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Ridge Runner Speed parts, Ralph Ridgeway?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by unclescooby, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. unclescooby
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 4,628

    unclescooby
    Member
    from indy

    I saw this on Ebay today and it's only the third one I know of. I've got one and so does a fellow HAMB'er. It says it was made by Ralph Ridgeway. I found a little thing on the net that said he made these for drag cars in the 60's and maybe for a Norwood Chevrolet drag car?

    I'd love to know more about this guy and what all he made. I got the whole motor from mine and both tops and it's neat stuff but I can't find ANYTHING else on this guy. Anyone have scoop?
     
  2. unclescooby
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 4,628

    unclescooby
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    from indy

    Here's the picture...
     

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  3. Shoprag
    Joined: Mar 8, 2005
    Posts: 724

    Shoprag
    Member

    do u have a better pic of the top. a couple of my buddies and I were messin around and we put ridge runners on some shirts to mess with one of my buddies tellin him we started a club and he wasn't in. i would like a better shot of the the top if u had one. we told him we got the name from old guys runnin whisky, i would like a shot of that so we can tell him we got it from 60's drag racin.
     
  4. 59BuickWagon
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,757

    59BuickWagon
    Alliance Vendor

    I think he was from the Springfield Mass area and ran Deb's Automotive and that they had a shop in Milford Ct also. I always thought that the Rifgeway Runner was the first tunnel ram manifold ever produced.

    That's all I can remember on the subject.

    Dennis
     
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  5. markyac
    Joined: May 6, 2005
    Posts: 876

    markyac
    Member

    Ralph Ridgeway would have to be considered the father of the small block Chevy tunnel ram. There were other inline tunnel rams before his. The Ramchargers come to mind, and also the Super Duty 62 Pontiacs.
    In the mid sixties Ralph would go out to Indy and blow away all the cross- ram cars in C/Modified Production and take home the class trophy. Ralph later went on to mass- produce some of his designs, which is probably what you have there.
    Also , he was a fanatic about adjusting valves and designed his own version of a stud girdle amongst other valve train items.
    For a while , he had a shop in the Rockville ,Ct area, but I have no idea where he is today.
    Deb's Automotive was founded by Carl Debien and was famous for it's dyno -tuning. They were in Springfield, Mass and (East) Hartford , Conn. I don't know about Milford, Ct.
    If you look on page 163 of Larry Davis's book " Gasser Wars" you'll see a picture of Ralph's 55 Chevy, the baddest of the bad!
     
  6. 59BuickWagon
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,757

    59BuickWagon
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    Maybe Deb's sponsores Ralph and that's why I associated him with them??

    There was a Deb's Automotive store on the Post Road in Milford just east of Pauls on the other side of the road.
     
  7. 59BuickWagon
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,757

    59BuickWagon
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  8. unclescooby
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 4,628

    unclescooby
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    from indy

    I never cease to be amazed at the wealth of knowledge here. Thanks all.
     

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  9. Goober
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,452

    Goober
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    As I recall seeing Ralph's 55 Chevy C/MP at Indy in the 60's, his first tunnel ram was a modified Rochester Fuel Injection casting with the carbs mounted on top. Based on the success of that configuration, the later castings were produced.
     
  10. unclescooby
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 4,628

    unclescooby
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    from indy

    Now you've all got me wanting to see a picture of this 55 Chevy!
     
  11. 59BuickWagon
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,757

    59BuickWagon
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    Sounds right from one of the threads I read when I Googled him. Sounded like some plastic toy people were pissed still for eating up the supply of Rochesters in the 60's. Sounds like our kind of guy:D
     
  12. Buford
    Joined: Aug 30, 2001
    Posts: 313

    Buford
    Member

    Ralph beat me (C/MP) at the 1966 NHRA Nationals. He was VERY consistant...low 12's...40 years ago! Frank
     
  13. Dave2spd
    Joined: Dec 22, 2006
    Posts: 8

    Dave2spd
    Member

    Carl Debien designed the Ridgerunner manifold and of course Ralph ran it, Deb's had the dyno setup in Spfld Mass The Conn stores sold speed parts. May have access to an manifold that was never machined, Big block Chev.
     
