So what is the Rat Patrol?


I hope you enjoy reading about the  developments and exploits of the Rat Patrol! –



First some house-keeping –

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  • The posts under this one are listed as “most recent” first,
  • Opinions or questions – Look at the top of each page – click the “comment balloon” to read others opinions as well!

“THE RAT PATROL”  –  1971 Chrysler Valiant Charger

MANUFACTURED – South Australian plant of Chrysler Australia Limited in DEC. 1971.

DRIVETRAIN – Gen 3 6.1 litre SRT HEMI with Cope 727 Transmission, 8&3/4 Sure Grip differential with 3.91 gears, PTC 3800 converter, Indy carb Modman intake,

MISSION – This blog will show off some of its “old school”  Chrysler performance modifications.

THE ORIGINAL “RAT PATROL” –  (aka The Long Range Patrol Group) – A group of Australian and English soldiers who patrolled the deserts of Egypt an Libya during WW2.

THE HOLLYWOOD “RAT PATROL” – Famous 60’s TV series – Maverick International team of “commandos” who rampaged across Egypt in Jeeps – (the truth is the real soldiers used old 4×4 trucks laden with fuel, explosives and water ).

CHEVY ‘RATS’  – GM (The enemy!) named their performance engines “Rats”, so  I’ve nicknamed my car the Rat Patrol!

Your Editor

Mal and The Rat Patrol!!

DragTimes.com – Drag Racing Timeslip Database


Heaven sent – 11.7!


Not much to say – Motor finally made the HP its supposed to – and the 60ft issues were solved with both an increase in plenum and spring controlled air doors.





Its a scoop!

When I first started racing the HEMI…I noticed that the motor was effected by heat soak….mph would drop off after the first run and the engine bay and air cleaner lid was retaining a  lot of heat.

With my suspiscions that carb spacers would help my 60ft and top end mph….I decided it was time for a scoop.

Id seen great work done by Jake from Streetclass Fibreglass – and Id always loved the look of the 65-67 Mopar super stockers, so handed the project over to Jake and my painter, Dunstan Panels.

Here’s the results!




Engine bay stays much cooler and there is the bonus of improved  performance using stacked spacers!




Wham Bam….Trans Am!!!

 One of the great knowledge gaps in Mopar history surrounds the 303 cui Trans Am/ SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) cars. 
All too often, we hear deluded owners or those who don’t know any better claim that the Factory produced 340 cui Challenger T/A and AAR Cuda 6 pack were “like they raced in Trans Am”…when the truth is very very different!

Posey’s Race motor – notice the anti-slosh oil fillers, dry sump pump, LD340 dual plane intake and remote oil system

6 pack

Factory 6 pack motor – featured almost none of the real “go-fast” goodies the race cars used….

Below is a list of specs supplied by Keith Black to Hot Rod magazine in 1971, detailing exactly how he built the Posey motors for the bright green 303 cui Challenger – and more importantly, showing the significant differences in the motors specifications to the factory 340 motor.


Block – These were a special order 4 bolt casting designed to take the extra large 4 bolt main caps.

 Crank – These were a special order forging from Chrysler – 4340 steel,  continual cross drilled, special fillets.

 Rods – Special order from Fred Carillo, utilising NASCR hemi rod bolts – much stronger than the factory 340 rods.

Bearings – Clevite 77 set at .003 to .0035″ clearances

 Slugs Special order from Forged-True.  These had:

  • A higher dome yielding around 12:1 compression and had many hours of dyno time perfecting the optimum flame front. 
  • Wrist pin retainer was completely re-designed using a “locking spring” style rather than a lock ring.

 Oil – Dry sump oiling using an Aviaid three section pump – frst two sections are used for scavenging and the third provides pressure.

Timing Chain Reynolds roller style timing chain in the SCCA/TA and in the Indy cars a gear drive was used.

 Cam – Special Engle grind flat tappet solid. Red line of 8500.  Black stated that as peak power was at 7800 he saw no need for a roller cam shaft.

