Hits: Part 2

Jim Thornton’s Greatest Hits: Part One

We recently reported with sadness the June 2, 2014, passing of former Chrysler high performance vehicle development engineer Jim Thornton at age 77. Though you’d have to be a fairly devoted muscle car and drag race enthusiast to know his name, once folks learn he was a member of the Ramchargers, a bell rings, and Thornton’s place in the automotive firmament becomes clearer to many.

 

Jim Thornton

 

To briefly recap, the Ramchargers was a group of (mostly) Chrysler employees who met evenings and weekends to share their love of drag racing and…

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Jim Thornton’s Greatest Hits: Part One

The Max Wedge Story

The Max Wedge

 

As the Detroit muscle car wars of the 1960s began, the Chrysler Corporation and its Dodge and Plymouth brands were pacing the sidelines. But not for long: Midway through the 1962 model year, the Maximum Performance Wedge package was introduced—the legendary combination that soon became known as the Max Wedge.

 

This first Max Wedge displaced 413 cubic inches and was offered in two versions: an 11.5:1 compression-ratio model with 410 hp, and an even more radical 420 hp model with a whopping 13.5:1 compression ratio. Both engines were…

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The Max Wedge Story