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Chrysler HEMI Heritage

Filed under:  Brand Related | History | Technology
 
Comment(s): 4
 
 

The Chrysler Corporation stunned the racing world on Feb. 23, 1964, when stock cars equipped with its powerful 426 HEMI® engine swept the Daytona 500, taking first, second and third places in stock car racing's most prestigious event. The engine also set a new average speed record for the track of 154.33 mph.


hemi old new

In 2005, The Chrysler Group builds a "bigger, better" hemi badge. On its Chrysler 300C, Dodge Magnum and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the badge will increase by 145 per cent in size; for Dodge Ram and Dodge Durango, it will increase 136 per cent.

While the engine's life on the racing circuit was brief - NASCAR quickly imposed stricter engine specifications in an effort to level the playing field - that February day was enough to set the public clamoring for HEMI-style horsepower.

In 1966, Chrysler began offering a slightly tuned-down version of the 426 HEMI race engine (called the "street HEMI") as an option in Plymouth Belvederes, Dodge Coronets and Chargers. The era of the true muscle car had arrived.

The cylinder head configuration with a nearly centrally located spark plug in a hemispherically shaped combustion chamber gave the classic HEMI engine its name. This unique architecture has an inherent airflow that translates into big power.

The street HEMI came with dual, four-barrel carburetors mounted on an aluminum dual-plan intake manifold. The engine's advertised horsepower and torque were 425 hp and 490 lb.-ft. of torque. However, many drivers claim the output was closer to 500 hp.

"Prior to 1964, we were racing on the NASCAR circuit using a 426 Max Wedge (which had a wedge-shaped head design), but we weren't having much success," recalls Bill Weertman, Chrysler's Manager of Engine Design at the time. "Senior management wanted to change that. Our engineering team knew from previous experience with the HEMI design that it could produce the necessary power."

Indeed, Chrysler engineers assisted in the development of a HEMI engine that in 1965 set a new land speed record for a wheel-driven vehicle. The car, with four HEMI engines mounted in-line, set a two-way record of 409.277 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.

While for many the HEMI legacy began in the 1960s, Chrysler's experience with the design dates back to the late 1930's, when engineers began experimenting with different types of engine designs in an effort to improve performance. During World War II, Chrysler also developed a military aircraft engine equipped with a HEMI head.

In 1951, Chrysler introduced the HEMI V-8 engine to the public. The engine produces 180 hp, an impressive output in those days. The first cars to carry the new engine were the New Yorker and Saratoga lines. Between 1951 and 1953, HEMI engines were offered on the Chrysler and Imperial, DeSoto and Dodge. Although the engines carried different names - "Firepower," "Fire-dome" and "Red Ram" - and were manufactured in separate facilities, they shared a similar design approach with each engine having its own size range.

The 426 HEMI had little in common with these earlier versions except for the basic valve train arrangement and spark plug location, according to Weertman.

An expensive option at the time ($600-$800 on cars that had base prices of $2,300 to $4,200), the street HEMI was popular among car enthusiasts and those cruisers who wanted to have the biggest, baddest engine on the street.

"If you were idling at a stoplight and the car next to you had 'HEMI' in its nameplate, there was no doubt who would be the fastest off the line," said Weertman, who retired from Chrysler in 1987.

The street HEMI passed into history in 1971 as concerns about emissions and fuel consumption led to a major detuning of all high performance engines. About 10,000 426 HEMIs were manufactured for street use in the engine's five-year run.

Still, the love affair with the original muscle car engine continues today through Web sites and enthusiast magazines devoted to the HEMI. Today, restored true HEMI cars command very high price tags.

(source: Chrysler)


6 1hemi emblem dodge challenger srt8 081

6.1 HEMI emblem from a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

chrysler hemi engine sm

Chrysler hemi engine.

hemi a311 52 sm

A311-EX1 hemi engine equipped with hand made injector type manifold. (6-12-52).

hemi a311 cfp

Chrysler Fire Power logo stamped on the A311-EX1 hemi engine equipped with hand made injector type manifold. (6-12-52).

hemi ad sm

HEMI "Beat It" ad.

chrysler new horz logo sm 07

2007 New (horizontal) Chrysler logo.

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COMMENTS

Chrysler's development of their 1950s hemi engine, the head was referred to in company advertising as the Double Rocker head. The Chrysler Town & Country EV is a range-extended electric vehicle that demonstrates another possible application of ENVI electric-drive technology.

Travel trailers2934 days ago

The Chrysler Group will be introducing a special limited run of the Chrysler 300C “Heritage Edition” that pays homage to the 1957 Chrysler 300C, also known as the “Beautiful Brute”. The special edition will be combination of luxury and performance with a couple extra exclusive touches, including the first application of SmartBeam headlamp technology that adjusts highbeam brightness and intensity based on surrounding nighttime light sources.

New "Heritage Edition" model pays homage to the 1957 Chrysler 300C which was described as the "Beautiful Brute

Used cars for sale2914 days ago

Some of the most comfortable seats anywhere, short of Chrysler’s SRT8 offerings - which approach La-Z-Boy comfort despite their bolsters - are found up front. The rear seats leave a lot to be desired for those with legs below their knees, but are perfectly suitable for children and smaller adults.

Cheap cars for sale2913 days ago

I heard that Utilizing the partnership between the DMCVB and its diverse membership including Chrysler—Baum was able to acquire the newly announced Chrysler 392 Hemi crate engine, backed up by a beefed up three speed Chrysler 727 automatic transmission. The authentic Pendleton “Del Rio” pattern blanket and snakeskin interior reflects Detroit’s Native American heritage , and the brand new, Detroit-made, Ford Motor Company authorized “Dearborn Deuce” reproduction ‘32 Ford roadster body was chosen to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the most popular classic American car ever built.

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