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Chrysler in Off-road series

Discussion in 'Historical' started by Beentherebefore, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Beentherebefore

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    Off-road is not my specialty (Norm?) but this guy is a legend in off-road racing. He raced Dodge trucks for many years and won multiple off-road races and championships with them before support from Chrysler dried up.

    Here is a quote from the "Dodge Racing News "website in 2011.

    "It's just the latest chapter in Ram's long and successful history of off-road racing which began in the 1970s when the brand was under the Dodge umbrella. A Dodge piloted by Walker Evans was the first pickup to win the demanding Baja 1000 in 1979 and off-road legend Rod Hall scored an incredible 37 consecutive race victories in Dodge vehicles, including numerous Baja 1000 titles"

    Publicity card picture is from the BMX (motorcycle) board.


    [​IMG]

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    Shane Estabrooks likes this.
  2. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    Mr Walker looks a bit different now, but he is still attending Ultra 4 Series races. He was in the pits, next to us, at last years King of the Hammers (KOH) race. I expect to see him again this year.
    Ultra 4 has created the Mopar Spec Series, were identically prepared and 5.7 Hemi power cars will compete against each other.
    The cars can be leased for $10,000 per event...which given the high attrition rate and the high cost of competing, is really very cheap.
    8 weeks to race day and that will come very fast!
    Just got in last night from 8 days of testing and pre-running. Very, very pleased with our Race Jeep. We continued to gain respect from our competitions and sponsors.
    Came away with 4 brand new Falken tires for our efforts, which brings our tire count to 16. 12 still living. ;)
    Walker first garnered my attention in the early 70's because not only was he driving a Dodge, he was flying that truck, yards further than any other driver, over the jumps and obstacles...and he usually won.
     
  3. Muther

    Muther Well-Known Member

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    I was a kid when Walker Evans was in his heyday. I looked forward to the time of month 4Wheel & Off Raod magazine would arrive and I could read about his exploits in BAja, or the Mint 400, or whatever. I also remember Rod Hall in his production 4WD Ram (who defected to Hummer), and Don Adams in his Class4(?) Jeep (he switched to CJ's from the brand C Blazers).

    It was Walker Evans each month, in his big class 8 truck, each month that i remember most though.
     
  4. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    Just an FYI, Hall stayed true to AMC, so it really wasn't a defection as Hummer was/is AM General. (Not counting those Reworked Tahoe's and Colorado's as "Hummers") ;)

    He did do Dodge proud in the early days.
    Evans, Hall and Chuchua all are Off Road Hall of Fame members with ties to Mopar.
     
  5. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    Ha!
    I hoped you would share that! Rod Hall is the real deal.
     
  6. Beentherebefore

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    I didn't follow off-road that closely but here's what I believe was a Chrysler publicity picture that was used in company ads (often in b & w) that you could find in multiple auto enthusiast print media back in the late 80s - early 90s era. It shows the Dodge trucks of Walker Evans and Rod Hall "flying" (Norm's term). At the time, Chrysler was not racing in Nascar, but at least they were involved in off-road racing and took some pride in their acheivments.........AND knew how to market them.






    [​IMG]
     
  7. dyslexic teddybear

    dyslexic teddybear Active Member

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    I never followed off road that much either. I don't live close to where most of that type of competition usually takes place, and I find watching any form of motorsports on the tube....just lacks so much. I will try to watch just about anything Mopars compete in....it's just hard for me to get into it.....without the feel, sound, and smells. Guess I'm just too old school.....I want to BE there and feel the full experience.

    Kinda sad....I missed the chance to see a Dodge compete. Maybe someday I can go....but a RAM will not be the same. That is....if a RAM is still competing. I can do Jeep.....so I guess there's hope.

    I did however, read some about the suspensions used during that era. Lots of travel and a surprisingly quick steering ratio. I think.

    IIRC, a mag article......the writer got to drive one.....at slow speeds, the quick ratio was very awkward, very jerky. But get it up to speed and it smoothed out and the ride was pretty good in the context of what was being driven over.

    Anyone want to add to that, please do so. Even if it's to correct me.
     
  8. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    Racing still goes on most of the year and likely near you, as the series is nationwide, from coast to coast.
    So you likely live closer than you think. PM me your location and I'll give you the schedule near you.
    We still have lots of travel, in fact MORE than in the good oł days.
    By rule, my class is restricted to 14" of shock travel, however we still manage to get nearly 40" of articulation out of that. The record recorded speed in these cars is 128, that's crazy fast speed for open desert, no groomed course and with cars that also crawl at less than 1 mph.
     
  9. Beentherebefore

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    Nice tribute. I hadn't seen that before, but I've only been a member of this site for a little over a year now.

    Does Chrysler even have anybody on their staff now that has any interest in these types of racing programs? I'm not a big follower of off-road but even I hear/read about the Baja 1000 and the Dakar rally. Looked to me that Robbie Gordon was just begging for a little company support. Imagine a Jeep GC where his Hummer is being raced.

    There was an article in yesterday's "Los Angeles Times" quoting Manley as saying that their target was now the $60 - $70,000 German SUVs (i.e., Mercedes, BMW, and Audi) rather than Ford, Brand C, or Toyota SUVs. We all know that SM has an obsession with trying to whip the Germans but, imo, not competing in the major off-road series (like Dakar) is eventually relegating Jeep (or Dodge) to the trash bin of racing history.
     
