This page is for personal, non-commercial use. Speed was taking over America in the early s. Mopar has been synonymous with drag racing ever since. And quarter-mile performance cars from Dodge and Plymouth, as well as their drivers, have become legends on the street and the strip. More than 65 years later, they keep on coming. With the imminent introduction of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, we decided to look back at the greatest Mopar drag cars of all time.
We considered countless machines that won races, pioneered technologies, and advanced the sport of speed. When this car debuted at the NHRA Nationals with its innovative nose high stance and altered wheelbase, it looked like nothing else and ran like nothing else. Entered in the event as the Ram Rod, but known to history as the High and Mighty, this was the first car built by The Ramchargers, a car club of highly creative Chrysler engineers in Detroit. And it was totally revolutionary for its time, from its appearance to its engine modifications.
This car never really saw the race track. And it became a legend in the process. Owned and driven by Jimmy Addison, who worked at a Sunoco gas station on Woodward at the time, the Hemi-powered GTX is said to have been full of experimental and proven speed parts supplied to Addison by Chrysler engineers as part of an underground, backdoor, and covert marketing effort and parts testing program.
The car survives today and lives in a private collection. After two successful years with the High and Mighty Plymouth, the Ramchargers became a factory team, and by they were competing all around the country in two Max Wedge-powered Super Stock Dodges with horsepower, a huge number at the time. Nicknamed Candymatic because of their distinct red-and-white-striped paint scheme and new TorqueFlight automatic transmissions, these cars were factory lightweights with extensive use of aluminum parts.
Inthe cars got aluminum front ends and the engines were bored to cubic inches. Inthe new cubic-inch race Hemi debuted in the Candymatic. The cars were much faster but funny looking, hence the name. Longtime driver of the Hemi-powered Blue Max funny car, seen above in the far lane, Beadle won 28 total national events and four straight NHRA championships from to It was an unheard of twin championship season, and it secured hall of fame status for Beadle and his Blue Max Plymouth.
While that rear-drive racer shared practically nothing in common with the stock Daytona seen above, it was also the first successful Mopar-powered Pro Stocker without a Hemi; the dominating Dodge Daytona used a cubic-inch wedge engine instead. Forty one years after the Hemi Darts and Barracudas, Dodge went back to the future and unleashed the Challenger Drag Pak, a factory-built drag special. A full 1, pounds lighter than a Challenger SRT8, these cars were rolled off the assembly line without insulation, a ventilation system, or air bags.
Then Mopar removed other components and installed the composite lift-off hood, plastic windows, and manual steering. They also shortened the wheelbase a half-inch, pushed the engine mounts rearward for better weight distribution, and installed a 5. About were built. This is the only car on this list with air conditioning, air bags, traction control, a navigation system, and a factory warranty.
Its supercharged 6. It ought to be pretty quick on a drag strip with all of its power and tech. This car helped make him an icon.As a result, automakers responded with all kinds of performance options for just about everything that came off the assembly line back then, but there were also a few offerings that are best described as unconventional.
More on that later. General Motors officially stepped away from all motorsports involvement ina move which would later contribute to the infamous COPO Central Office Production Order cars that were clandestinely ordered. The package also included a beefed-up four-speed transmission with 4.
To further reduce weight, aluminum replaced steel on many components such as the hood, fenders and bumpers. The overall effort cut roughly pounds from the Impala, allowing it to run mid-to-low second quarter mile times. Ford went even more bonkers than GM in the quest for weight reduction, swapping steel for fiberglass on the hood, front fenders, doors, and even the bumpers. The result, however, was a 3,pound car festooned with a cubic-inch V8 conservatively rated at horsepower.
It also had heavy-duty traction bars and leaf springs designed to help get the power down, with serious final-drive ratios of either 4. It was enough to make the Thunderbolt an second car right off the showroom floor. Everyone in the know on vintage drag racing knows about Ramchargers — the group of Chrysler engineers who started tinkering with cars after hours. The Max Wedge was a Hemi forerunner, rated at either or horsepower depending on compression ratio ordered.
It was enough to send the 3,pound into the second range at the track. And even if a simple tire swap makes such a difference, tire technology has come a long way in 50 years so it wouldn't be what you'd call an apples-to-apples comparison.
Never the less, the stories persist. There are a few examples of these vintage racers still running, but with production numbers generally less than for each model, most survivors have become high-dollar collectibles. There are certainly all kinds of ifs to consider in the world of racing, but one thing is clear.
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By : Christopher Smith. Ford, GM, and Chrysler had street-legal quarter-mile monsters in the s that may have inspired today's Demon. Gallery: Factory-built street-legal drag cars of the s. Car Buying Service Get upfront price offers on local inventory. Search for: New Cars.Frank Sanders Chevrolet Z It came equip Real and totally correct, this car is considered the best in existence. Featured in Hot Rod Magazine The Dave Strickler car.
One of only five remaining of 12 originally built by Chrysler. Beautifully restored to concours quality by Hemi Eddie Strze The famous wheelstand photo says it all. Arguably the most famous, most photographed drag car of all time, this is D Factory drag car. Ford built 50 of these sophisticated drag-only cars to honor the 40th Anniversary of the original The early 's saw an explosion of fan interest and racer participation in Super Stock drag racing.
