426 Hemi A Documentary History & Explanation
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The 426 Hemi, the engine the dominated NASCAR and Drag Racing in the 60s and 70s.
Chrysler started production of the hemisphiral combustion chamber head engines in 1951. The first Hemi known as Chrysler’s Fire Power, DeSoto’s Fire Dome and Dodge’s Red Ram. Due to the high production costs Chrysler stop production of the hemisphiral combustion chamber head engines in 1958.
In the early 60s Chrysler engineered a big block engine using the hemisphiral combustion chamber heads to use to race in NASCAR. These were the first engines officially designated Hemi. These early 426 Hemi Engines were not available in Chrysler production cars. Due to the fact that the Hemi was not available in any production vehicles sold, In 1965 NASCAR did not allow the Hemi to run. To legitimize its use for NASCAR in 1966 Chrysler sold the minimum required of Street Hemi equipped cars to the public. The engines were the same, but with smaller cams and lower compression compared to the race versions. Due to its large size and big power the 426 Hemi was nicknamed the “Elephant Engine”.
426 Hemi Cutaway
Due to higher cost and large size Only 11,000 HEMIs were produced for consumer sales. In 1971 once again Chrysler stop production of the old Hemi for production cars due to the changing emission regulation, and rising insurance premiums. In 2003 a new Hemi was introduced and is still in production in cars and trucks today. The 426 Hemi also dominated Drag Racing and the current Top Fuel and Funny Car classes use engines that are based on the old Chrysler Hemi design.
The 426 Hemi was an option in all the following vehicles
1966–1970 Dodge Coronet/Plymouth Belvedere
1966–1971 Plymouth Satellite
1966–1971 Dodge Charger
1967–1971 Plymouth GTX
1968 Dodge Dart SS (SuperStock)
1968 Plymouth Barracuda SS
1968–1971 Dodge Super Bee
1968–1971 Plymouth Road Runner
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
1970 Plymouth Superbird
1970–1971 Plymouth Barracuda
1970–1971 Dodge Challenger
1970 Monteverdi Hai 450
1970 Plymouth Fury GT