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426 STREET HEMI

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > 426 STREET HEMI

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Selling the 426 Street Hemi

With all the excitement surrounding introduction of the 426 street Hemi, the automotive magazines couldn't wait to get their hands on a 426 Hemi Charger, Coronet, Belvedere or Satellite. Car Life was one of the premier high-performance car magazines during the muscle-car era and tested a Hemi-powered 1966 Plymouth Satellite with Torque-Flight automatic transmission. The per-formance figures were 0-60 mph in 7.1 sec. and the quarter-mile was covered in 14.5 sec. at 95 mph. However, a 1966 Plymouth Satellite powered by a 325 hp 383 ci V-8 bolted to a TorqueFlight was just as quick to 60 mph. It was only at the end of the quarter-mile that the Hemi showed its abilities. In elapsed time, the Hemi-powered Plymouth was the fastest car that Car Life tested in 1966. But clearly, the Hemi was hamstrung with Blue Streak street tires and a closed exhaust system.

Bert Bouwkamp has an amusing story of a private test of a new Hemi-powered Coronet.

"When I was Chief Engineer for Dodge," Bouwkamp remembers fondly, "I got a request to host Tom McCahill of Mechanix Illustrated at the proving grounds with a 1966 Dodge Coronet Hemi convertible. This was to be a picture session. Itwasn't to involve any high speeds, so there was no ambulance like we normally have. After driving it around and having pictures taken, Tom said he wanted to take it around the oval. He wanted the pictures to show just himself in the vehicle.

"So, his associate set up the camera and Bob Ludwig and I were standing on the side. The first time Tom came by we thought he was going pretty fast. The next time we knew he was wide open. He made three or four laps. Bob Ludwig was extremely upset, because this wasn't supposed to happen. But when the magazine came out, our public-relations people were really happy because there was a yellow band across the cover that read, Tom McCahill tests the world's fastest convertible at 144 miles per hour.' It was a wonder the top didn't blow off, it was ballooning so much."

Advertising for performance cars in the sixties was a genre that has not been duplicated since. Some of the most clever ad lines, ad copy and graphics made up the advertising of the era to draw the youthful buyer and the young at heart.

An ad promoting the 1966 Charger also featured the 426 Hemi. It pictured a Hemi-powered Charger at speed, with "Boss Hoss" and then a picture of the 426 Hemi below. The ad read in part, "Dodge Charger with a big, tough 426 Hemi up front makes other steeds look staid. Both for show and go. Charger looks beautifully quick just standing still. And the optional Hemi V-8 supplies a kick to match, with 425 muscular horses. Not a pony or a kitten in the bunch. The hot setup? You bet."

Over the next two years. Car Life tested two other Hemi-powered Mopars. In 1967, they tested a Boss Hoss Hemi Charger, again equipped with a TorqueFlight automatic transmission. The car reached 60 mph in 6.4 sec. and covered the quarter-mile in 14.2 sec. doing 96 mph through the timing lights. Top speed was 134 mph. The 1967 Hemi Charger had the lowest ET and the highest top speed of all the cars the magazine tested that year.

In 1968, Car Life tested a 426 Hemi Plymouth GTX. Performance was nearly identical to the Charger tested the year before. With TorqueFlight automatic transmission, the GTX took 6.3 sec. to reach 60 mph and covered the quarter-mile in 14.0 sec. doing 97 mph through the lights. Top speed was 144 mph.

In 1969, Popular Hot Rodding tested a pair of Chargers—one with a Torque-Flight and the other a four-speed manual transmission. The automatic car covered the quarter-mile in 14.01 sec. at 100 mph. By advancing the ignition and removing the air cleaner, the car reached the end of the quarter-mile in 13.75 sec. at 104 mph. The Hemi Charger equipped with the four-speed manual did much better. The ET was 13.60 sec. at 107.44 mph. And this was with a 3.23 Sure-Grip rear end and vehicle weight of more than 4,100 Ib.!

In 1970 Chrysler rebodied the Plymouth Barracuda and introduced the new Dodge Challenger to the pony-car wars. Both of these handsome E-bodies were designed from the outset to accept the 426 Hemi. Road Test magazine tested a 1970 Challenger R/T with 426 Hemi, four-speed manual transmission and 4.10 Sure-Grip differential, for the June 1970 issue.

"It takes courage to specify the Hemi option in a Challenger," the editors wrote. "You must face a drive-train warranty foreshortened to six months, a whopping $1,227.50 increase in the $2,953 list for a basic Challenger V-8 to cover the Hemi and its mandatory related accessories, insurance and operating costs matched by no other U.S. nameplate except maybe a Hemi Plymouth and the certainty that no fuzz will let you pass by unnoticed.

"In return, you get power that can rattle dishes in the kitchen when you start it up in the driveway, extra attention in any service station, respect from owners of 428 Fords and SS427 Chevys, a measurable bonus in pride of ownership and immediate status as the car expert on your block."

Road Test recorded a quarter-mile ET of 14.0 sec. at 104 mph. In summary, the editors wrote, "If brute power over all other considerations is your forte, the Hemi is still boss on the street and if you'll note what most people put under a supercharger in Top Fuel Eliminator, it's boss on the strip as well."

Perhaps the most distinctive Hemi-powered car Plymouth ever built was the Hemi 'Cuda, introduced in 1970. It wasn't a distinct model in the new 'Cuda line that year, but when you ordered the 426 Hemi in your 'Cuda it was identified as such on the standard shaker hood scoop with "hemicuda" on the sides of the scoop. The rear quarter panels re-ceived subdued graphics with the word Hemi as additional identification. It was the only Mopar during the 426 Hemi's production between 1966 and 1971 where Hemi was used in the name of the car. Despite being an option in the 'Cuda, the ads for the Hemi 'Cuda gave the implication of being a distinct model.

One ad showed a 1970 Hemi 'Cuda in a field of psychedelic-colored flowers. Then there was the famous Bob Grossman airbrush illustration of the Hemi 'Cuda that appeared as a two-page spread. The car was shown in caricature, a typical Grossman technique with the accompanying line: "The Rapid Transit Authority." The ad stated, "It's Hemi 'Cuda. Our angriest, slipperiest-looking body shell wrapped around the' King Kong hisself." Not many supercar ads caught your attention like this one.

 


 
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426 STREET HEMI

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > 426 STREET 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.