Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4/26 - Happy Hemi Day!

Guess what I remembered at work today?  It's Big Block Week!  And with that, today is national Hemi Day (in my mind); a day were I and anyone who cares or pays attention celebrates the glorious awesomeness that was the 426 Hemi.

The 426 was the second generation of Hemi engines after the earlier 392 Hemi.  The Hemi gets its name from the hemispherical combustion chambers in the cylinder heads.  They made better power, and some manufacturers utilized this technology, but Dodge was the first to coin the term Hemi and copyright it for branding, marketing, and propaganda purposes.  It seemed to do the trick.  The Hemis were a 426 cubic inch V8 that boasted 425hp back in the mid-'60s.  It remained the most powerful V8 Dodge put into a production car until the introduction of the third generation Hemis in the new Chargers, Magnums, 300Cs, and retro Challengers, but they've been far overshadowed by the new 6.4L 392s and their Hellcat siblings.

The classic Hemis were built in the midst of the muscle car wars of the '60s when the bir car companies were racing nearly stock versions of normal passenger cars on the track in racing leagues like Nascar (stock car racing) and NHRA (drag racing).  They wanted the most power, so they could get the most wins because of their philosophy of "win on Sunday, sell on Monday."  They figured that people wanted the biggest, meanest, most badass car they could buy, and if they were winning races, people would want to buy their cars.  This is what fueled the muscle car wars, and this is why we now have Big Block Week.

The Hemis could be found in all kinds of big, B-body Mopars such as Chargers, Coronets, Roadrunners, etc, but they were also in the newer, smaller E-body Challengers and Cudas to compete in the newer "Pony car" class.  For drag racing, they even offered a lightweight Dart or Barracuda in '68 that feature several weight-saving parts as well as a Hemi and a 4-speed.  In '69, Mopar introduced the "wing cars," the Daytona and Superbird, with their nose cones and large spoilers to add aerodynamics to their Nascar race cars powered by Hemis.  Nascar soon banned them because they were too much better than the other cars in their class.

Enough talking; look at these things!

'70 Roadrunner is my second favorite.
Cudas are my favorite.  Powerball, dude.  Powerball.

Now check out these vulgar displays of power from some Hemis;

Not necessarily Hemi cars, but still fun Mopar burnouts:

See you tomorrow!

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