 Heads – For the SCCA/TA cars, these were the off set rocker large port iron 340 heads. Fir the Indy cars, these were the Weslake heads.

Valve gear – The SCCA/TA cars had raised rocker shafts almost ½ inch higher than factory. This was to accommodate a higher lift camshaft, improve pushrod geometry  and allow for the use of heavy duty HEMI valve springs. 

  • Rocker shafts were chrome hardened and drilled for extra oiling holes.
  • Springs are seated in specially machined valve spring cups.
  • Valve seats are machined using a radiused stone
  • Valves were 2.02 hollow long stem intake and the exhaust were sodium filled to resist heat effects

Intake – For the SCCA/TA cars it was the venerable LD340 dual plane , port matched with plenum modifications

 Induction – Carb was a Holley 800 cfm, 1&11/16 bores, the Indy cars ran fuel injection.

Cooling – A re-worked water pump with a smaller impeller.

 Other interesting points

 – Cheating the rules was almost expected…and tech inspection was “relaxed” to say the least…..

 – 20 ft/lb variation in torque from 4500 to 8000 rpm

 – Posey’s Challenger used a modified Watts linkage type suspension which was an abject failure and caused significant axle tramp under brakes going into corners.

 – Black’s engines allegedly made more HP than any other teams.

To quote Posey “Keith Black was a genius. He was a drag racing specialist who turned to road racing to produce our engine. He never missed a beat, he made reliable engines, he made extremely powerful engines. It was the strongest part of our car by far”.
Certainly more than his stable mates Gurney’s AAR Cudas, which regular blew up!
Blown up Cuda

A Gurney/Savage Cuda in its death throws…. Oiling failures were common – although its not known if they persisted with a wet sump or not.

 – Reports vary on HP – but somewhere between 480 and 515 FWHP is a safe bet.  Fuel injected variants not used in Trans Am showed an additional 20 HP

 – The T/A cars had an acid dipped body shell – on one occasion Posey’s roof was so thin it buckled, so it was covered by a vinyl top!

 – The transmissions and rear ends had housings that were made out of magnesium with a little metal glued on them so when the tech inspector tried with his magnet, the magnet would stick to it!


Posey spins

Posey spins


11.9!!!…….about time!!

Still a way to go..but an 11 is an 11!!

Still a way to go..but an 11 is an 11!!















Not 630hp…….

Not 660 hp






Fishing for more! … the story of a Gen 3 HEMI Barracuda


Not your ordinary Barracuda!

Not your ordinary Barracuda!

 When Joe O’Cone the Third (Joe Jr)  bought his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda out of a garage with no doors and a dirt floor for $300 in Manville, NJ USA, he had no idea that the future would see his car as a prime example of retro-fitting a Generation 3 (3G) HEMI power plant into an old school A Body Chrysler.


 But first……………

Lets go back to 1994 when he first bought the car; The car needed everything, floor pans, quarters, fenders, grill, rocker panels, etc and that was just the beginning!  The interior was a shambles!!

 In fact – when he and his father (Joe Snr) stopped to check a loose strap bringing it home, 20 to 30 mice scampered out of the car and went running in every direction!!!


No mice to be seen!

No mice to be seen!

The Fish was originally a 318, bench seat, column shift, 904 trans, and 7 ¼ rear car – pretty standard as they come, but then the two Joes set about restoring the car and painted it the same colour as Joe Snr’s first ever mopar – plum crazy purple.  It made its first show in 1999, making it a 5 year restoration.

The car originally had a built 360 with a six pack running a best of 12.97@105.5mph. That motor got worn out and it was replaced with a 348 stroker (318 with a 360 crank).

 Joe Jr got impatient and sold the 348 to his father where it breathes life into a 1967 Coronet convertible.  Meanwhile Joe Jr set about installing his first 5.7L 3G HEMI in 2007.


 Power plant –

Providing motivation to the wheels is a G3 5.7 Hemi running custom Ross slugs (to provide adequate piston to valve clearance) , a 6.1 SRT  forged crank and CNC ported 5.7 heads with outsize valves. 

 The valves get to go to the dance through a Comp cam and aftermarket valve springs (See sidebar for specs) .  A custom 8 quart oil pan ensures the motor survives above 7000 rpm (Anyone contemplating pushing a 3G Hemi past 7000 rpm needs to take note of this important mod! – Ed.)

Induction –

 The motor gets fed through twin Edelbrock Thunder AVS 500 cfm carbs currently sitting on a sitting on an Edelbrock Dual Plane Dual Quad intake and supplied by an Aeromotive 1000 pump.

The Edelbrock dual plane dual quad intake is the reason Joe Jr needs to run the Hemi scoop –(Again, hood clearance is one of the “nasties” you have to plan for with a carb inducted G3 – Ed.).

 Topping the assembly off is a G2 Hemi air cleaner.

Air cleaner (2)

Yep, its a G3 HEMI – Note the Indy aftermarket valve covers which allow you to hide the coil packs under the intake and the MSD 6013 controller in the top left guard

Ignition –

The fire in the hole is lit through an MSD 6013 spark controller and factory coil packs. 

The MSD 6013 is an inexpensive way of controlling both spark and timing and affords some cool benefits such as a two stage launch control, rev limiter, laptop programmable timing curve and even an idle “smoother” for those running mega duration cams who need a streetable idle.

Drivetrain –

This bad fish runs a tried and tested old school drive line – 727 transmission with a 8” ATI 4500 converter which Joe footbrakes it off the line.

 The pounds get to the pavement through a trusty Chrysler 8&3/4” differential housing, carrying either a Detroit locker hemisphere with a rear end ratio of 4.10:1 or a 4.56 or 4.88 spool.  This gearing ensures Joe takes advantage of the high winding nature of the 5.7 G3, crossing the tape between 6500 and 7500 rpm.  Moser 30 spline axles complete the picture at the rear.

Yeah..its a HEMI!

Yeah..its a HEMI!

Suspension/Wheels –

Naturally traction is a consideration with around 500 HP going to the rear end, so Joe runs Caltrack bars and also Calvert 90/10 front shocks with stock Slant 6 torsion bars.

 Centerline auto drags at the front and Convo Pro rears complete the look and show that this is one fish that doesn’t run with the school.

Engine size: 5.7L 345cid

Engine: type: 3G Hemi

Pistons: Ross Custom, Crank: 6.1L Steel crank, Pan: Modified Milodon pan to 8 quarts

Head type and valve size: Early >2009 5.7L heads, CNC ported,

Cam duration at 50:    Intake: 243  Exhaust: 257,

Cam brand: Comp Cams Hydraulic Roller

Timing gear: Manley Double roller timing chain

Intake Manifold type: Edelbrock Dual Quad

Carburetor: 500cfm Edelbrock AVS X 2

Fuel Pump size and type: Aeromotive 1000

Compression ratio: 11-1                    Fuel Octane level: 93

  So far Joes car has run a best of 11.54 @ 116.1 mph changing somewhere between 6500 @ 7500 rpm depending on his rear gear set up – and this is in a 3800lb car with driver!

Now you get it! ….You see Joe Jr is only a Jr by name!   

Showing off the convos...

Showing off the convos…

 The Future –

Not much in the way of expense has been spared in this project, and Joe Jr is still not finished with plans to upgrade the induction – Joe is currently installing what he believes is the first carburetted cross ram on a 3G Hemi.

Hogan Hemi intake manifold


Joe plans on running his Hogan fabricated cross ram intake with dual 650 Holley’s replacing the current Edelbrock induction.  And, there will be a stroker motor in the near future with plans on running low 10s on pump gas!

Custom air cleaner assemblies – Pie tins anyone?


Can’t wait to see the finished product, which Joe hopes will be on display at this years Chryslers at Carlisle.

New intake

EFI? What’s EFI????