The correspond Gas Ronda's Ford Mustang. Spectacular 4 speed car with two broadcast sheets. All original sheet metal. Beautiful rotisserie restoration. One of only seven bl Plymouth Road Runner Hemi 2-dr hardtop, 1 of 1 Hemi 4 speeds with black exterior, black-out hood, white pinstripes and white interior.
All num This is the epitome of an early 60's Super Stocker. Built by Pontiac guru Scott Tieman to be the best anywhere. Long list of correct components. This Black Diamond is far and away the best example left. All codes and numbers are correct and original One of only 55 Hemi A factory lightweights built and believed to be the only black example.
Toggle navigation. SOLD more. One of built. Extremely correct with all original fiberglass and Plymouth Hemi Cuda Hemi Cuda.Search New Inventory. Model Compare. Delivery available through participating dealerships. The Brotherhood of Muscle always has your back. Delivery available through participating dealerships Dodge Drive Forward brings the dealership to your door using easy online vehicle buying, complete with home deliveryavailable through participating dealerships.
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Should you encounter an issue accessing any content on Dodge.Cars by name Trucks and Jeeps. V10 Drag Pack. SRT8 Special Cars. Creation stories. The newest Mopar Drag Pak for the Dodge Challenger has a unique look when compared to prior model years, but a new look is the smallest part of the story.
13 Greatest Mopar Drag Cars of All Time
The big news for the new Challenger Drag Pak is the introduction of a new supercharged engine package, as the drag race-ready Challenger from past model years only came with naturally aspirated engines, whether it was the Viper V10 or one of the V8 Hemi engines. They can cover the first 60 feet in just over a second, and do the quarter mile consistently in the eight-second range, and end up at mph.
The supercharged engine uses a cast iron block with an aluminum cylinder head, a forged steel crankshaft, and a special calibration; it is based on the third generation Hemi and has the historic cubic inch displacement. Cars with this engine have a blue graphics scheme. Thanks to a Whipple supercharger, this 5. The cubic inch Challenger Drag Pak has done a fine job of competing in the latter class, but the blown Fords and Chevys still had the better times.
That all changes with this new supercharged Hemi, as a blown Challenger Drag Pak running low 8s should easily be able to battle the Camaro and Mustang drag racing packages. The uses an aluminum block and head, forged steel crankshaft, and special calibration.
Pressed-in steel cylinder liners, a proven technology long used by Chrysler, provide durability. This car has a black and white scheme. Improvements include a race-prepped automatic transmission, enhanced rear axle housing mounting scheme for better launches, spline rear axles, redesigned NHRA-spec roll cage, Mopar gauge package, lightweight racing seats, hinged hood for one-person between-round maintenance, and integral tie-downs for easier trailering.
The front suspension uses a unique K-member and suspension geometry, with double adjustable compression and rebound struts. At the back of the car is a four-link suspension with Panhard bar, Strange Engineering 4-inch solid axle with 9-inch aluminum third member, drilled axles, shocks with adjustable compression and rebound, and an anti-roll bar.
As noted, the rear axle mounting has been strengthened from the previous generation Drag Pak to help the car launch faster and harder. The Mopar Drag Pak has inch front and rear lightweight wheels with Hoosier drag radials; front tires measure 28 inches in diameter by 4. Stopping power comes from slotted front and rear brake rotors, with race-specific calipers and master cylinder.
Nationals to elicit feedback from NHRA Sportsman racers on potential upgrades to make the Drag Pak even more competitive at the drag strip. The Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak V8 arrived inwith 50 sold that year and in ; the version had a 6. Finally, a big part of super stock racing is brand pride, and if you talk to anyone running a COPO Camaro, a Cobra Jet Mustang, or a Challenger Drag Pak, there is a good chance that they are proud supporters of the brands of car that they drive.
The guys driving the new Drag Pak are proud to be representing Mopar Performance, and the Mopar team has designed the newest livery to pay tribute to the old school Mopar racers. The new Drag Pak Challenger has a front and rear fascia design similar to the rest of the and Challenger lineup and the interior has been stripped down to only what is needed to go racing — and a roll cage. There are also package specific side stripes that mimic the design of the Cuda AAR stripes, with blue for the models and black for the models — both of which go well with the rest of the package-specific appearance items.Factory produced cars with factory produced parts are knocking on the seven second barrier.
Not just knocking, but kicking, clawing, and racing to be the first to do it. The situation is so hot that Holley stepped up to create the Holley EFI Factory Super Car 7-second club that will reward the first handful of drivers to bust into the 7s with everything from big bucks to product certificates and jackets. The jackets mean the most. Drag racing performance clubs have always been defined that way and this one is no different.
Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge are the major players here, as they have been for more than half a century at drag strips across the country. Along the way there have been others. Departed brands like Pontiac were at the forefront of factory performance in the early part of the s but their reign was pretty short. The big brands knew in the s what they know now and that is the fact that cars that look like factory cars competing against each other bring a level of intensity, brand loyalty, and fervor that nothing else in the sport of drag racing can bring.
