Buddy Baker is a household name in the realm of NASCAR racing, and one of the most notable and famed stock car racers in Mopar history. Baker began his racing career in 1959, but when he teamed up with Cotton Owens in the mid-sixties, the pair worked to make magic happen at tracks nationwide. One of Chrysler's dedicated test drivers in the late sixties and early seventies, Baker was a vital part of the winged car program's success and will forever be in the history books as the first man to exceed 200 mph in NASCAR, doing this in the famed #88 Charger Daytona test mule in 1970. Baker won the Southern 500 later that year in his Cotton Owens-built #6 Charger Daytona. At 6' 6" tall, Baker's one of the tallest drivers in NASCAR history, and in his thirty-four-years on the track, he was always in the thick of competition. A member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Buddy Baker is truly one of the sport's all-time greats.
is one of those scarce drag racers who made the monumental leap from driving Stockers, to Super Stockers, to all-out Fuel Funny Cars, and performed at the top of his game in each and every class. For the better part of two decades, Lindamood's "Color Me Gone" blue-and-white drag cars were synonymous with winning races and the moment you saw that familiar paint scheme and the graphics which remained largely the same throughout his career, you knew Roger was in the house. In 1964, Lindamood was the U.S. Nationals Top Stock champion, and it was that famed Dodge door-slammer that seriously launched him into the spotlight. Throughout the late sixties and early seventies, Roger campaigned incredible Charger and Challenger Funny Cars, continuing that path until 1977, when he switched to Chevy amidst Chrysler's financial woes – even then, Lindamood continued to run Hemi engines in all his race cars.
was conceived in 1962 by a small group of technicians, mechanics and engineers from Chrysler Corporation Central Engineering Department in Highland Park. The initial group grew to thirteen members, each with a special area of expertise. The Golden Commandos stormed onto the Super Stock drag racing circuit late that year as Plymouth's flagship drag racing team with three 1963 Plymouths. Something akin to Plymouth's version of Dodge's "Ramchargers" racing and performance team, The Golden Commandos reached perhaps the pinnacle of their fame with their altered wheelbase A/FX'er in 1965, but their innovations and racing activities continued throughout the 1960's. The members of The Golden Commandos changed through the years, but the principal members of the group throughout the 1960's were: Gene Carrico, Charles Hammer, Ray Kobe, Martin Paliokas, Forrest Pitcock, Bill Shirey, Walter Ulrich, Robert Wellbaum, Mickey Bliven, Dan Ernst, Dennis Geary, Herb Kilgus, Ernie Stiles, Carl and Warren Anderson, Don Cooks, John Dellafior, Ray Denoble, Al Eckstrand, Evan Erickson, Ken Heatlie, Gene Meyers, John Michalowicz, Tom Reed, Glenn Caron, Troy Simonsen, and Larry Knowlton.
began drag racing Chevys in the 1950's, then achieved national notoriety in the early 1960's driving Pontiacs for Knafel Pontiac. All that changed in the spring of 1964 when he ordered a brand-new Max Wedge Plymouth, simply because he was tired of watching them win all the races! Halfway through 1964, Vanke also acquired a S/S Hemi Plymouth, and the rest, as they say, is history. The personable Ohio native went on to become one of the most successful Super Stock and Pro Stock drivers ever associated with Plymouth, holding numerous national records along the way.
is well-remembered today thanks to his famed series of "Honker" drag cars of the 1960's. Bud started his legendary career with Chrysler innocently enough as the VP of a Dodge dealership in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Having been a fighter pilot in the Air Force, Bud was drawn to speed and began drag racing in the 1950's. In 1961, at Chrysler's request, he brought an experimental 1961/1962 mutant Chrysler 300G to Daytona for the Pure Oil time trials and astonished everyone with the big car's capabilities. It was that week which also gave him "The Honker" moniker, as reportedly, NASCAR driver Marvin Panch jokingly called his unusual 300 "some honker" and the nickname stuck. Bud subsequently named all of his drag cars "The Honker" from 1962 all the way through 1966. Interestingly, every year Bud raced, he set NHRA records, and each one of his cars ended up in the history books for their mechanical and technical innovations. Arguably, Faubel's two most famous cars were his '64 "Turbo Honker" Dodge which featured dual aircraft turbocharged Hemi which created somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 horsepower! Almost uncontrollable, the radical Dodge was attaining speeds of 160+ mph in the quarter, which was absolutely unheard of at that time, with tires blazing the whole way. His 1965 Honker A/FX altered wheelbase car remains perhaps his best-remembered ride, as it was seen all over the Northeast and made Bud a household name in the sport of drag racing.