 It’s gotta HEMI –

Joe Jr and Joe Snr may not have intended to blaze a trail on the road to creating a unique  retro modified Barracuda, but Joe’s car proves that the carb induction of a “new school” motor is not always as crazy as it sounds.  
For those of us that like the throaty roar of a pair of carbs at WOT, or for those of us that neither want the cost of aftermarket EFI or prefer the “old school” look – Joe’s Barracuda is testimony  to what can be achieved and his individualism and also his attention to detail.





The HELLCAT edition!!


The Most Powerful Muscle Car in Chrysler History 

2015 Dodge
Challenger SRT® HEMI® Hellcat    Dodge-HellCat


With the recent release of the Challenger “Hellcat” , I thought I’d post up some interesting vids and a transcript of the Chrysler LLC executive press conference.

For those that don’t know – the Hellcat is a “package”, not just the supercharged 392 cui motor.

First a couple of sound bites –



The HellCat is named after a Grumman World War II fighter plane, used mainly on aircraft carriers; many of its 2,000-hp Pratt & Whitney engines (also used on Corsair and Thunderbolt) were made by Nash, the car company that later joined with Hudson to form AMC, which was purchased by Chrysler in 1987.

The Hellcat’s overall kill-to-loss ratio was around 19:1, beating every Japanese aircraft by at least 4:1. Only 270 were downed by aerial combat during the war (most of the planes that were lost, fell to training accidents or transport problems). (Courtesy of AllPar)



  • 6.2 litres-  ( Reduction in stroke from the 392; the stroke was reduced to increase the strength of the camshaft, according to SRT powertrain chief Chris Cowland. It will not have MDS / cylinder shutoff.)
  • Two power modes:

–  Street mode-  Is just a little more powerful than the normal SRT…Appx 500HP.

– Kill mode – Rumoured to be 665 FWHP –  Dodge’s press release has the two modes activated by choosing one’s key fob: the black fob limits the engine to 500 hp, while the red one taps the engine’s full potential.

  • Manual transmission in Dodge Challenger, and an eight-speed automatic in Challenger and Charger; the 8HP90 can handle up to 663 lb-ft.
  • The supercharger was provided by IHI, which also sells superchargers to AMG.
  •  The 2,380cc/rev blower has integral charge coolers (sometimes incorrectly called “intercoolers”) and an integrated electronic bypass valve to regulate boost pressure, up to 80 kPa (11.6 psi). 
  • Drive ratio of 2.36:1 and a maximum speed of 14,600 rpm. The 92 mm throttle body is the largest ever used in a Chrysler Group vehicle.
  • The in-tank fuel pump accommodates variable pressures, half-inch fuel lines, and eight injectors, each capable of delivering a flow rate of 600cc/min – enough to drain the fuel tank in around 13 minutes at full power.

(Thanks to Allpar – Ed.)

Comment From Larry Velleqeutte
So why no horsepower rating yet on Hellcat? And when will it be completed? Also, any word on pricing?

Chris Cowland:
We’re still completing final calibration on the HEMI® Hellcat. The official rating numbers will be released soon. Stay tuned.

Tim Kuniskis:
As for pricing, it will be announced closer to launch

Comment From SRT_ORR
First off, kudos on making the Challenger the King of the Muscle cars again with 1971 refresh. How many units are you expected to produce in the full-bore HELLCAT trim ? or is it the “build-them-as-they-come” philosophy?

Tim Kuniskis:
Thanks! As I said in this video, this car will not be for everybody. We will gauge demand and then determine volumes.

Comment From SRT_ORR
Part two, where does the Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pak Shaker stand amongst the SRT line-up? Will the ‘entry’ level Challenger SRT with the 392 have more goodies/different appearance? Technically speaking will things like shocks, brakes, steering etc be the same between the two?

