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  • 1987 Dodge Ramcharger Cummins Turbo Diesel - Red Rocket

1987 Dodge Ramcharger Cummins Turbo Diesel - Red Rocket

World's Quickest Diesel Ramcharger?

Jason Sands
Nov 1, 2008
Photographers: Jason Sands
Photo 2/16   |   1987 Dodge Ramcharger Cummins Turbo Diesel right Side
Actually, it's sort of a joke, because Ramchargers never came with diesels, but that didn't stop Harvey Grant from installing one in this '87 Dodge. You may not have heard of Harvey, but you've probably heard of his company, J&H Performance. J&H has helped build many powerful diesel trucks, from 2006 Diesel Power Challenge winner Nick D'Amico's Chevy (engine, transmission, and exhaust work), to 2008 Diesel Power Challenge winner Chris Werner's Dodge, which got its transmission built at J&H. With this impressive resume, there was still one thing missing-an awesome shop truck.
Photo 3/16   |   1987 Dodge Ramcharger Cummins Turbo Diesel left Rear
Harvey and shop co-owner Joel Gooch have been in the diesel scene for a while, and even took Second Place at the 2005 High Desert Roundup in Palmdale, California with a four-wheel-drive Ramcharger that ran a 12.06-second elapsed time. Since then, Harvey had always wanted to build another one, but this time a lighter, two-wheel-drive version. One day Harvey found an old Ramcharger nicknamed "Cha Cha" dropped off in front of his shop courtesy of Dynomite Diesel. Harvey called Lenny Reed, the owner of Dynomite, and asked him about the Charger. "It's your problem now," replied Lenny. After a very small amount of money was exchanged, Harvey got to work on his new, bright red Ramcharger.
"It took about a year to build" said Harvey. "We had a lot of pieces and parts lying around the shop that found their way into this project." What's amazing is the Dodge still manages to look and run darn good, considering the mix of parts. The short block is a '90, the head is off of a '97, the front cover and P-pump are off of another 12-valve they had laying around with a burnt piston. The transmission is a 47RH out of a '95 Dodge, and features a bunch of tricks from transmission guru Joel Gooch. The converter is "a blue one" that the boys found on the ground at the shop.
Photo 7/16   |   Weighing in at only 4,300 pounds, Harvey's red Ramcharger does monster burnouts with ease.
The shop tomfoolery doesn't stop there, as the pump work was done mostly with a lathe and grinder according to Harvey. A set of Dynomite Diesel injectors work with the shop-tinkered pump and a 66mm turbo to get the little Ramcharger to make 59 psi of boost and an even 500 hp at the wheels. But wait, there's more. A two-stage nitrous system using NX parts helped the Dodge break the 700-horsepower mark, but was also about to turn the turbocharger into shrapnel with an amazing 74 psi of boost. Since Harvey didn't want his engine to make an early exit, a 38mm Tial wastegate was added for dragstrip passes. Why a 38mm Tial? "We had it in the corner of the shop," said Harvey.
This summer at his own event, Harvey finally saw his hard work pay off with an 11.1-second quarter-mile pass at a blazing 128 mph. Not only does the street-legal Ramcharger look good and run hard, the best part is the price tag. Not counting endless hours spent working on the vehicle, he has maybe $15,000 in the whole thing, including engine, transmission, and paint work. With over 700 hp and elapsed times knocking on the 10s, we'd say he did a pretty good job.
Photo 8/16   |   1987 Dodge Ramcharger Cummins Turbo Diesel before
The Original
What happens with project vehicles after they get retired? They wind up out in back of the shop and get parts robbed off of them. This green beast donated its engine to the current red two-wheel-drive ride. The short wheelbase of the Green Machine, combined with its height, would actually allow the truck to pick up the front wheels off the line. Since all four wheels were driving, it would bounce for the first 100 feet or so before settling down.
We think that Harvey should bring the Green Machine back to life as an off-road rig, or sled pulling machine. What do you guys think? To check out the last dragstrip pass ever for the four-wheel-drive Ramcharger, check out You can also see the new and improved version run an 11.1-second quarter mile and do a monster burnout at


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