1949 Plymouth Coupe (1960 Version) "The High and Mighty"
Competition # 325
Though this car has rear fenders and a body covered in white paint, don't be mistaken. This IS the same car as the 1959 version. During the winter of 1959 and into the early months of 1960, Dan Mancini managed to work his magic and land the team's first sponsorship, locking down a deal with Mason's Plymouth in Ferndale, Michigan. The conditions of the sponsorship were that the boys needed to clean up its appearance. A set of rear fenders and a new paint job was manditory.
Additionally, a name-change was deemed necessary by the team. A popular new movie, starring John Wayne and Robert Stack, featured a title that was perfectly suited for the Ramchargers race car... "The High and The Mighty". With the body lifted off the ground, and the carburetors standing almost 6 feet in the air, it was voted that the new name for the car would be The High & Mighty.
Numerous "Track" and "National" records wall fall at the wheels of the High & Mighty in the 1960 season. Including 110 mph for a National Record at Toledo Airport in May. Then breaking it again, with a 12.91 pass at 111 mph, a couple weeks later at Detroit Dragway. An exploded clutch that ended up cutting the brake lines forced the High & Mighty to coast off the end of the track at Detroit Dragway, forcing it back to the garage in Madison Heights for repairs. By the time the September was on the calendar, the Ramchargers had continued their evolvement of the car. Breaking their own records with a 12.75 e.t. at 111 mph. And even had made a pass of 115 mph during practice runs. Eventually, Dick Maxwell made the cars best pass of 12.29 at 117.3 mph.
By season's end, The High & Mighty began its winter ritual of disassembly and hibernate while Tom Hoover, Dick Maxwell and Dan Mancini joined Jim Thornton in his basement to freshen the motor over the winter. But the future of the High & Mighty was not to be as it was in the previous winter. While the boys were building the best Ford, Pontiac and Chevy killer on the planet, Chevrolet was using its best method of attack against Chrysler... the rule-makers at NHRA.
Seems the suits in California were not as pleased with what the Ramchargers were accomplishing with their race car as the fans of the sport. They began to re-write the rule books and literally eliminating the High & Mighty from competition. The Chevy powered cars overwhelmingly reported their best success was a Crankshaft Centerline at 24" above the ground. A full foot lower than the High & Mighty's 36" Crankshaft height. And wouldn't ya know it... NHRA changed the rule for 1961 to a maximum crankshaft centerline of 24" above ground. This would be the first time (but definitely not the last) that NHRA would change their rules specifically to keep the Ramchargers and Chrysler from beating up Chevrolet.
And with that, The High & Mighty was dead. Not from a crash. Not from an engine failure. Definitely not from being out-run, out-powered, outdated, or out-engineered by its competition. But killed by a rule change designed to favor the Chevrolet cars.
Some of the special components of the car were saved by Jack McPhearson, during its final disassembly. Then it became more of a nuisance than anything. After sitting around a few weeks and being in the way, the High & Mighty became the Scrap & Recycle, as it met its fate in a local junkyard.
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CURRENT STATUS / LOCATION:
DESTROYED/SCRAPPED Warren, MI Junkyard (1961)
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