Tim Kuniskis:
Some of the key differences between the 392 Scat Pack and the SRT 392 include: 3-mode adaptive dampening suspension, unique hood with center intake – similar to Viper, SRT performance pages with shift light, 20×9 forged aluminum wheels and available SRT Track Pack that adds larger 20×9.5 forged wheels and 15.4-inch six piston calipers

Comment From John McElroy
Is there a CD number for the aerodynamics of the car

Russ Ruedisueli:
The CD Challenger SRT Hellcat is .383, the SRT Challenger is .356

Comment From Guest
(Ditto on torque. Not even an “over 600.”)

Chris Cowland:
The power and torque rating procedure runs concurrently. All we can say today is the power will be in excess of 600 bhp and torque above 575 lb.-ft.

Comment From Tony Swan
What modifications were made to engine internals to support increased output? — Tony Swan

Chris Cowland:
The increase peak cylinder pressure of the HEMI Hellcat required that pistons, conrods and crankshaft were all upgraded. The pistons are forged, high-strength alloy and the piston pins use diamond-like-carbon coating. Ninety-one percent of the content is new.

Comment From Gary Vasilash
What percentage of the body panels are unique to the car

Mark Trostle:
The front fascia and hood are unique panels. The rear spoiler is unique as well.

Comment From Will
In the recent photos of the SRT Challenger 392 and SRT Challenger Hellcat (Beautiful and menacing BTW), they both show two different braking systems (four piston on the SRT 392 and six piston on the Hellcat). Will the Track Pack Brembo Brake option upgrade the four pistons to six pistons on the SRT 392?

Tim Kuniskis:
Yes indeed – the SRT 392 offers an SRT Track Package that includes the larger 20×9.5 forged aluminum wheels, larger brakes and Pirelli P Zero tires.

Comment From SRT_ORR
Are the tire’s 275 all around or are the backs staggered?

Russ Ruedisueli:
275’s all around are standard on the SRT Hellcat, they are optional on the Challenger SRT

Comment From Guest
Can you tell us something about peak rpm and torque? — Tony Swan

Chris Cowland:
Peak power is produced at 6,000 rpm?

Comment From David Zatz
Roughly how far does the black key fob (and the Valet Mode) reduce power?

Russ Ruedisueli:
The red key is the only one that will unlock the maximum power available from the engine. The black key limits output to 500HP.

Comment From Guest
Is it true the Supercharger was designed in house at Chrysler to optimize performance?

Chris Cowland:
The supercharger’s design and specifications were developed jointly between Chrysler Group SRT and IHI.

Comment From Christopher A.
Why utilize a 6.2L engine when the 6.4L already existed?

Chris Cowland:
The displacement of the HEMI Hellcat was reduced from the 6.4-liter HEMI via a stroke decrease to 90.9 mm in order to increase the strength of the crankshaft.

Comment From Christopher A.
Did you look at turbo charging vs supercharge
Chris Cowland:
The supercharged option offers a better match to the vehicle characteristics we were targeting, specifically instant throttle response and low-speed torque

Comment From Tony Swan
Can you furnish bore x stroke for the 6.4 and 6.2 please?

Chris Cowland:
The 6.4-liter HEMI is 103.9 x 94.6; the HEMI Hellcat is 103.9 x 90.9

Comment From Will
Will the exterior colo(u)rs be available year round or will certain colo(u)rs – H.I.P col(u)rs – will be limited one time offerings?

Mark Trostle:
The vehicle will be launched with 11 exterior colors. B-5 Blue and Sublime will be the first high-impact colors to be introduced.

Comment From John McElroy
I didn’t know that IHI made superchargers (turbos yes). Why did you go with an unproven blower supplier in your first effort with a supercharger? (Great example of a journo NOT doing their research! – Ed.)

Chris Cowland:
We evaluated all of the current supercharger suppliers during the early stages of the program, relative to efficiency, power and torque requirements. IHI was selected as the best match to our requirements. They have very solid track record of supplying superchargers for high-end products such as AMG Mercedes.

Comment From Lindsay Brooke
I’m assuming the Hemi cylinder block for the Hellcat V8 is cast iron–correct? Why hasn’t Chrysler offered a factory AL block for the high-output SRT versions of this V8, considering an AL block would take 50-70lb off the vehicle’s front end?

