If you can't read it, it says, "Yeah, it's got a Hemi". What other motor has such a reputation that this statement strikes fear in the hearts of speeders everywhere? Just mention "Hemi" to any carguy and they'll have an imagine of a fire breathing performance car. There is no other engine anywhere that has had a reputation like that and has had it for over 45 years!
Hemi's first were used in Dodge and Plymouth production cars starting in 1966. Were they an expensive option? In Canada how about $1200, not that bad, until you realize that the base car cost about $4000 before the Hemi was added. Now that's an expensive option and back then you didn't get an upgrade to a fancy model, you just got a 426 cubic inch motor. This was an extremely rare engine.
I can even remember the very first one I ever saw in 1966. I grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick which was hot car deprived, since there just wasn't that much money around town. I was coming out of my grandfather's house and a blue '66 Charger drove by and ol' eagle eye spotted the 426 badge on the front fender (it was like the one above and you can just make out the badge). I was so excited, I rushed home to tell my big brother that I had seen a Hemi. Can't remember when I saw another one, maybe I never did, but that was the magic this engine created.
I can still remember an ad that featured drag racer Don Garlits commenting on the Hemi. He said, "It idles like a coffee can full of rocks......" and this was a positive comment!
When they brought the name back on the new Charger and 300C, it still had the magic (hence the licence plate frame above), even though it was definitely not the same motor. Great marketing. The modern interpretation was still potent - I had a 300C and that engine just wouldn't quit. Hit the gas at over a 100 kms per hour and it took off. Try doing that with most 6 cylinders.
Other uses for a Hemi? How about this Hemi grille..........
.......definitely a waste of a good motor, but a fun pic.
By the way, I've put the licence plate and frame from the state police car above on the model the car modelling cat and I are finishing up. I'll post a pic when we've finished it.
Until next time........