Dean Nicopolis 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

Dean Nicopolis 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

The Dean Nicopolis 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda went up for sale this week. No, it is not a stock original Hemi Cuda. That’s not the point. This is the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda which Dean Nicopolis built, and he built it his way, the way a Super Stock drag racer would build it. 

Racing fans will remember that Dean Nicopolis was the last of the legendary Ramcharger Racing Team. In the early 1980’s he built himself this 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda. It has many vintage performance enhancements such as high compression pistons, radical cam shaft, frame connectors, headers, and a vacuum pump for the power disc brakes. With his knowledge base of racing and custom designed enhancements, this car should be a learning tool for performance guys and race car enthusiasts. (Follow this link to view photos of the car and some of the documentation that comes with it.)

The Ramchargers were initially composed of engineers, technicians and car buffs employed at Chrysler Corporation in 1959. That was the year the Mopar factory race team ran “The High and Mighty” modified 1959 Plymouth coupe in the Nationals. Nobody had seen a performance racer like that before. Their engineering cues and performance achievements are legendary. Their name came from their innovational intake manifold tuning techniques. They also were the first to do exhaust header tuning, changing the center of gravity, and developing an automatic transmission for drag racing.

History records that they were the first team to break the 9 second barrier with a stock bodied car. They went on to break the 7-second mark with a Funny Car, and the 6-second mark in a Top Fueler.

By 1974 the last of the Ramchargers formed a unique team for Super Stock racing. Ted Flack ran SS/K, Lee Palarchio SS/D, and Dean Nicopolis SS/DA class. They achieved new Super Stock records and many divisional championships. They won three Division 3 Super Stock titles. Dean Nicopolis was the last of the Ramcharger team. Although his mates retired from racing in 1977, Dean continued until 1988. He dominated the Street Hemi Class with 37 class championships. 

Nicopolis, the last of the Ramchargers, past away in 2009. He had a lot to be proud of for a life well lived. 

A private collector from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada currently owns the car. The Dean Nicopolis 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda retains so much provenance and history. Rarely does a car this important come on the market. 

Dean Nicopolis 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

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7 Responses to Dean Nicopolis 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

  1. Rick Simpson January 15, 2018 at 10:32 pm #

    Nice article.

  2. John Garron October 11, 2019 at 4:33 pm #

    Dean was one of my best friends father. Went racing with him to a few time to the hemi shootouts. He was definitely a great guy. He certainly knew how to build fast cars. He is definetly missed by all how knew him.

  3. John Garron October 11, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

    Sorry for the fat fingers above.

    Dean was one of my best friends father. Went racing with him a few time to the hemi shootouts. He was definitely a great guy. He certainly knew how to build fast cars. He is definetly missed by all who knew him.

  4. Paul Ashburn September 6, 2020 at 1:46 pm #

    Great summary on Dean and the Hemi-Cuda. I had the pleasure of working with Dean in the powertrain area of Ford Light Truck engineering, and did not know of his Ramchargers background until several years after he had joined the Ford Truck team. I remember him as an outstanding engineer, hard working guy who loved cars and racing, and was a real gentleman in and out of the office. I remember he mentioned that he had purchased the last remaining boxes of chrome hemi piston rings…I asked why he needed so many….and he replied they were part of his eventual “retirement assets”.

    • Dan Partee October 9, 2020 at 9:53 am #

      Paul, Dean was a good friend to many. I visited his shop several times where he revealed many of his speed secrets to me which I will not reveal. In around 1978 he ordered some TRW Chevy engine parts for me which are still in my old 1960 Falcon drag car which is now driven on the street. He was a well known and respected drag racer and a great Ford Engineer. RIP Dean

  5. Mike Hesse January 17, 2022 at 8:56 pm #

    I rented a house from Dean back in the 80’s. The garage was not part of the deal as that is where Dean and Jack worked on the Cudas almost every night. I loved the sound of TV hose cars.

    I was an Electronic Engineering Tech when I lived there. I designed and built a few practice trees for Dean and an electronic Nitros switching circuit.

    I really never new how popular he was or the Significance of the Ramcharger racing name back then. I just thought they were a couple of cool racing guys that loved what they did. If only I could turn back the hands of time.

  6. Ralph Vogel January 20, 2022 at 7:24 pm #

    Dean. Class guy. I worked with him in late 60’s,early seventies at the GM tech center in Warren. We went to lunch one day and instead of Deans SS 396 Chevelle, we took my 66 Pontiac Lemans. At a light.Dean said this is running rough, I said I know but the coming of our little girl, I was short on funds to take it in for repair. Dean told me to come to his garage on a certain night and he would look at it. Took the wife and little one for a ride. Dean was there and told me to pull it in the garage. His team was there and in less then 45 minutes he had the cam in his hands. One of the guys left to get a new one and in last then two hours . I was on the road with a smooth running car. No charge for labor.

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