Growing up watching his father race, Charley Ogle always had a love of cars. It wasn’t until he participated in his first Drag Week event in 2013, though, that he was inspired to step up and fully transform his family’s 1964 Plymouth Savoy into a purpose-built drag-and-drive machine.
Now retired, the 52-year-old Texas resident credits the fateful outing with his 1971 Dodge Challenger for his current passion for drag-and-drive events. After his initial Drag Week outing, Ogle went on to race again in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018, before mixing it up with Rocky Mountain Race Week in 2019 and 2020. “I gave the Challenger to my son who turned 16 last year,” shared the father who gifted the racing bug to his progeny, as well. “It’s his daily driver, and he finished Sick Week in it.”
The Ogle family has been a racing-oriented one since Charley was born, though. His mother and father purchased a 1963 Dodge 440 2-door hardtop in 1970 – and it eventually became his first car. Every summer, the family visited an uncle in South Texas and passed a 1964 Plymouth Savoy in Blanco. They always stopped and inquired about buying the car, which was used by a lady to drive a few short blocks to work each day, but were always turned down.
Finally, in 1987, after almost a decade of trying, Ogle’s father’s offer was accepted and the family purchased the coveted Savoy for $1,000. “Every corner had been hit. It was trashed,” recalled Ogle of how the little-used daily driver had seen more than its fair share of abuse. “It was a slant six with three on the tree and almost 2,000 miles on it.”
The family patriarch drove the Savoy for a while before taking charge of the much-needed paint and bodywork. “We put a mild 440 in and drove it and played with it,” recalled Ogle of time spent working with his father. “In the late ‘90s, I stuck a 426 wedge in it and we raced it at brackets and special events for a couple of years.”
Passing on the generational tradition and keeping the family’s love of racing alive, in 2010, Ogle pulled all of the 1990s-era racing equipment out of the Savoy and gave the car to his nephew, Dillon Ogle, who had recently turned 16. As expected, the Plymouth accumulated all of the wear and tear that a teenager could dish out. “I got it back from Dillon in 2018 and put it together as it sits now,” noted the generous uncle. “I’m grateful to him for returning it so I could enjoy it again!”
In the span of only about a year – although Ogle readily admits a true racecar or project car is never finished – he was able to build the family vehicle into a competitive drag-and-drive style contender.
Given that he always has a co-pilot with him for events, and that he still uses the Savoy as a daily driver for the rest of the year, Ogle was careful when planning out the roll cage to make sure he wouldn’t sacrifice comfort or convenience. “I talked to the NHRA Division 4 chassis tech, Brent Groves, at length about how I could build a cage that would cert to 8.50 but still have access to the back seat,” noted the man who enlisted Gaylon Knowlton to construct the 10-point cage with swing-out accommodations. “I love the way it turned out. My son rode all of 2021 Rocky Mountain Race Week getting in and out with no problems.”
I love the sentimental aspect that it’s been in our family for so long. I know Pop is looking down from heaven with a big smile as I race and drive it. – Charlie Ogle
Under the hood and using an Indy Maxx aluminum block as a base, Ogle placed a 547 cubic-inch Mopar low-deck big block engine built by Jeff Spears at CrankShaft Balancing Services. The slightly under-square cylinder design features a 4.5-inch bore and a 4.3-inch stroke, made possible through an Ohio crankshaft spinning custom Diamond pistons on Molnar Technologies connecting rods.
For the cylinder heads, Ogle had Kerry Laminack at Laminack Racing Technologies work his magic with the machine work before installing titanium intake valves, stainless exhaust valves, and T&D rocker arms.
Kept in a naturally-aspirated configuration, Ogle set up the Mopar powerplant with a 12:1 compression ratio to ensure plenty of power. Twin 1,000 cfm 4150-style Mark Whitener Lightning Racing carburetors sit on top of the Hogan sheet metal intake manifold and are fed via a Weldon A1000 fuel pump.
The spark needed to match the fuel comes via an MSD coil system and Mopar Performance billet distributor with Accel ceramic plug wires and NGK spark plugs. After combustion, the spent exhaust gasses are expelled via a set of Tube Technologies headers before being dumped through the 3-inch MagnaFlow exhaust.
To keep the Savoy serviceable both on the strip and on the street, Ogle chose a Mopar 727 three-speed automatic transmission from Pro Trans Racing and paired it with a B&M transmission cooler, A&A reverse manual valve body, Gear Vendors overdrive unit, and Circle D Specialties torque converter set with a 3,700 rpm stall speed.
“An aluminum 3.5-inch driveshaft feeds into the Dana 60 rearend with 3.90 gears, Strange axles, and a Strange spool,” detailed the dedicated owner who added a set of Wilwood brakes up front and Strange Engineering stoppers out back. “In the front, it’s also got a Reilly MotorSports AlterKtion coilover system with Viking double-adjustable shocks and an AlterKation tubular K-member, then QA1 double-adjustable rear shocks with a Calvert Racing mono leaf spring setup.”
Paying homage to the car’s heritage and history, and to pair perfectly with the PPG light blue hue sprayed by Smithie Body, Ogle selected a set of subtle yet stylish Centerline wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson 275 drag radial rubber.
Aesthetic enhancements were kept to a minimum, as the Plymouth purist only added a fiberglass hood and minor touches to the sparse interior. Inside, the gray cloth upholstery accents the Procar by SCAT seats in the front and Kirkey Bomber seats in the back while Speed Hut gauges let the lucky driver keep an eye on the Savoy’s vital signs.
Even with all of the careful attention to detail during the build progress, Ogle’s favorite part of the car isn’t something tangible – it’s its history. “I love the sentimental aspect that it’s been in our family for so long. I know Pop is looking down from heaven with a big smile as I race and drive it,” said the man.
Running in Tom Bailey’s inaugural Sick Week in 2022, Ogle captured an overall average of 10.713-seconds and 134.06 mph in the 1/4-mile with a respectable finish in his group. To date, he’s run a quickest time of 10.21 seconds and clocked a fastest speed of 135.8 mph, with a personal best 1.51-second 60-foot in his pristine 1964 Plymouth Savoy. Ogle competes in the Big Block Naturally Aspirated categories as much as possible, and his ultimate goal is to complete a drag-and-drive event with a 9-second average.
Car: 1964 Plymouth Savoy
Chassis: Dillon Ogle 10-Point Cage
Engine: Mopar 547″ Big Block
Heads: Laminack Racing Technologies
Rods: Molnar Technologies
Cam: Howards Cams
Power Adder: Naturally-Aspirated
Transmission: Pro Trans Racing Mopar 727 Three-Speed Automatic
Converter: Circle D Specialties
Fuel Management: Twin 1,000 Cfm 4150-Style Mark Whitener Lightning Racing Carburetors
Rearend: Dana 60, Strange Engineering Axles
Suspension: Reilly Motorsports Alterktion Coilovers, Viking Double-Adjustable Front Shocks, Qa1 Double-Adjustable Rear Shocks, Calvert Racing Leaf Springs
Brakes: Wilwood (Front), Strange Engineering (Rear)
Tires: Mickey Thompson 205/75/15 Gt (Front), 275/60/15 Ss Radial (Rear)
Quickest E.T.: 10.21-Seconds
Fastest MPH: 135.80 Mph
Best 60-Foot: 1.51-Seconds