  10. Muther

    Muther Well-Known Member

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    If I'm not mistaken (Norm and Bob please), Mitsubbishi got involved on Off Road through its links to Dodge, and then eventually did very very well in the Paris-Dakar (and more) in its Pajero (to become the Dodge Raider). I don't know much abut the Pajero/Mitsu effort though. Would the Mitsu's of that day ne considered Mopars, or not?
     
  11. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    A couple of observations, in reflection of your post;
    Robby Gordon is without question, a talented driver. Robby Gordon is, without question, not a marketeers dream, Robby Gordon is his own worst enemy ...and I have lobbied for Robby Gordon to get that ride...against my better judgement. ;)

    ...AND just to clarify, Jeep GC is NOT a suitable replacement for his "Hummer", that replacement, would be a JKU Wrangler, with a Hemi and a lot of WORK.
    Now, a GC Skin could be hung over a tube frame skeleton of a race car, but it would be so far removed from the current abilities of a GC, it would be a sham.
    GC is a very nice AWD Chrysler, but no longer considered a capable Jeep by Jeepers. 5.5" of suspension travel mated to electronic decices, places it into a different category.
     
  12. dyslexic teddybear

    dyslexic teddybear Active Member

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    PM sent. Thanks Norm.


    Pretty impressive specs. My 4x4 experience comes from the work truck part of off roading, if it doesn't have 8 lugs, likely doesn't have the capacity I need. So I don't consider myself a Jeeper or off roader as such. Coming from that background.....

    yeah, I'm impressed.
     
  13. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    Ha! I pitted for a team that ran the GM 14 bolt axles, they weighed near 900 lbs and destroyed every component they were bolted to...not to mention a 4 tire, tire change with 8 lug bolts takes a LONG time!
    Our race Jeep uses Currie Dana 60 axles, with 2.5 ton hubs, with 5 lugs. 1-3/4" diameter axle shafts and 35 splines, both are high pinion with shaved housings. Both front and rear combined weigh less than one 14 bolt and aside from the ring gear size, are stronger than the heavier axle.
    I would add that some teams run 800 horsepower through those axles, we are a mellow 580. ;)
     
  14. Beentherebefore

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    OK, hang a GC skin over the tube frame skeleton, after all, isn't that basically what a Nascar "stock car" is nowadays? Isn't that what Robbies "Hummer" is? I just suggested that because I think that Chrysler needs to be taking part in the biggest and most publicized off-road events with a solid factory effort that can keep one of their premier nameplates up front. You know how the association works......... to paraphrase my neighbor's gardner - " CHEBB (brand C) wins lots of races............CHEBB (brand C) gooooooood"

    I know that there are problems w/Robbie but you have to admit that he knows how to get headlines....AND win off-road races (or at least keep his racers up front).
     
  15. dyslexic teddybear

    dyslexic teddybear Active Member

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    Interesting........to add one more thing.......

    Norm pointed out in other threads that the majority of non-stock parts on race cars/trucks.......are for safety. So the "stock" term, get's virtually impossible to apply.

    There's a line here......and I have no idea how to define it......
     
  16. dyslexic teddybear

    dyslexic teddybear Active Member

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    Good parts!! I guess unsprung weight is that critical.......suspect NOT cheap, but broken parts end up costing more anyway. Interesting.....a very different approach from....say trying to keep a Cummins from turning an axle into a pretzel.

    8 lugs......fast 4 tire change.....don't really go together, do they? Air tools would help....but just muscle?

    Your crews are serious.
     
  17. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    We have air in the pits, it was still loooong!
    We use a DeWalt 18 volt torque wrench on the trail, for use away from pit support, which is usually 50-70 miles between pits. No on course pit crew support is allowed, so driver and co-driver are on their own and it's legal for another car to stop and help...and surprisingly that does happen.
    Just a side note, we chose Falken as our tire because the winning Jeep the last two years, ran them...and did not carry a spare! That is one tough tire! In fact last week we hit a rock at 65, it destroyed the very stout composite wheel, bent the wheel bead and turned the previously round wheel into a triangle. The Falken tire on that wheel was UNDAMAGED!
     
  18. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    I'll admit, I am not current on Dakar rules. However every sanctioning body has them and I am not sure how exotic the car can be made.
    My hunch is that what you see as a "tube frame" may simply be the occupant protection cage.
    Our class dictates how much of the original fram must be used, how much body must be used, etc. etc.
    Using ANY part of the WK chassis/frame/ suspension, or even the hard points would make a non-competitive vehicle.
    Im simply not familiar with how much the original car is allowed to be modified.
     
  19. dyslexic teddybear

    dyslexic teddybear Active Member

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    On the side note......a note to any marketing guy on here.....

    I don't care how much money is spent on a superbowl ad.....I pretty much ignore it.

    What Norm wrote......just that small thing, from someone who knows what he is talking about from real world experience.....

    Falken just went up a notch or two when I would consider tires.

    JMO.....but I wonder how many people just about ignore advertising like background noise?
     
  20. Beentherebefore

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    Whatever the rules are, I'm OK with them as long as it's a Mopar body of some sort AND a Mopar motor - NO IMPOSTERS powered by "brand C" ! That's all that most major racing series (including Nascar) are running these days anyway, if you exclude NHRA Stock & SS. Most race fans, even casual ones, know that many substitute parts are allowed beneath the skin for safety and other reasons.
     

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