THE 426 HEMI – 50 YEARS STRONG

Cars-50YearsStrong-65argylMy association with the 426 Hemi engine goes way back to 1965 when Argyle Chrysler Dodge purchased the first Canadian 426 Hemi engine with aluminum heads from Chrysler U.S. in a 1965 Dodge Coronet. Cars-50YearsStrong-65argyl3I had prior experience with the 426 stage 3 wedge engine in my ’63 Plymouth Savoy A/MP car. The big block engines from the early and mid ’60s were designed more for NASCAR’s needs and not so much for drag racing needs. Chrysler U.S. was successfully running 392 Hemi’s in the Drag Racing sport. Little did Chrysler engineers ever think that the 426 Hemi would become the icon and mainstay engine of Drag Racing professionals today.

Cars-50YearsStrong-65argyl2In the early days Chevy and Ford had both manufactured similiar engine designs for all kinds of racing. Ford had the closest comparison to the 426 Hemi in its own version of a 427 S.O.H.C Hemi called a 427 Cammer.

Chrysler became reluctant in fortifying the longevity of the 426 Hemi. And little did they know how popular this engine would be in all classes in the Drag Racing industry. Chrysler had a real winner in running the engine on gasoline, alcohol and nitro with minimal breakdowns. My first experience with the 426 Hemi was when I started to drive for Argyle Chrysler Dodge in 1965. Ralph Algar the shop foreman and lead mechanic for Argyle’s was showing me a lot of very interesting facits of this unique engine. I immediately developed a liking for this Hemi. Cars-50YearsStrong-65ArgyleEngine I worked with Ralph to understand the entire operations of this engine. When I ran the 426 stage 3 Wedge in 1964, Cars-50YearsStrong-65ArgyleSideI thought that this engine was the best horsepower maker in my class of racing. Being young and naive I soon learned the benefits of a hemispherical head and piston design, and what it could mean to me in making mass amounts of horsepower at a mid to high range compression ratio. When I started building my own 426 Hemi’s I could see the results of my labours on the track. The Hemi’s always proved to be fast and reliable for my needs. 50 YEARS STRONG (1964-2014+)!!!!

1969 SuperBee SS/E                 1970 Duster PRO/S
Cars-50YearsStrong-69SuperBee   Cars-50YearsStrong-70Duster
1970 Challenger SS/DA             1970 Cuda C/Altered
Cars-50YearsStrong-70Challenger   Cars-50YearsStrong-70Cuda
1971 Demon PRO/S                    1971 Cuda PRO/S
Cars-50YearsStrong-71Demon   Cars-50YearsStrong-71Cuda
1972 Duster PRO/S                    1972 Cuda PRO/S
Cars-50YearsStrong-72Duster   Cars-50YearsStrong-72Cuda
John Osbourne
MyCars-70SuperCarClinicJohnOsbourne   Cars-50YearsStrong-JPLeaning

John Osbourne was able to work magic when machining my HEMI engine parts. You are sorely missed by all your MOPAR friends…JP.

I hope you enjoy reading this article.

JP

Half Century Of The 426 Hemi – Hot Rod Magazine



Comments

2 Responses to THE 426 HEMI – 50 YEARS STRONG

  • David Rico wrote on March 20, 2014 at 12:02 // Reply

    50 years and getting stronger everyday! We should all be so lucky!

  • Dan Trigiani wrote on June 24, 2014 at 6:46 // Reply

    The first time I saw the Highlander and then herd that beautiful sound Cayuga ontario I was hooked for life. I have been a Mopar man since and cuurrently working to restore my 1970 Challenger 440R/T. It will be in Johs colours

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