Chris Cowland:
The bearing loads of the HEMI Hellcat demand the need for very high-strength block bulkheads. Cast-iron offers the best solution within the geometry of the HEMI family

Comment From guest
what about 1/4 times and speeds

Chris Cowland:
Bloody fast

Comment From -Brian
what upgrades to the rear end were made to accommodate increased power. we tend to leave bits and pieces on the track.

Russ Ruedisueli:
The entire SRT drive line was upgraded. That includes prop shafts, axles , 1/2 shafts, and cooling.

Comment From D. Jackson
Is the Hellcat using mass air EFI

Chris Cowland:
MAF is used for bypass, throttle and OBD controls

Comment From Christopher A.
What was the biggest challenge in producing the numbers you wanted

Chris Cowland:
We defined an SRT requirement for the HEMI Hellcat that included the ability to complete 20 minutes of full-speed track driving in extreme ambient temperatures without the need for cooling-system-driven derate. This places significant burden on the cooling capacity of the vehicle.

Comment From Lindsay Brooke
Is the IHI blower a Lysholm or Roots unit?

Chris Cowland:

Comment From David Zatz
Do you have any idea on top speed? Do we have a match for the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona?

Tim Kuniskis:
Nice try…

Comment From D. Jackson
What are all of the adjustable options for performance?

Russ Ruedisueli:
The drive modes allow the customers to choose shock settings, steering assist levels, horse power, traction settings, auto transmission calibration/shift points. There are over 125 different combinations

Comment From Tony Swan
What is Hellcat final drive?

Chris Cowland:
3.70 for MT; 2.62 for AT







Mr 4 Speed…Re-Visited!

I wrote and  posted this article on my old E-zine in 2005…….thought it would be good to re-visit. (Your Editor – Mal)

Ronny Sox was and is universally regarded as the best “worker” of a 4 speed box in Drag Racing over two decades.

In a world full of TF 727’s, Turbo 350’s, Shift kits and Stall converters Ronny “rowed” his way to fame with Team Manager Buddy Martins help. 

 His performances in the original Super Stock category showed just how good factory built Mopars could run.

It was Ron who pushed a FACTORY 69 RoadRunner 6 pack to the awesome time of 12.94 ….not bad for Fabric slicks and a crash helmet!!


ln 1996 I was lucky enough to make contact with the owner of the original S&M Duster, Fred Ristagno ….(HemiFred on Moparts, Yellow Bullet and other forums)  , who kept contact with Ronnie on a semi regular basis, and still runs the S&M Duster..

 I asked Fred if he would kindly ask Ron a few questions. – (Ron was pretty ill by now and his wife answered most correspondence from “outsiders” – Fred had his ear –  Mal. )

 Some of those questions might have been better received by Chief mechanic Dave Christie……but there is some VERY valuable information to be had from the two hardened drag racers, Ron and Fred.

 1. What shifting technique did Ronny use, and was it the same as most stick drivers back then? I refer to the clutch set up and whether he crash changed or used the clutch…?

Ron: The way I was told to set up my clutch by the factory was as follows: Insert a .060 feeler gauge between the flywheel and disc as you have someone press down on the clutch pedal.  That is the maximum distance you allow them to separate.

Our gears were liberty cut…no good for the street… but we weren’t paying for the gearboxes!

 In order to control that amount you weld an adjustable stop to the pedal keeping it’s distance from the floor where desired.

Too much separation is wasted motion and also unnecessary wear on parts.  The pedal travel was minimal at best .

2. What would he recommend as a good sound rear-end setup for a street driven A Body?

 Fred:  Ronnie was the driver and had little on nothing to do with the cars mechanically.  I am sure he would defer to Dave Cristy or Herb on that one.

 IMHO…For a street driven car without big slicks……….. an 8 3/4 would be fine.

3. In the film, “Shut Down King” (A short film made to promote the new “Street Hemi”)…what was the main reason he was able to better the times run by the “amateurs” by .6 – 1 full second….?