  14. I watched Ralph run that '55 at Lebanon Valley Dragway. Incredible is the only word I can use.

    I heard about what he was running, but never saw it. After all these years I finally got to see and touch one that a local guy bought.
     
  15. orange crush
    Joined: Jun 21, 2005
    Posts: 297

    orange crush
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I actually had one on my 55 chevy and drove it on the street for a couple years. it has the single four barrel top and I ran a single 600cfm carb. It never fouled plugs but it had terrible throttle response. and didn't make any power below 3500 rpm. I still have it and may put on my 57 chevy just for the look
     
  16. Dolmetsch
    Joined: Oct 4, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    Dolmetsch
    Member

    Ralph Ridgeway Debs automotive. Inventor of the tunnel ram as we know it. I saw him run in the 1960s at Les Cedres Drag Strip in the provimce of Quebec. (About 35 miles from Cornwall, Ont.) He ran Kempville's own Bill Gaw , another inovator in his own right. Both were 55 Chevs and both were CM/P , We could hardly believe such a famous person would be at that little two lane strip. We had read about him in the hotrod mags just a couple of months previous. If I remember right and it is possible I dont since it was 40 years ago I think he started with a Chevy Rochseter Inj unit and cut the top of and made a tunnel ram of sorts.
    Don
     
  17. ki11pod
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 3

    ki11pod
    Member
    from Chicago

    I have a Small Block RidgeRunner Ram Dual Quad Tunnel Ram in very good condition. A friend bought it back in the 60's and never ran it, I had it on my Camaro for a year but it is still very clean.

    I am looking to sell it if anyone is interested.

    PM me or email me at kbourke1981@yahoo.com
     
  18. Hilo hotrodder
    Joined: Feb 15, 2007
    Posts: 703

    Hilo hotrodder
    Member

    A friend of mine in NY bought one at the englishtown swap meet Ithink he paid 50$ in 84. I am sure it worth a little more today.
     
  19. DualQuad55
    Joined: Mar 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,317

    DualQuad55
    Member
    from Epsom, NH

    Ralph was out of Rockville Ct although he listed it as Stafford in his ads. This is because many people were familiar with Stafford due to its circle track, but no one knew where Rockville was/is.

    Ralph had a partner, but it was NOT Carl Debien. I don't think Deb designed the intake at all, he may have provided the dyno for testing however.

    Ralph made a prototype intake with a clear plastic/lucite(?) side for the plenum. He would watch how the fuel atomized inside. He then kept making the plenum taller to get better atomization, until he got to the point where any added height had no noticable gains.

    more to come later.
     
  20. The Hard Way
    Joined: Jan 19, 2007
    Posts: 47

    The Hard Way
    Member

    I bought one for a Chevy big block with the dual four top. I got a good deal on it too. I've got plans to modify it, but if its really worth something maybe I'll find another way to make it work.
     
  21. 1935Ron
    Joined: Dec 31, 2006
    Posts: 1,372

    1935Ron
    Member

    Ran one on a old B/A ..worked good..was always a conversation and a story
     

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  22. DualQuad55
    Joined: Mar 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,317

    DualQuad55
    Member
    from Epsom, NH

    Ok, just a little more trivial info on Ralph.

    Appearantly, his former partner in the business is still operating a machine shop in the Rockville CT area.
    At the time when they were starting to make good sales on the Ridgerunner intake, they also designed and started selling some sort of block/main bearing girdles. Supposedly they had an 'improved' design that would not loosen up after a few passes like many others available at the time.
    Money was relatively short and they only had a certain amount to spend on advertising. Ralph felt that the block girdle would be the better choice for marketing-for what ever reason he had. Unfortunately, the girdles never really took off. Soon Edelbrock came out with their own tunnel ram intake and with enough capital to mass produce and properly advertise the new product. This put the Ridgerunner intake into an early grave so to speak.
     
  23. reed0380
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 2

    reed0380
    Member

    My understanding is Ralph Ridgeway was a mechanical engineer who used a Corvette fuel injection manifold base with the "doghouse" removed to fab the tunnel ram. I was told his prototype tunnel ram was made using aluminum plate which was all heli-arc welded together. Once the prototype was finalized and optimized, aluminum castings were produced and finish machined. Ralph set the C/MP record in Indy with his '55 Chevy.

