Drag racing was going through a major metamorphosis in 1965. Chrysler and Ford were battling it out in the doorslammer ranks with a no-holds-barred spending spree. With help from NASCAR builder Holman-Moody, Ford had wedged their new SOHC 427 engines into the little Mustang while Chrysler had contracted a firm near Detroit named Amblewagon to build a small run of altered wheelbased Dodge Coronets and Plymouth Belvederes.
Meanwhile, out in Chicago, a gentleman named Norm Krause was starting to campaign blown Dodge stockers as part of his Grand-Spaulding dealership race program. Driven by mechanic Gary Dyer, the cars were moderately successful early in the season but didn't tour extensively. In the late summer of 1965, they got the altered wheelbase car that had been originally presented to Roger Lindamood. Almost immediately, this car made headlines in a series of highly publicized nationwide match races against Don Gay's blown Pontiac. The culminating 8.63 pass at Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach, California, in October of that year was the best run ever made by any doorslammer car to that point.
Dyer drove this particular car for part of 1966 and then it was sold after a new '66 model Charger was built and delivered. Today, it is the only one of the eleven altered racecars built by Amblewagon that has not been fully accounted for.
Born in April of 1966, Brian Kohlmann was not even alive when Dyer's notorious '65 tour ended. But the 32-year-old Racine, Wisconsin, cardiovascular technician has gone out of his way to recreate that era. Although this car is a replica, anyone familiar with the Mr. Norm Grand-Spaulding entry will recognize the car and the silver ram on the door. It is the culmination of several years of effort.
Unlike many replications, Brian has gone all the way with this one. That big aluminum Keith Black Hemi in the engine bay breathes a serious percentage of nitromethane. Built by Performance Engine Service in Madison, Wisconsin, the short block was filled with fuel motor parts from Bryant, Arias, and Brooks. Into the center went a fat Crane roller cam, which, in turn, actuates Manley valves in a set of Brad Anderson Engineering fat heads. Since this is late-model technology, Brian set up the BAE intake to support a vintage-type 6-71 GMC blower topped off with a Hilborn injector fed by an Enderle barrel valve. To get such a combination to work required a large amount of fabrication and welding, but the result was the best of both worlds-a vintage appearing piece that can feed that big Hemi nitromethane by the gallon. Chroming on many of the parts, including the homemade "weed-burner" header pipes, gives the car a show quality, but at 2,200 horses, it goes even better than it looks.
In the '60s, the hot setup was a B&M Clutchflite, a Torqueflite equipped with a clutch. This car has the opposite: a three speed Lenco with a bellhousing that supports a 2200-stall Dynamic Racing torque converter. Kohlman rows through the gears with a Hurst Pro Stock lever outfit. Once power is through the driveshaft, a narrowed '65-era Dana 60 with 3.70 gears and Moser axles sends it to the ground through a pair of big Goodyear slicks.
Like Dyer ended up doing in the '60s, a straight front axle from a Dodge A-100 pickup truck has replaced the K-frame on the car. The wheelbase was reworked to 113 inches (the original altered cars were slightly shorter at 110 inches) and Radir Bullet wheels are found at all four corners. The front suspension consists of Carrera 6:1 ratio shocks and a steering box from a '63 Corvair (like Dyer used), while the rear uses a Competition Engineering four-link with Aldan Eagle shocks and Top Gun traction bars. In addition to disc brakes on all four corners, two parachutes slow the car down. A '60s-era Moroso cable drive tach is mounted on the cowl.