This Week From The Archives: Baby HEMI® Is Born

In 1953, Dodge received its first V8 engine when the Red Ram HEMI® hit production. Measuring just 241 inches and churning out 140-horsepower, the Red Ram HEMI® was one of Dodge’s smallest offerings at the time but it was also one of the most impressive. During its inaugural year, the Red Ram HEMI® dominated the Bonneville Salt Flats from the engine bay of a ’53 Dodge Coronet, setting over 100 land speed records.


Thanks to this proven ability to perform and its compact size, the Red Ram HEMI® gained an almost instant popularity with enthusiasts and was affectionately dubbed the “baby” HEMI®. Today, this crucial piece of Dodge history remains a favorite amongst hot rodders and restoration pros alike and is still capable of killing the competition.


  • Flames T.

    RLD, Great stuff, traces Mopar domination to the beginning of the hi-performance era…keep up the great articles….

  • SUBLIME

    OK, now it all makes sense…ram tough. The small little motor was tough enough to beat anything on the street. If the name didn’t catch on with the cars then slap it on the trucks. And yes it worked. That is back when the marketing guys knew their stuff.

  • HEMIhead

    Love the “HEMI”! Whatever you do, don’t lose your heritage!

  • 440

    Never,ever lose your heritage !!! HEMI Forever !!! I want a new Dodge with the gear reduction starter of the old days !! I love the sound of starting my old Mopar’s !!

    Dodge used the name Ram on its early engines alot..Red Ram was what Dodge called their engines in the 50′s and 60′s ,even non Hemi’s were called Red Ram in the 50′s and in early 60′s !! The 1960 318 (wideblock) was called a Red Ram and made alot of torque,thats why Mopars always destroyed its competion back then torque rules !! In 1960 Chrysler had a 413 Cross Ram ,and in ’62 Dodge had a 426 Ram Charger engine,so the name Ram has alot to do with Chrysler engine names..

  • RUTH ESPARZA

    I am a Chrysler fan, I will always be one. How do I know? Every time I see a beautifull car, or one that gets my attention, without fail,it always turns out to be a Chrysler- Dodge.
    I recently made the mistake of my life. I got into a debt, with a car that does not excite me in the least,not even because it is a new car. We will not go into discussing it. The weird thing is that there was a used car in the lot, and i even test drove it. It was a Caliber, The car sales man told me Chrysler was soon, not to exist. How I wish, oh, how I wish i had not done that deal.

  • hemi64

    i just got me a 54 241 red ram and its going in my 64 dart

    • Char

      what exactly is a Red Ram?