I have a 1956 DeSoto Fireflite 2door Sportsman hardtop with a 330 cid 4 barrel hemi. You would be hard pressed to find a quieter and smoother engine anywhere. It makes plenty of power to pull that big boat around. Great engine. I read one time that Chrysler lost money on every hemi produced because they could never attain sales to the break even point. I guess that's why they came out with the poly motor.
Came here to say! My 'favorite' hemi is the teensiest, the deSoto 276. We had a 1954 station wagon (not just "built like" a truck: when we were done, it was bought by a door company that ran a fleet of them). It weighed well over two tons with the marine decking and all that X-membering in the frame, yet still cruised at over 20 MPG (premium only of course at those compressions, but hey, it was two cents more) -- in the mid 50's. I'm surprised more of them have not been built up into competition motors. Elegant, stout design. "Nice boat."
All my mopar buddies are jealous because I was born on 4-26! I had a 392 Hemi in my 57 Chrysler 300C, and have a 5.7 in my 2005/06/07 Chrysler 300C Commemorative Edition Station Wagon (made out of an 05 Magnum, 06 300, and 07 300C commemorative edition side trim).
Hemispherical combustion chambers have been with us since the very early 1900's. But the early hemis had one or two overhead camshafts. The Chrysler Hemi was different in that the valves were activated by pushrods. But Chrysler was not the first to do this. Walter Becchia of Talbot patented the pushrod hemi geometry in 1934. Only a year or so later, Ferdinand Porsche designed an air-cooled pushrod hemi V8 for Steyr of Austria. A huge number of these were used during WW2 by the Germans in command cars, light trucks and halftrack vehicles, especially in North Africa, where the Americans called them Rommel's Rods.
Zora Duntov worked at Talbot when Walter Becchia was there. In fact, Zora attempted to qualify a pushrod hemi Talbot for the Indy 500 just before WW2. During WW2 Zora smuggled gold coins between Belgium and France in his flathead Ford. The Ford was not as fast as he wished. This is was the genesis of Zora's Ardun pushrod hemi conversion for the Flathead.
Zora always believed his Ardun conversion was the inspiration for Chrysler's hemi. The similarities are, in fact, convincing that Zora was correct, including interchangeable valves. And, in 1951, Chrysler's chief engineer included an Ardun cut-away in the Motor Trend article that was the first to promote the new Chrysler hemi.
Opened the hood on my 2016 300S and gave my best to my 5.7 Hemi. Oil always changed and nothing less than plus in the gas tank keeps my baby running fast and quiet. One of the best engines ever made and love the rumble when you floor her.
Back about 68 or 69, Hot Rod Magazine dyno tested a 427 Ford, 427 Chevy & a 426 Hemi. The results were dramatic: Ford 427=425 HP Chevy 427=550HP Hemi 426=Well, we never found out because it pegged the 600HP dyno's max scale. These were gross numbers at the flywheel. Most impressive for sure. Does anyone else remember this article?
Two more Hemi days come up this week. The Pontiac 427, which would have been interesting had it moved forward. And the Boss 429, which also had some unique features.
Once I stopped to see if I could help a stranded Road Runner. He was sitting on the side of the freeway, and his ride had a busted torsion bar. My surprise was when he opened the hood - and there sat a race Hemi. Hard to miss the Holley carbs on a cross ram.
Two unusual Hemi’s I ran across were aftermarket. Oldsmobile, and small block Chevy. I cringe to think of how much a whole custom motor like that would have cost back then - now CNC machines and other technologies ease the work.
Looked at some Hemi cars in the 70’s. Only one I could afford at the time was a 1972 Dodge Colt. Put a smile on my face during the gas crisis.
Brendan, well done. My Father bought a '61 300 Letter Series Convertible, Black with Tan, Front Seats that rotated, the whole show. He brought it home to show my Mother who thought it was a very pretty Chevrolet; the name she knew in cars. He put the top down, put her in the car, took her for a ride and then to Dinner. She loved the whole thing. I was very excited. 100 years later I spotted a '65 300 Convertible, no Hemi, a 383, Bronze with a Black Interior in a Used Car Department at a Volkswagen (!) Dealer who I knew in California. I bought the car and enjoyed it for many years.
It's not a Chrysler but the 1.6 litre 4 cyl. in the Europa has hemispherical chambers, so that's a good enough reason to fire it up today in honour of the hemi engine. And, by the way, happy birthday to @noah300g
I still remember one summer in high school a brand new Charger 426 Hemi pulled up next to me at the light on Tustin Ave. He let it idle and then goose it, it gave me the chills! So many cool cars back then, got to drive many of them, but the Hemi was in a class its own. Not really a big Mopar fan at the time, funny how time can change things. I like them all now, all makes American Muscle/Sports Cars of the era. If I only had Leno's money.....
A forgotten hemi, or maybe unknown is a better term, is the Daimler SP-250 sports car from the very early 60s. It had a 2.5 liter Hemi V8 that looked just like a scaled down Mopar. If you have no idea what these cars were, check out Jay Leno's Garage. He featured a Daimler not too long ago. Weird to see a British sports car with V8 sounds out the back!! (This was long before the AC Cobra and Sunbeam Tiger)