Drag Illustrated Issue 175, March / April 2022 - Page 48


Clutch industry pioneer John Norcia passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Sunday , February 27 . Norcia started Ram Clutches in 1971 inside of his father ’ s auto parts rebuilding business in Canton , Ohio .

He was an innovator behind several clutch technological advancements over the years , which included the Rametallic paddle clutch disc in the 1970s , then in the 1980s the Ram Assault Weapon 6.25 multiple disc oval track clutch , and the Ram Coupler , a 5.5-pound direct coupling that utilized a cone clutch inside .
He also developed the first carbon fiber clutch assemblies used in any form of automobile racing , which were popular in Pro Stock and Competition Eliminator . Norcia designed one of the earliest data recording computer systems used in drag racing and was always tinkering and looking for innovations in clutch design . Together with his

John Norcia 1937 – 2022 Courtesy of Ram Clutches early business partner , Ray Bickar , they moved the business to Columbia , South Carolina , in 1983 .

Norcia attended many NHRA races throughout the ‘ 70s and ‘ 80s , working with industry greats such as Roland Leong , Don Prudhomme , Tom McEwen , Bob Glidden , Scott Shafiroff , Roy Hill , and Larry Kopp , many with whom he remained close friends over the years .
John ’ s sons , Mike and Pat , worked in the business throughout their teens before joining the company in full-time capacity after college . Mike and Pat continue to lead the company today .
In addition to his many career accomplishments , Norcia was an avid car guy , having restored a 1946 MG-TC and a rare 1937 Jaguar SS100 Roadster . His passion extended to the street rod arena as both a collector and restorer . His current project was a period-correct 1932 Ford Roadster . Norcia will certainly be missed by all that knew him in the performance industry . DI
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