The 426 HEMI® V8 has a reputation for dominance enjoyed by few engines, and the legend continues to grow. Here’s a brief timeline of this iconic engine’s history.
– Originally designed and created as a “race only” engine in 1964, vehicles powered by the 426 HEMI V8 dominate racetracks and drag strips during its first year of competition.
– Stock Car officials ban the 426 HEMI engine for the 1965 race season as protests from the competition mount declaring the dominant V8 is not a regular production engine in passenger cars.
– Chrysler introduces the 426 Street HEMI engine in 1966 to appease racing officials as well as to dominate the streets of America with the massive V8’s underrated 425 horsepower.
– The muscle car wars are in full swing by 1968, and the newly designed Charger R/T and Coronet R/T with available 426 HEMI V8 power under the hood quickly earn a badass reputation.
– Dodge introduces a low-budget, econo-muscle car, the Super Bee. With the optional 426 HEMI V8, it cleans up on the local drag strips along with the avenues and boulevards of big cities and small towns across America.
– Built strictly for drag racing’s Super Stock class, a group of Chrysler race engineers led by Tom Hoover create the 1968 Super Stock HEMI Dart. Built in limited numbers to satisfy eligibility rules, it quickly dominates the drag strip and continues to do so even today.
– Dodge gets into the pony car market with the Challenger for 1970. The ground-pounding 426 HEMI engine finds another home between the Challenger model’s sculpted front fenders and underneath the optional Shaker hood. Original 1970-1971 Dodge Challenger R/T models with the 426 HEMI V8 set bidding records when going across the block at today’s collector car auctions.