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Chrysler’s mid-20th century Ramchargers team developed drag racers after work at night and then raced them on weekends.

Chrysler’s mid-20th century Ramchargers team developed drag racers after work at night and then raced them on weekends.

Chrysler Museum Will Host ‘Ramchargers’ Reunion

Fans of Chrysler’s old Ramchargers drag racing team, heads up – the gang’s all going to be here, so to speak, on April 30 in Auburn Hills.

That’s because the Mid- Michigan SAE Section is hosting a reunion dinner meeting of sorts, all to bring together and discuss the motor sports and other leading technologies used by the Ramcharger drag racing teams in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The SAE event is officially entitled, “A Look Inside the Original Ramchargers Drag Race Team and Chrysler Museum Tour.”

Some 18 vehicles that incorporate Ramcharger technology will be on display outside the museum before the formal program.

“We’re not doing a history lesson, even though a lot of this stuff happened 40 years ago,” said GM retiree and SAE Mid-Michigan Section motor- sports chairman Bill Owen.

The Buick Verano, shown in a General Motors crash test to replicate one conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is the latest Buick to earn a 2012 Top Safety Pick des- ignation from the IIHS, which now designates all Buick models with its top safety rating.

The Buick Verano, shown in a General Motors crash test to replicate one conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is the latest Buick to earn a 2012 Top Safety Pick des- ignation from the IIHS, which now designates all Buick models with its top safety rating.

“(Rather), the fundamentals of what they did over the years is what we’ll look at – the Ramchargers were extremely successful in what they did, it was unique, and worth revisiting.”

Indeed, according to Dave Rockwell, author of “We Were the Ramchargers – Inside Drag Racing’s Legendary Team,” circumstances compelled the Ramchargers to come up with unique engineering solutions to their many challenges. Writes Rockwell, “The Ramchargers were a group of like- minded young engineers who formed an after-hours racing team to transform Chrysler’s stodgy image and make it into a professional brand.

“From the 1950s through the 1970s, this group of technologists became one of the most successful drag-racing teams in history – winning races, breaking records and bringing home national championships to a manufacturer that was often perplexed about the fuss.”

That is to say, the Ramchargers of that era tended to be more of a voluntary collective than officially sanctioned – and budgeted – race team.

SAE Mid-Michigan’s Owen, for example, recalls one occasion back then when the Ramchargers were given a Chrysler dump truck engine that had been returned on warranty issues three times.

True to form, the Ramchargers eventually fixed the engine, jazzed it up and it powered a race winner later down the line.

It was those types of on-the- fly adjustments and solutions that helped make the Ramchargers the winners on the drag strip that they were.

Note that only 200 tickets will be sold for this event.

Reservations are required by 12 noon on Monday, April 23. Contact Bernard Santavy at SAEMidMichSec@CS.com or call 810-635- 7948.

Speakers will include many of the original Ramcharger engineers and drivers.

The program runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and will include the Ramcharger car show outdoors and the dinner program indoors.

Speakers at the dinner will include Rockwell, the author of the book, as well as other Ramcharger engineers and drivers. All in all, Ramchargers marks a unique chapter in Detroit motor sports history.

IIHS Blesses Entire Buick Car Lineup For 2012 on Auto Crash Safety Tests

Being the smallest Buick, the Verano faced significant peer pressure to match its larger siblings in safety systems.

But the luxury sedan was up to the task, and, as a result, every Buick is a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“Buick is building state-of- the-art crash protection into every model from the ground up,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “This means the best overall protection in the most common kinds of crashes, along with standard electronic stability control for helping drivers to stay out of many crashes to begin with.”

The IIHS tests vehicles to determine occupant protection in front, side, and rollover crashes, and specifically tests seats and head restraints for neck protection in rear impact crashes. To earn a 2012 Top Safety Pick designation, a vehicle must be rated “good” in all four tests.

Verano engineers were challenged to make industry-leading safety features a key element for the new vehicle.

The Verano has 10 standard air bags and the security of On- Star, a combination unmatched by any competitor. In the event of a rollover crash, sensors in the vehicle deploy standard head curtain air bags prior to impact and leave them inflated for an extended period.

Verano’s advanced body structure is comprised of more than 60 percent high-strength steel that provides a protective safety cage around occupants. Other safety measures include standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, panic brake override, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and a collapsible pedal system that reduces the risk of leg injury.

“Buick buyers want to make certain that any vehicle they buy has state-of-the-art safety features,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive market analyst and editorial director for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.

“With this in mind, Buick engineers have incorporated an unprecedented combination of safety systems to more than ad- dress that need.” Kbb.com recently named the Verano among its “10 Best Sedans Under $25,000.”

For the Regal luxury sport sedan, the approach is equally holistic with an advanced, high- strength body structure and collapsible pedals. According to Car and Driver magazine, the Regal’s powerful Brembo front brakes mean “the GS stops from 70 mph in a scant 160 feet.”

Both the LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Enclave luxury midsize crossover feature six air bags, with available rear side thorax bags bringing the total to eight for LaCrosse. Both models are offered with high-intensity discharge head- lamps that articulate around corners to provide improved lighting on winding roads and LaCrosse also offers a heads- up display, which allows the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road.

Every 2012 Buick features four-wheel antilock disc brakes, StabiliTrak, front safety belt pretensioners, and six months of standard OnStar’s Advanced Crash Response System. Buick also offers optional active safety features, including rear view cameras, ultra-sonic front and rear park assist, and a blind spot warning system on some models.

Content provided courtesy of Detroit Auto Scene. For more automotive news visit detroitautoscene.com.


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