1963 Dodge 330
Competition # 702/981

By 1963, some changes were being noticed. Gone were the "love-'m-or-hate-'m" body lines of the previous years. And replaced by smoother, sleeker body designs. The Dart name was moved over to the new compact A-Body line. And the new 330 and 440 versions of the Polara became the hot-rod of choice for Dodge Buyers. Taking pages out of the RAMCHARGERS notebook, Chrysler began producing their RB engine with a bore size of 4.250", configuring 426 cubic inches. Matching the new engine size, was a new sticker for the valve cover as well. Yes, this was named the" RAMCHARGER 426" by Dodge. By now, the RAMCHARGERS inspiration was undeniable. And even Plymouth, (who just 2 short years before, all but slammed the door in the face of the RAMCHARGERS when seeking sponsorship), was convinced that Drag Racing and high performance was something to invest into. So, they began using all the data and developments of the RAMCHARGERS to help build their own high-performance line of cars and engines, named the SUPERSTOCK 426. Once again, the new car was white with red interior. As always, the much lighter weight of a Bench seat was favored over the comfort of buckets. For the first time in the team's history, a RAMCHARGERS race car was born with an automatic transmission.

With the new cars came a new look. Everyone wanted the team cars to be even more noticeable. More identifiable. Something that was instantly recognizable. With the newfound success of the automatic transmission, the team planned on having a 2-car team. One with an auto, and one (a station wagon, due to its increased weight at the rear for better traction) with a manual transmission. Dan Mancini came up with the idea... "We can call the manual transmission car Candystick and the auto trans car will be called Candymatic. And then we can paint some candy stripes on the roof and trunk". The rest of the team agreed, and a legend was born.

The formerly used shade of bright red was dropped in favor of a sweet shade of Candy Apple Red. And just as Dan Mancini envisioned, 7 evenly spaced and sized Candy Stripes were applied to the roof and trunk, along with a pair of matching stripes on the C-pillar, as well as another long stripe one each side of the car, tracing the body lines at the top of the belt line. A pair of matching stripes also sat atop each bulge of the new dual-hump hood scoop. Headers were made and routed out the fender wells and under the car.

The first race for the new car was scheduled for the NHRA Winternationals, February 17, 1963. When the car arrived at the track, the team was furiously surprised at what they saw. Below the new RAMCHARGERS logo on the side of the Dodge, was a huge "Stanford Bros" logo, running from wheel well - to - wheel well. Apparently, Al Eckstrand had cut a side-deal with Stanford Dodge in California, and had their name on the side of the car. The rest of the team was so angry over this, that even though Eckstrand piloted the RAMCHARGERS #702 Dodge to the event win at the Winternationals, that would be the last time he ever drove a car with the RAMCHARGERS name on it.

After returning to Michigan, the Stanford logo was removed and replaced with HODGES DODGES, the Dodge dealership in Ferndale, Michigan, whom the team would work with for many years to come. The station wagon that the team hoped would be their Candystick car didn't work out as well in practice as it did on paper, and was replaced with another matching 330 post-car. The 702 was removed from this car and the now two-car team vehicles were numbered 980 (on the new 330 that replaced the Wagon), and this car was re-numbered 981.

A couple months later, during a tire-testing session at Ubly Dragway in Ubly, Michigan, a right front brake seizure at the top end of the track and a speed of over 120 mph sealed the fate of this car. Herman Mozer could do nothing to stop the Dodge from rolling off the track on its roof into the adjacent field, putting an end to its racing days forever... (ish). The trunk lid and left front fender were the only salvageable body panels. Those items found their way onto the eventual replacement car, which went on to have its own success for the rest of the 1963 season.





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