392 HEMI® Meets Its Great Ancestors

Our new 2011 392 HEMI® Challenger SRT8 has only been in production for a couple of months and it already has the performance community taking notice. With 470 horsepower on tap, it can lay down rubber the length of an aircraft carrier at will. The equally impressive 470 ft.-lb. of torque will plant you firmly in the seat and peel your eyelids back. Personally, we think that both of these great attributes are pre-requisites for any muscle car. We can tell you this, one spin behind the wheel while rowing the six-speed transmission, will leave you with a crazed grin on your face.

To fully appreciate the 392, we need to go back five decades to the drag strips and sun baked dry lake beds of Southern California. It was the engine to beat in the Top Fuel and Gasser glasses throughout the late 1950’s and early 60’s. Legendary drag racers such as “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, “TV” Tommy Ivo and many more blazed a trail and set new records everywhere they showed up. These pioneers of the sport realized early that the 392 HEMI® had strong internals that would withstand the punishment of racing. However, it was the design of the HEMI cylinder head that allowed it to move the insane volumes of air and fuel, when a supercharger was bolted on. With the guidance of famed engine builder Keith Black, the growing high-performance parts industry began developing bigger superchargers, high-lift camshafts and headers and other hardware that would significantly increase the power of the 392 over any other production based V8 engine at the time.
We took our 392 HEMI® Challenger SRT8 to the hallowed grounds of the LA County Fairplex, home of the 51st annual NHRA Winternationals to meet its great ancestors that rewrote drag racing history. These front engine 392 HEMI® dragsters were the cutting edge of extreme performance some 50 years ago. It was at this same track that racers pushed these machines to the extremes and came home with trophies. Technology may have advanced and changed over time, however the basic superior design of the HEMI® engine head, remains the same. Even thought the first generation HEMI® doesn’t share any parts with the current GEN III offspring, there’s still some DNA along with magic in the numbers 392!



  • Bob
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    This is the kind of stuff that gives the HEMI legendary status. Is it possible to get a poster of that awesome shot of TV Tommy’s Dragster with the SRT8 392 in the back? Nice composition. This photo says it all!

  • Posted March 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Saw a DWB on the event. Very impressive.
    I want to see more press cars at car events.

  • Mike
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I wish Dodge would include some more colors for the SRT8 this year…like White with Black Stripes and a Light Icy Blue!

  • tek
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see the label “392” instead of “6.4L” .. The last of the gen-I 392’s rolled off the line just before I was born in 1958, so I’ve been waiting since then 🙂

    DOC 2010 DOTY

  • 440
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see Dodge never forgot its great past !!
    I love the readout in cubic inches ..392..instead of the 6.4 L !!
    Nice picture !

  • Car Club 1
    Posted March 4, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’ve always been a Ford fan (and still am), but this new 392 Challenger & the upcoming SRT8 Charger are quickly converting me over… This summer may be my ‘Summer of Dodge’!

  • moparnut
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Car club 1 your not alone in the ford converted club, I too belong. Glad to hear I’m not alone. About the car, well I am a child of the 80’s and for along time a modern muscle car was a small cube engine car with a whole 200 horse! Even with a moddified motor you still would be hard pressed to pass 300 horse mark, so for a production car to have 470 horse and be a NEW back wheel drive dodge, well that just puts a huge smile on my face. Just think its 2011 and you can go down to your local dealer and buy a dodge muscle car with nearly 400 cubes of displacement!!!! If that doesn’t make you glad to be an american then pack your sh#% and move to iraq because that is freakin cool and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels like that. Thank you dodge for making a big come back after all the money troubles, keep turning out the good products and PLEASE put the dodge name back on the ram truck, makes you look bad as a company.

  • ed whitworth
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    2008 SRT 8…how do you reset the oil change light? Awsome vehicle.

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