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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 1968 Super Stock Cars

The most awesome application of the 426 drag Hemi came with the introduction of the 1968 Hemi Dart and Hemi Barracuda. The Woodward Avenue garage had seen some wild Hemi-powered prototypes built there, and conversations often drifted around the garage of stuffing the 426 Hemi into Chrysler's two smallest cars—the A Body Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda—for use in Super Stock class drag racing.

"Dick Maxwell was a fundamental champion of the Hemi A Body," Hoover says. "I can remember at the time I argued thatweshould keep the Hemi in the B body because that's where we sold to people, but I'm glad that Dick prevailed because by many standards, they are the world's nastiest, meanest production cars that people could go out and buy."

The 1968 Super Stock program was the most ambitious Chrysler had undertaken up to that time, but the procedure for getting corporate approval and funding was the same as previous race-car programs.

"We usually had to get sales division approval to do something like this," Maxwell says. "The race group at that time was in product planning. The first thing we would do was go to the product planners and sign them up in supporting the program. Then, we'd go to our leader. Bob Rodger, and get him behind it, and then the sales divisions and sell them on it, which wasn't hard because there was so much enthusiasm for racing in those days and drag racing in particular because of the muscle-car boom. We were doing so well in that market. Once we had that done, it was a matter of scraping up money—which was sales di-vision money—to pay for the program."

Since the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda had similar chassis and body dimensions and clearances, it was felt only one prototype needed to be built. A Barracuda was selected as the mule and shipped to the Woodward Avenue garage. Bob Tarrozi was the mechanic and engineer who first worked out all the calculations on paper, then went about extensively modifying the car to drastically reduce its weight while strengthening the car to deal with horsepower and torque levels the A-body was never designed to handle.

"That car," says Maxwell, "was the mule—the test car. Everything was worked out in that car, and the purchase order contract was let to Hurst Performance, which opened up a facility up in Hazel Park and built the cars for us."

Stock Barracudas and Darts were shipped to the Hurst facility where the cars were modified and the 426 drag Hemi installed according to Tarrozi's manual that had been compiled from the prototype. The cars were left in grey primer so the racers could add their own color scheme. Dodge and Plymouth cranked up the public relations mill, getting the word out about Chrysler's new drag cars.

"We had no trouble selling those cars," Maxwell remembers. "We originally scheduled fifty of each, and we had so many orders we went back and built twenty-five more. We built seventy-five of each. I don't remember what the prices were but they were pretty reasonable, and they could be ordered through the dealers."

 


 
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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.