Archive for the 'Auto' Category


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 )


So what is the Rat Patrol?


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



First some house-keeping –

  • Move from page to page   Click on the Banner to the home page and scroll down
  • 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!! – Drag Racing Timeslip Database

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 132 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 13,031 hits

%d bloggers like this: