Happy 426 Day!


 
We noticed today’s date and thought how iconic three numbers in a certain order can be – 426.
 
In the world of engine displacement, 426 cubic-inches has had an illustrious past when the words “Max Wedge” and “HEMI®” followed these magical numbers. It was the arrival of 426 Max Wedge in 1963 that made our Dodge B-body (and Plymouth cousins) serious contenders at the drag strip. Fabled teams like the Ramchargers, Golden Commandos and many others won numerous events and buried many quarter-mile ET and MPH records while putting the competition on the trailer. Not to take it lying down, the “Brand X” racers began showing up with more exotic hardware under the hood to do battle with the all mighty Max Wedge. Knowing this, our merry band of engineers went back to the drawing board and revisited an old friend – the Hemisphere cylinder head. They made some improvements and design changes to adapt it to the 426 RB block (which was also revamped). Thus in early 1964, the 426 HEMI® was born and it terrorized the competition at the Daytona 500 that year. It also assaulted the NHRA and AHRA drag racing circuits with the likes of Don Garlits, Sox & Martin, Dick Landy and others piloting their HEMI powered Dragsters, Funny Cars and Door Slammers to class wins. On the streets of big cities and small rural communities, both engines developed a “don’t mess with ‘em” reputation from would be challenger’s at the stop light duels. While the Max Wedge sedans looked more like your grandfather’s car, the 426 Street HEMI Chargers, Super Bees, Coronets and Challengers with their bumble bee stripes and wild high-impact colors screamed performance.
 
Today, both the 426 Max Wedge and HEMI® are alive and well thanks to our friends at Mopar along with the high-performance aftermarket parts industry. Racers and restorers can get virtually everything to put one of these behemoths together and make some serious power. So mark your calendar and remember 4/26 and the impact these three numbers had in changing the landscape of the American car culture.

 


  • HEMIhead

    WOW! Now those were the days!
    Happy 426!
    Love the exhaust manifolds on the “Orange Monster”

  • Gray ghost

    This would have been the best day to introduce a new 426 chellenger.

  • ChuckZ

    Thanks for the great photo of Ronny Sox.

  • SUBLIME

    Hopefully, next year at this time Dodge will offer a 426 HEMI option with a shaker hood on the Challenger.  Eight speed manual or automatic would be nice as well.  New interior and maybe the high impact colors will be available again.  Next year’s Camaro and Mustang will offer 500+ hp so Dodge will have to do something.  I guess if we wait long enough and gas reaches $10 a gallon then they can offer the 426 in the Fiat 500 so we can get better gas mileage.  There shouldn’t be a gas guzzler surcharge on that one. It would make a heck of a drag pack option.  My friend had a 440 that he ran in a Plymouth Cricket.  What a rocket. 

  • mark

    426  is a great  number  ,engine  and  my birthday  :)