is perhaps the most prolific driver in the history of Top Fuel drag racing. One of the sports biggest innovators, as well as one of the most successful drivers and team owners of all-time. Don began his career back in 1957 with the first of his famed "Swamp Rat" dragsters and immediately became the most feared Top Gas and Top Fuel driver in the country. His achievements are countless, being the first driver to top 170 mph, then 180, 200, 240, 250, and 270 mph. He designed and raced the first successful rear-engine dragster which changed the sport forever. Don won three NHRA World Championships during his career and a total of 144 national events - all the while teamed up with Dodge, driving his signature basic black dragsters. Don also opened and still operates the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida, and has been a dedicated fanatic of Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars all his life.
is one of the greater unsung heroes of Chrysler's design studios. Brought aboard by Virgil Exner back in the 1950's, Brownlie's earlier works were targeted at the larger cars; the Imperials, New Yorkers, and the top-of-the-line models, but like most design studio engineers, Brownlie had his hands in a little bit of everything. Where Bill truly earned his fame, and endeared himself forevermore to the Mopar faithful, was when he was tapped to be the point man on designing and overseeing the design of a new sports model car for Dodge that the corporate offices had decided to call the "Charger." While several design artists worked on the Charger, Bill Brownlie was the team leader and is largely credited with the famed "Coke Bottle" body style of the 1968-1970 models, and the longer 1971 to 1974 models as well. According to former Chrysler exec Burt Bouwkamp, "Bill Brownlie was the man behind the design of the first three generations of Chargers."
best known as the pilot of the famed "Little Red Wagon" Dodge A100 wheelstander pickup, Bill "Maverick" Golden's drag racing career began in the late 1950's, but when he landed a so-called "parts deal" with Dodge in 1960 to race a new Phoenix in A/Stock, that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Maverick became a dominant factor in Super Stock in the early 1960's, then in 1964 he ran his legendary yellow-and-black Hemi S/S Dodge, which became perhaps the most dominant car in Super Stock history. Throughout the next four decades, Maverick thrilled crowds with the Little Red Wagon Dodge, and became one of drag racing's premier good will ambassadors
place in automotive history will forever be linked with his engineering skills which led to the creation of the 426 Hemi - arguably the most prolific high-performance engine in history. "The Father of the Hemi" began work at Chrysler in 1955 and earned his master's degree in Automotive Engineering from The Chrysler Institute. Most people don't recall that Hoover designed and invented Chrysler's first fuel injection system, the "Electrojector" which met with limited success in the late fifties. Hoover was also instrumental in the design of the Slant Six Hyper-Pak project. One of the original Ramchargers members, Tom was always meddling with performance-oriented projects and ideas. Hoover was named master engineer for Plymouth's Max Wedge car projects and was instrumental in designing the famed cross ram intake manifolds among other parts. His eternal fame, however, came when he and Don Moore decided there had to be something better than the conventional RB-based wedge big blocks. Hoover had cut his teeth as a youth working on first-generation Chrysler Hemis, so that was naturally where his efforts returned, and the result was the 426 Hemi in 1964. Hoover continued to work improving his designs and in all aspects of performance Chryslers. He worked on the development of the early A/FX altered wheelbase cars, the 440 Six Pack motor, the AAR/TA 340 Six Pack cars, the first generation of Pro Stock drag racers, and he had his hands in countless other projects along the way. One of his last tasks at Chrysler was helping with the Li'l Red Express truck development and tweaking the 360 engine to transform it into the more powerful E-58 "police motor" as found in Li'l Red Express trucks, Aspen R/T's, Volare Road Runners, and, obviously, police cars. Tom retired from Chrysler in 1979, but interestingly, when they were developing the new generation 5.7 Hemi, Chrysler called Tom back into action, and three of his major design suggestions regarding the new engines were put into production! There's only been one Tom Hoover in all of automotive history, and it's highly doubtful there will ever be another like him.