Fred – We laughed about that not long ago. The other guys just plain could not drive!!!.

4. Did he run a Ford 9” or a MOPAR 8 ¾ diff in the Duster ? 

 Fred: All Sox cars used 8 3/4 until the Dana was introduced. Then only a Dana would be found under their cars. In late 72 they switched to a magnesium Dana like I have in the car now.

5. If there was one modification he would make to a Nu process..what would it be?

Ron: A quality shifter and proper set up will bring the best results. 

 Too many of the problems and source of damaged parts come from lack of a decent shifter…the gearboxes themselves were stronger than anyone suspected.

6. Lastly, what motor did he and yourself see as the 426 Hemi’s biggest competitor from 67-70?….

 Ron: Only the big block Chevy’s of Bill Jenkins came close in super stock. 

In the early 65-67 cars shotgun Fords made some decent competition.  It was Ford’s version of a Hemi.

Ford also used a single overhead cam a/ka sohc (Cammer) for a bit.

 Shotguns are still being used today as the primary motor in IHRA mountain motor pro stock class


Please thank Ron and thanks for your trouble Fred…




Don’t Ford – get about it!

Came across this today – its a replica 64 Galaxy “lightweight”…originally they came with a 427 (actually 425 cui) with dual quads…. however this beast is a 460 stroked to 522 cui! 

Even as a lightweight they were a full chassis car..and were competitive  against the MOPAR Maxwedge lightweight drag cars.

In NASCAR..they duked it out against the Mopar Hemis…and were incredibly competitive even though they were 20 mph slower on the super speedways.  By the end of 64 the tally read like this – 26 Victories to Mopar, 20 to Ford, Mercury scored a few late in the season…and Chev a lowly 1 win in  round 3.

Its great to see such a tribute done so well to a legendary racer! 

Its not often I ask to take pics of someones car…but this thing was simply stunning…a surely hauls the mail!




All information on the conversion of the Rat patrol to a 6.1 Gen 3 Hemi powerplant can now be found  here at the  Rat Patrol’s Mopar Skunkwerks

The Diary of the Rat patrol will continue to detail events and exploits surrounding the Mopar scene and the Rat Patrol


Your Editor



Nothing tacky……….

XMAS finally arrived for me – arriving in the mail last week was my 1972 Stewart Warner pedestal tachometer.

Spent today fitting it up and it works a treat directly off the Crane Hi-6 ignition box . 

I made up a bracket from some metal strap and a plastic base –  the strap slides under the crash pad and the base is screwed to the strap and mounted on a double sided adhesive tape – thus avoiding cutting into the crash pad.

I knew the old factory tach was not reading correctly because the rev limiter on the Hi-6 was cutting in well before the indicated RPM. Hopefully the SW tach will prove a little more accurate.





Who needs NASCAR…lets go road racing!

Did you know a Plymouth Hemi Belvedere competed in the 1965 Daytona Continental?

The Continental was an FIA sanctioned sports car race and part of the World Endurance Championship.

(Kind of pre- SCCA Trans Am days – Ed)  

 Unfortunately the entry was not particularly successful, retiring on about the 60th lap and never appearing in competition again. In order for the car to compete it had to be homologated or approved by the FIA, which it was in January of 1965.

Car 30:  – Plymouth Belvedere

Plymouth 6975 cc N/A GT+3.0

Plymouth Div. Chrysler Corp. (USA) Closed bodywork

 Driven by: Scott Harvey (USA)/Peter Hutchinson (USA) Result: did not finish (Engine)

Grid: 11th (2:12.000) Sponsors: PLYMOUTH

Colours: unknown Tyres: unknown

Scott Harvey spoke about about this 65 Ply recently- :   “I really wasn’t thrilled about driving a “tank” against the sports cars.

 “It was prepared, ready to go when they flew me in to drive it“.  “I have no clue what happened to it except it was shipped back to Chrysler.”

Car and Driver magazine has also made mention of this special car –

“There was also a legally-homologated Plymouth GT car, a hemi-engined monster with two four-barrel carbs, a NASCAR roll cage, the biggest drum brakes you ever saw and various other goodies, along with Chrysler engineers Scott Harvey (the rally driver) and the late Peter Hutchinson as drivers.

They laughed when Harvey sat down to drive, but that soon stopped when he qualified the “elephant” in 2:12 !!

(The Ford GTs were at 2:01 and 2:03 for the 3.81 mile course). Harvey had the 11th fastest on pole!

They blew it up after about two-and-a-half hours, but while they were doing the rounds…this small, rather informal attempt by some Chrysler people to learn what this road racing business was all about was certainly  impressive.

If you’ve never seen a Plymouth blow off a Ferrari GTO or a Porsche 904 down the back straight (the GTO eventually finished seventh, the Porches were fifth, eighth and ninth) you’ve missed a lovely sight.”

[ Thanks to Car and Driver and Moparts for pictures and some text – Ed]



Andrew Bristow bought this old Super Stock Dart from Dandy Engines as a very used race car.

He bought it off the Mopar Market about 10 years back, and after returning from the Speed Week Salt flat racing decided it was time to run “the line”.

The car runs a 500cui Big Block, with full manual 727 with trans brake, cleaned up edelbrock heads  and a roller cam.

The block is a std 440 block with a 4.150 eagle crank scat rods, ross pistons, 12.5 to 1 comp. crow roller cam and crane roller rockers.

The pipes came with the car.  The diff ratio is unknown at this stage although Andrew guesses it’s 4.11 : 1.

Other good shit includes 35 spline Mark Williams axles, a chrome moly mancini racing tail shaft.

Wheels are 15×14 with a 4.5 backspace Micky Thompson Sportsman Pros.

Ignition is an MSD 7al.

The engine sucks the sky and stars in through a 1050 Dominator Holley carb and M1 manifold.

It recently made 474.3 hp at the tyres.

Andrew hopes to have it ready for for performance car mania 2011.

Pics run from “Before” to “Now”.

(And remember – if you have a new build or even an old and faithful you’d like to see on the Web, feel free to email the details to me at : ratpatrol at optusnet dot com dot au )


Mats made in heaven

In the mindless pursuit of reviving a by-gone era, I came across an Aussie company whose product I can really recommend.

A quality product!

The company is called “Matcraft” in WA – and through them I was able to order a set of custom floor mats for the Rat Patrol.

 All I had to do was send them a Jpeg image of the logo i wanted, and they did the rest…an embroided and embossed design right down to matching the gold in the logo.

The emboidery is 1st rate and the designs are embossed on the mat using the same technique the factory mats have.  So if you’re looking for something a little “different”, you can’t go further than contacting Paul and Ashlee from Matcraft.

For $120 shipped to my door across Australia, they are vey reasonably priced as well as a great product.

The mats are actually black, but the flash has washed the mat and carpet out a little…but you get the idea….


Something different….

Now the engine is finished – I’m going to start posting artilces on events and cars in the Mopar scene. This will be a return to the “E-Zine” format, but with a more personal viewpoint and a tighter “focus” on topic.


A mate of mine paid a visit to my place in his new toy today – a beautiful 64 Dodge SS clone.

Pictures really do not do this car justice – it looks like it is out of a time capsule, and the attention to the period correct Ramcharger stuff is great.

The car has a mild 383 in it – hyd cam around .480 kift with around 280 adv . DP intake and 3.5 gears. Has run a best time of 13.4 at 105.

Its a push button manual, the lettering is hand painted on like the old days, and even has the correct block off plates etc…

The only significant difference between it and a genuine car is the 383 and the bonnet is a Polara hood with chrome trim.

I couldn’t get over how smoothly it runs and idles. Its also a 50th Dodge anniversary model in Anniversy Gold making it one rare car!

Front wheel are 4″ wide TTs with Hurst cross plys, the rear are original Hurst Cheater slicks.

Enjoy the pics.!

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