TITLE: Muscle Car Used Car History Vehicle History Report at Auto Lemon - Used Car History Check

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426 RACE HEMI

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > 426 RACE HEMI

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GTO 1964-1967

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Hemi

 

 



The 1964 Daytona 500

February 23,1964, dawned cool but sunny. As the stock-car fans filled the stands, there were countless discussions and bets as to who would win the race and what make would take the checkered flag. The qualifying races gave the best indication and determined the starting line-up. Out of a starting field of forty-six cars, the first seven positions were Dodges or Plymouths.

Paul Goldsmith held pole position in his Plymouth Belvedere. Next to Goldsmith was Richard Petty in his number 43 Plymouth. Junior Johnson was in third position, driving a Dodge Coronet. Bobby Isaac was in fourth, also driving a Dodge Coronet. In fifth position was Buck Baker behind the wheel of a Belvedere, as was Jim Pardue in sixth position. David Pearson was in seventh, driving a Dodge Coronet. Jim Paschal was in tenth position driving a Coronet. The race program stated these cars were powered by "Chrysler Corporation's Hemispherical Combustion Chamber Maximum Performance Engine."

The miracle had happened. Every one of these cars was powered by a new, heavy-wall Hemi engine. The race teams had done their part in making the engine changes the day before the start. Chrysler, and the teams, were ready to race.

Ronnie Householder, Chrysler's director of stock-car racing, was in the pits, making sure the pit crews had the needed fuel, tires, parts—and spare 426 Hemi engines. As the official 12:30 pm start of the race approached, the field of cars began their pace laps.

"Ev Moeller and I were in the stands across from the pits," Bill Weertman smiles. "They started off and I don't know how many laps it was, maybe twenty-five or fifty laps, [when] the cars came into the pits and the hoods went up! We just about died. That was a sign that you've got trouble. What happened was there was so much paper and debris on the track, that it was being sucked up and plastered on the front of the radia-tors, and the engines were overheating. What they had to do, of course, was get all this stuff cleared off the radiators. Down went the hoods, off they went onto the track, and they really dominated the race."

That day racing history was made and a legendary engine was born. Three hours and fifteen minutes later, Richard Petty was first across the finish line followed by Jim Pardue and Paul Gold-smith—a one-two-three sweep by Plymouth. Jim Paschal was fifth, seconds behind the leaders. Junior Johnson was ninth. Hemi cars set a new average speed record of 154.334 mph.

"Ford had had a major ad campaign with the slogan, 'Total performance,'" Troy Simonsen remembers fondly. "Within days after taking first, second, third and fifth at Daytona and having dominated that race, everybody here, on the teams, in the lab and in public relations was wearing a little button that said,'Total What?'"

Chrysler president Lynn Townsend was jubilant. Chrysler had not only won the most prestigous stock-car racing event in NASCAR, it dominated the top finishers. Townsend immediately looked for other fish to fry, and looked to Indianapolis. He called Bob Rarey into his office.

"'We've wiped those guys out of Daytona, now let's wipe them out of Indianapolis. Build an engine that will take care of them at Indianapolis,'" Rarey remembers Townsend telling him. "So we designed a small-displacement Hemi engine. Townsend came to me and said, 'I've just gotten the cost figures on this thing. We're going to go racing with those guys, but it's going to cost $7 million. You've got to tell me what our chances are to win.' I said, 'I don't know what kind of a racer you are or how many races you've been to, but if you've ever seen an Indianapolis race, there are thirty-three cars in the race and some of them don't make it through the first turn. I would say since there are thirty-three cars in the race and we have two of them in there, we'll have about a one in sixteen chance.' And he said, 'For seven million dollars, we're cancelling the program.' So, we never built that one.

 


 
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426 RACE HEMI

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > 426 RACE HEMI


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TITLE: Muscle Car Used Car History Vehicle History Report at Auto Lemon - Used Car History Check

Cars Directory : Auto, Automobile, Automotive, Car, Cars, Vehicle, Vehicles, Used Cars, New Cars, Used Car, New Car Price

Site Description: Car Consumer Reports and Consumer Guide on automobile, brake, buying car, car care, car cost, car safety, cooling system, drivetrain, electrical, exhaust, emission, fluid check, fuel system, ignition system, lubrication system, suspension and steering. Offers Free VIN Check, VIN Check

Cars Topics: car consumer reports on automobile, brake, buying car, car care, car cost, car safety, cooling system, drivetrain, electrical, exhaust, emission, fluid check, fuel system, ignition system, lubrication system, suspension and steering.