Before we understand how we have gotten to the point that Factory Super Car competitors are seeking a seven second time slip, we need to understand where the roots of this style of drag racing came from and to do that we need to go back in years…a lot of years. His idea worked flawlessly. The packed race wowed automotive executives at the time and quickly skunkworks projects popped up from the likes of the Detroit brands to capture this newly recognized horsepower crazed generation.
By Chrysler had introduced its Max Wedge powered cars and Pontiac was building lightweight versions of their Catalina with a ci V8.
These 3 Factory Drag Cars Came 54 Years Before The Dodge Demon
Chevrolet responded with the Z Impala which had a hp version of the famed ci W-engine. It only got more serious from there. Chevrolet was stuffing ci versions of their engine into cars to compete with these machines and it was in that we first saw a situation that exists today.
Limited production numbers. About of the equipped had been built in on special orders but with a new process and multiple dealers on the program, the COPO Camaro was every bit the monster that the Fords and Mopars were and they were made in volume.
Now we jump 50 years into the future. In many ways, was the pinnacle of factory drag race car production. Classes like pro stock, super stock, and stock eliminator were less factory driven from that point on and more racer driven. The machines racing in pro stock by the early s were far from a factory offering and the way that the government was coming down on manufacturers meant that previous performance engineering dollars were now going to emissions and safety projects.
Performance became a dirty word in Detroit and the cars reflected it. It caused a sensation before it had ever turned a public wheel at the drag strip.
The car not only got people excited, it was a perfectly executed home run. John Calvert took one to the NHRA Winternationals in and won the race, replicating the win by legendary Ford racer Al Joniec in and launching the Cobra Jet program into the stratosphere in terms of public interest and popularity.Mopar offered this mill on the previous Drag Pak in as well, but the engine was obviously upgraded for The naturally aspirated 7. The supercharged V-8 mates to a T three-speed transmission with a Kwik-Shift manual shifter.
It also includes a Racepak Smartwire fully programmable power distribution center, a lightweight driveshaft, and race-spec brakes at all four corners. Obviously the big question is how quick this thing can launch off the line. Dodge had nothing to say about that, but previous Challenger Drag Pak was notoriously fast.
The COPO Camaro is offered with three different engines; a cubic-inch naturally aspirated V-8, a cubic-inch naturally aspirated V-8, and a supercharged cubic-inch V This sounds pretty good at first, but the power output available from the COPO Camaro ranges from just horsepower with the to horsepower for theand just horsepower with the supercharged According to Chevy, the COPO with the supercharged can run the quarter-mile in the midsecond range at as much as mph.
After all, it does have more than 1, horsepower on tap. This time around though, Dodge went with features inspired by the more extreme Hellcat. The engine hood also mimics the design of the Hellcat thanks to its intake and heat extractors.
Of course, the race-spec model also features quick-release pins, just like the race-ready Demon. The profile is also similar to the road-going Hellcat, but the drag-specific wheels make it stand out. As usual, the front wheels are skinnier, while the rear wheels are much larger for extra grip. The livery also helps the Challenger Drag Pak stand out. The rear end is basically a Hellcat with drag-specific features.
The Drag Pak comes equipped with wheelie bars and a parachute. Both are integrated into the rear section of the chassis. Just like the rear fenders, the rear bumper features wide blue stripes and red tracers. The same stripe combination adorns the front hood and then runs over the roof and onto the trunk lid. You can buy your racer with a simple paint job and in a different color as well.
Given the tremendous performance and the success of the old model, it should sell out in no time, so hurry up if you want one.
The Challenger Drag Pak is mean, powerful, and fast, just like it needs to be at the drag strip. One hell of a return after five years!
Building on lessons learned with the third-generation Drag Pak, the new fourth-generation Challenger Drag Pak offers racers the choice of buying a complete, turnkey package ready for the track or a variety of modular kits to install on their own Dodge Challenger drag car. This new Challenger Drag Pak gives them the tools to stay in front of the competition.2020 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Unveiling
Production of the new Challenger Drag Pak will be limited to 50 serialized units. Ordering and pricing details will be announced in the future.
Heritage-inspired Graphics Signal Performance Just as the modern Dodge Challenger turns heads with design cues that harken back to the original muscle car era of the s, the red, white and blue color scheme on the fourth-generation Challenger Drag Pak displays a modern flavor, seasoned with nostalgia. The red band wraps around the rear of the car, connecting the badges. A wide blue stripe, with red tracers on each side, runs from the edge of the front fascia, over the roof and through to the rear edge of the decklid.
The graphic highlights the width of the Challenger Drag Pak and complements the variety of stripe packages Mopar offers for the Dodge Challenger. A blue band runs along the lower quarter of each side of the Challenger Drag Pak, accented by a red tracer line. An SFI-specification welded rollcage, rated for quarter-mile runs as fast as 7.
New for the fourth-generation Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, the Strange rear axle assembly uses adjustable coilover shocks, four-link suspension with wishbone and an anti-roll bar.
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