So far in Dodge history, there have been three generations of the fabled Hemi® V8. There’s the state-of-the-art HEMI® engine offered in current Dodge vehicles including the Charger, Challenger and Durango. There’s the original, groundbreaking Red Ram Hemi V8, produced from 1954 to 1957. And there’s the mighty 426 Hemi of the 1960s, which became a legend in its own right.
There were two basic versions of the 426-cubic-inch Hemi available to the public. The first and most common was known as the Street Hemi, and it was optional equipment in Dodge performance models including the Charger, Challenger, Super Bee and Coronet R/T from 1966 to 1971. This engine was nominally rated at 425 horsepower, but everyone knew it was capable of considerably more. This was the engine that pretty much ruled the drive-ins and drag strips of the muscle car era.
The second variety was known as the Race Hemi. Even more powerful than the Street Hemi, the Race Hemi was installed in a limited number of specially prepared cars intended for racetrack use only. The specifications of Street Hemis and Race Hemis can vary considerably on individual models. However, there’s an easy way to distinguish the two basic types. In general: On a Street Hemi, the two four-barrel carburetors are mounted in line, one behind the other. On a Race Hemi, the two carburetors are situated atop the engine nearly side by side. The engine pictured above is a Race Hemi, naturally.
The 426 Hemi has a reputation for performance enjoyed by few engines, if any, and the legend continues to grow. But in truth, the current HEMI® you can buy today, with advanced features including Fuel Saver Technology, produces more specific power, and with greater efficiency, economy and dependability than the old 426 Hemi. To start your own legend, see your local Dodge dealer or visit Dodge.com.