1972 Demon/ 1973 Dart Funny Car
Competition # 320/373/221

After the pair of Challengers were sold, the team had another new Funny Car chassis constructed. Even though they had less than desirable success with their Pro Stock car a couple years prior, they again hired Logghe to build the chassis. Having as much success with the Challenger Funny Car as they did, this was an easy decision. This time, however, they opted for a Dodge Demon body for their 1972 entry. Built by J&E, the fiberglass body of the new Demon was wider at the rear, allowing for even more tire, as well as a lower stance. The nose of the car was lengthened and the roof was chopped to create a more "swept-back" windshield and lower roof. Thise sleeker body would definitely cut the air better than the previous Challenger. An Enderle injected, Supercharged 480 inch Hemi would supply the power, sending through a 2-speed Lenco trans, back to the 4.88:1 gears inside the Dana rearend. The paint job was standard-issue RAMCHARGERS livery, completed by Customs Unlimited. The 72 Demon Funny Car had striking good looks and all the components to be one of the baddest in the land.

Arnie Behling would get the call to drive the Demon in 72. Behling had quite the resume, being a former driver and Crew Chief for teams like Mickey Thompson, Don Schumacher, Eddie Schartman and Arnie Beswick. Behling definitely had the credentials, and seemed like the right guy. And the Demon was clearly the right car.

Opening at the NHRA WinterNationals, Behling didn't fare quite as well as they had hoped, going out in Round 2. And then a Semi-Finals exit against the Blue Max at the IHRA WinterNationals. The third race for the Demon was at Gainesville Dragway for the NHRA Gatornationals. A broken rearend put the Demon into a ditch and capped the end of Arnie Behling's season with the RAMCHARGERS Demon.

Accomplished Dragster and Funny Car Driver, Jim Paoli was hired to drive the RAMCHARGERS Demon at the 72 NHRA SpringNationals. Qualifying in the #9 spot, Paoli went out in Round 1. A week later, at Bristol for the IHRA Spring Nationals, Paoli advanced the Demon all the way to the Final round, where he couldn't get around Don Schumacher. Heading home from Tennessee, the RAMCHARGERS were happy with the best result in the new Demon, all season. But the bad news, was that Jim Paoli was leaving. After only 2 races, he moved on.

Once again, needing a driver for their Funny Car, the RAMCHARGERS managed to pluck former Jungle Jim driver, Clare Sanders, to take over the wheel. Clare fit right in. Instantly having success. At the IHRA 1972 Summer Nationals, Clare started the weekend off right, as he qualified #1 with a 6.45 at 229 mph. And then finished the weekend in like fashion with a victory over the Mickey Thompson Vega Funny Car. The team knew they had found their guy.

As 1972 came to a close, Dodge announced they would be canceling the Demon, and replacing it with the Dart Sport. Styling changes would also adorn the 1973 model cars as well. So, the Demon body was removed and replaced with an updated version, made to match the 1973 Dart Sport Lite. Clare would continue to crush the competition in 73. The Dart Funny Car had found its groove.

Attending the IHRA SummerNationals in New York, Clare lined up the Demon and made history. The tree fell, the light turned green, and the Demon was gone. Leaving nothing behind but 7 Candy Red vapor trails. On the other side, the RAMCHARGERS Funny Car tripped the lights to a mind boggling 230 miles per hour! The first time ever in a bodied car.

The final race for Sanders in a RAMCHARGERS car would be one out of a storybook. But not necessarily in a good way. The 1973 NHRA US Nationals. Clare Sanders found himself in the first round lined up to former RAMCHARGERS driver, Leroy Goldstein. Two legends to our team. As fate would have it, Leroy got the best of the run, putting our Dart on the trailer and ending the US Nat's for the RAMCHARGERS, as well Clare Sanders walking away with his retirement.

When the snow cleared in the spring of 1974, Dick Rosberg was tapped to get behind the wheel. During his first test pass at Detroit Dragway, the Dart went off the end of the track at over 200 mph and crashed, damaging the chassis and destroying the body beyond repair. Rosberg opted out of ever getting back in it again.

With racing a Pro Funny Car getting way too expensive, and the business at the Taylor machine shop turning into a series of retail speed shops, the RAMCHARGERS decided to get out of racing entirely for the first time since their inception in 1958. The chassis was sent back to Logghe Stamping for repairs. The Demon body was pulled out of storge and reattached to the chassis of the funny car where it once lived. Shiny and new, the RAMCHARGERS Funny Car was sold to Stan Rosen. This would not be the only connection Rosen would have to the RAMCHARGERS. Rosen, known for his "Ego Trip" race cars, owned a Top Fuel Dragster, driven by former RAMCHARGERS Dragster driver, Chuck Kurzawa. The Demon would get a repaint and the signature "Ego Trip" name that all of Rosen's cars wore. John Schumacher would be hired as the driver.

The car would then disappear for 36 years until it was found by Michigan Racer, John Denski. John bought it and ran it in an Altered class with a 496 Keith Black Hemi. Wanting to restore it back to it's RAMCHARGERS glory, John looked into acquiring the appropriate license to do so. Being more of an undertaking than John was interested in doing, he sold it to Mopar collector, Steve Atwell, who in turn sold it to Jim Matuszak who set out on a mission to perform a meticulous restoration. Countless amounts of original parts, including the Dana Rear, Differential, Oil Filter Mount, Lenco Trans, Blower, Intake manifold, Oil Pan and even the Red Anodized Connecting Rods (personally anodized by Phil Golet), were sourced from all over the country and put back into the car. Updated elements of the Roll Cage (to be NHRA Certified in later years) had to be removed from the car in order to put it back to a time capsule from 1972. And Jim did an amazing job. The car made few public tours and Cackle events upon completion, and now lives a safe peaceful life, on display in a Museum.




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