Hartford "Mike" Buckel
Within three days of his enrollment at the Chrysler Institute, Mike was working side-by-side with Ramchargers members on the preparation of the group's first Super Stocker in the summer of 1961. A fresh graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, he arrived driving his graduation present, a new '61 Ford, which would also serve as tow car for Dodge's "factory" team. Within two years Mike had become the Chrysler Race Program's dynamometer development engineer, overseeing four dynamometer rooms including the high-speed units in rooms 12 and 13, where drag and circle-track racing development were conducted, respectively. Here he interacted with other Ramchargers in the Race Group, providing reliable data as well as a capable set of on-site hands for problem solving and adjustments. Demonstrating the Ramchargers' "whatever it takes" approach in getting the 426 Hemi ready for the 1964 Daytona 500, he even built a couple engines that were shipped directly to the track and bolted into race cars. He also claims to still hold the all-time Chrysler horsepower record when he recorded a 1,400 horsepower burst from a 426 Hemi on 100-percent nitromethane. During his tenure, he oversaw dyno work on most of the Max Wedge engines, the birthing and development of the 426 Hemi, as well as the small-block 340. And through it all, he was intimately involved in parallel development, maintenance, and racing of Ramchargers team cars. By 1964, he also had become a Ramchargers co-driver with Jim Thornton.
Tom "Ghost" Coddington
As the son of an architecture professor and descendent of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, what else is there to do but become a drag racer? At least that's what high schooler Tom Coddington figured when he joined the Road Knights hot rod club in Worthington, Ohio. He was even surer of his choice after encountering Ramchargers members at the Chrysler Institute. Tom soon became involved with the 1961 Super Stock effort, while taking a full-time position in Chrysler's Fuel Systems Laboratory, overseeing high-performance carburetor development. This led to his appointment as engineering coordinator for development of the famed Chrysler/Hilborn fuel injection system in 1965. It was Tom's ingenuity that first allowed an automatic transmission car to be mated to a race fuel-injection system. In 1968, he became Chrysler Engineering's Drag Racing Coordinator, where he oversaw later development of the '68 Hemi Barracudas and Darts. These were followed by the '691/2 440 Six Packs/440 6-Barrels, and the '70 Trans Am Challengers and Barracudas. He continued in a similar capacity for design, construction, testing, and racing for Chrysler's Pro Stock program from 1970 through 1974, including the Motown Missile. Within the Ramchargers, he functioned as a fuel system specialist, motor consultant, rotating garage manager, and "doing whatever else it took."
Gary "Edgue" Congdon
The only thing agreed upon about Gary Congdon's nickname, "Edgue," is that it stuck. What was widely agreed upon was he probably knew more about Holley race carburetors than anyone else in the world. A third-generation Holley employee who could recall when the company still made complete cars and bicycles, he brought a wealth of experience to his assignment as field engineer attached to the Fuel Systems Lab at Chrysler Engineering. With a workbench next to Ramcharger Dan Mancini's, he soon joined the group and became its resident Holley expert. But, like everyone else in the group, he usually participated with whatever the next thing was that needed to be done. Gary asserts, "There were no prima donnas. Sure, Jim Thornton was a driver, but would also do whatever had to be done, just like anybody else." By 1963, he was also overseeing NASCAR applications, including the introduction of the 426 Hemi used at the 1964 Daytona 500 victory. He became the Chrysler NASCAR teams' trusted carburetor guy. "Because I worked in the dynamometer lab and was changing Holley carburetor calibrations for intake manifolds and such, I could work out all the calibrations for the racers. Pretty soon they hooked me into going to the races to give them support, and once you got to know them and earned their respect, you became like part of their team. It was pretty fun." It was also "Edgue" to the rescue when the new 426 Hemi refused to make good power at the dragstrip, and he turned the Holley carburetors 90 degrees on the intake manifold. Jim Thornton recalls, "It was like magic had happened! Suddenly, the motor really began to perform."