    Deb's Speed Shop, Springfield, MA did Ralph's dyno tuning and Carl Debien of Deb's was one of Ralph's sponsors. Bye the way, I think the automotive machine shop which did the motor was Miller's Machine Shop in Haverhill, MA. which was owned by Phil Miller. At the time, Phil Miller campaigned a top fuel rail called the "Annihilator".

    I owned a speed shop at the time and was buying wholesale from Deb's Automotive. Their only wholesale and retail location was their store which was in East Hartford, CT across from Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. I sold two complete Ridge Runner induction systems until Edelbrock Corporation came out with their version which was priced lower. I recall seeing Ralph Ridgeway in 1969 and 1970 at Epping, NH (New England Dragway) with a blue '69 Camaro drag car.
     
  24. THE UNDEFEATED
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 2

    THE UNDEFEATED
    Member

    [​IMG]

    The above picture of Deb's Speed Shop 1955" C/Mp N.H.R.A. NATIONAL RECORD HOLDER" was taken during the 1966 season at New England Drag Way . When I saw the Motor on this car it was sporting a Chevrolet Corvette Fuel Injection Intake Manifold with an Aluminum Plate of about 3/8Th's. of an inch thick with Two Holly 600 cfm's bolted on the top. It must have been the experimental original because it was not refined as I have seen in several other pictures.
    Now comes the bad or good news depending on your view point. From my point it's great. I raced against this car several times during that Inaugrial Season of 1966 at N.E.D.W. , every time I beat him in the "Street Eliminator Bracket" as I was running my "TONKA TOY" Corvette in D/Sp . I also beat up on some other NATIONAL RECORD HOLDERS like Harr Fords A/Sp 427 "side oiler" Cobra that was the 1966 Winter Nationals Winner in Pomona and he would break his National Record any time he needed too and was driven by the "LATE GREAT" and under publicized Gus Zuidema from Worcester Ma. . I again came out on top the one and only time I raced him at N.E.D.W.. I had the good fortune not only to have a very fast car but my "Robotic Driving abilities (credit to Ronny Sox and Bill Jenkins) were by todays standards equal to .00? lights and never using my clutch to shift (just pull and push with the gas to the floor)". I am tooting my own horn here because if you ask any of the "Older Guys " from NEW ENGLAND DRAG WAY that raced against me , they conveniently have "NO RELECOLECTION OF ME OR MY CAR THAT WENT UNDEFEATED IN STREET ELIMINATOR DURING THE INAUGURAL SEASON OF 1966". I as recently as last week offered a challenge to the car club that states "I don't exist" a $1,000.00 cash up front challenge for them to provide a "Street Eliminator Vehicle" that could lay claim to beating me during that time at New England. The Subject got changed so I have left it for now to sit as it is , (but I am working on the printed publications from National Dragster and Drag News so I can get the recognition "I EARNED " against some of the toughest race cars of the time on the East Coast.
    Back to Ralph Ridgeway and that original tunnel-ram . It worked great and he aquired several National Records with that design. He is a true innovator and a great credit to the sport of Drag Racing . Just like Smokey Unick and his Cross Ram Chevy duel quad manifold but required a lot of tweaking to get the Flow Right , but it had a much Lower Profile and could fit under the hood of most cars when the Tunnel-Ram is harder to enclose under your hood. :=)
     
  25. classic gary
    Joined: Sep 24, 2009
    Posts: 426

    classic gary
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Here is a crummy picture of a set of Ridgeway Valve covers I used to own.
     

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  26. hoffbug
    Joined: May 6, 2008
    Posts: 44

    hoffbug
    Member

    I wonder what the Grump had going on in here.... An Early Ridgeway BB design? or just cardboard and duct tape over the tubing to disguise it?


    [​IMG]
     
  27. Angliaguy
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 106

    Angliaguy
    Member

    Today Carl Debien has Deb's Automotive in Delray Beach Florida on West Atlantic Ave just west of I-95.
     
  28. Roger Walling
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,118

    Roger Walling
    Member

    Ralph lives in Wilbraham Ma.
     
  29. japar
    Joined: Jun 30, 2007
    Posts: 249

    japar
    Member
    from Seekonk Ma

    Deb's Speed Shop Ridge Runner Camaro
     

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