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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

 

 



Twin-Cam and Aluminum Hemis

Chrysler did not sit still with the 426 Hemi's development. The corporation rightly surmised GM and Ford would redouble their efforts to beat the Hemi.

"After the first several races [in 1964]," Simonsen recalls, "Ford made a major drive and improved their performance of both the engines and the cars, and from then on out, the races were pretty much competitive."

One of the designs intended to improve the 426 Hemi was the A925 engine program. This was a double-overhead-camshaft design with four valves per cylinder. A prototype was built, and although it never ran in Chrysler's dyno labs, this prototype served an important purpose.

"Ford went down to Daytona for 1965 with their racing engine," Rarey says, "which wasn't a Hemi exactly but was darned near, I guess. They said they wanted to race that against us. Ronnie Householder went into Bill France and said, 'Hey, look fellows. If you run that Ford engine, we're running this engine.' He takes the cover off it and shows the four-valve Hemi. This engine had a sixteen-branch intake manifold. It was unbelievable. France just said, 'As of now, the Ford engine isn't running and neither is that.' We eliminated the Ford competition with that one engine."

Unfortunately, the NASCAR ban on the Ford single-overhead-cam 427 and Chrysler double-overhead-cam 426 Hemi also extended to the 426 Hemi they were currently racing. Although Ford and Chrysler filed protests. Bill France did not waiver. Chrysler withdrew its factory support for the 1965 season. Ford, however, took advantage of the void left by Chrysler and opted to race its mass-produced 427 ci Wedge-head engine. Many Dodge and Plymouth stock-car drivers, faced with the NASCAR Hemi ban, shifted their efforts to NHRA, AHRA and USAC (United States Auto Club) sanctioned events in 1965. Richard Petty, for example, raced a Hemi-powered Barracuda in B/Altered.

One of the Hemi engine programs that did see the light of day was the A990 program, originally an offshoot of the A864 Hemi program. Ways of reducing the weight of the 426 Hemi for drag racing were studied. Bill Weertman made his first entry regarding the program in his monthly progress report dated June 2, 1964: "A reduction in power plant weight has been effected by use of aluminum and magnesium parts." In his progress report of July 29, 1964, he wrote: "The first aluminum cylinder head was cast on July 24. The cast was almost perfect with only one small area of porosity. Changes to eliminate this porosity are being made. Additional castings will be made on July 28 and July 29,1964."

In August 1964 the lightweight 426 Hemi engine program officially received the A990 designation. The new parts included aluminum cylinder heads, oil-pump body, oil-pump cover, water-pump housing, water-outlet elbow and alternator bracket. The intake manifold was cast in magnesium. The aluminum heads were first cast by Alcoa and later by various small foundries around the country, one of which was Ross Foundry in Ohio. The magnesium intake manifold was cast in California and the machining was performed by Keith Black.

Other changes for the A990 Hemi included increasing the exhaust branch manifold outside diameter from 1.88 to 2.00 in., and the switch from Carter to Holley carburetors.

In his progress report dated August 25, 1964, Weertman announced the production schedule: "The production volume of this engine will be 210. The production build schedule is: First Car— 11-16-64; Last Car—1-8-65."

After the first A990 was run by the dyno lab, only four minor changes were necessary for production to begin. These were use of copper head gaskets instead of steel, thicker head bolt washer, longer head bolts to accommodate the thicker washers and increased length of the chrome plating on the valve stems.

The A990 Hemi was installed in some of the wildest factory-built drag cars ever offered by a major car manufacturer. The most radical Chrysler offering to date was built for the Altered/Factory Experimental and Ultra/Stock classes. Dodge shortened the wheelbase of its Coronet by moving the front wheels and rear axle forward for vastly improved weight transfer. The hood, doors and trunk lid were made of fiberglass. Dick Landy was among many of the drag-racing greats who bought and raced these cars.

"Those cars," Mancini recalls of the A/FX drag cars, "turned out to be a little bit too light. We had taken a lot of strength out of the car when it was acid-dipped and as a result, on a very hard acceleration you could actually bend the car. So we had to go through another program to strengthen the car with a rollcage and a couple of bars underneath."

With Chrysler absent from the high-banked ovals for the first half of 1965, Bill France was once again faced with a dominant factory presence—in this case, Ford. He contacted Henry Banks, director of competition for USAC. The outcome of their discussions was a NASCAR bulletin released to the press on June 15. The joint agreement covered rule changes affecting both sanctioning bodies for the remainder of 1965 and 1966. The rule changes pertaining to NASCAR were: "(1) A minimum weight limit of 9.36 Ibs. per cubic inch of displacement for a car ready to run with a full load of fuel, oil, and water. For example: a car with a 427 cubic inch engine must weigh 4000 Ibs. (2) The Hemi engine will be permitted on NASCAR tracks of over one mile in the 1965 Dodge 880, and 1965 Dodge Polara. All 1964 Dodges competing on these tracks must use the wedge-type engine. (3) The Hemi engine will be permitted in the Plymouth Belvedere and the Dodge Coronet on all USAC and NASCAR tracks of one mile and less and road courses."

France and Banks also announced that in 1966 a joint committee composed of USAC and NASCAR officials would categorize all American production cars. The four categories were standard, intermediate, compact and sports. For 1966, intermediate-size cars, such as the Plymouth Belvedere and Dodge Coronet, would be permitted to race on oval circuits of more than one mile with a 405 ci limit. In a statement that seemed directed at the Chrysler 426 Hemi and Ford sohc 427, Banks said, "One of the objectives of the committee will be to eliminate the high cost/low volume engine from competition."

This was a moot point. Chrysler had already decided to make the 426 Hemi available in Dodge and Plymouth passenger cars for 1966. Consequently, the Hemi wasn't eliminated from competition, but it did have to conform to the displacement-reduction rule.

To meet these new rules, Chrysler started the A117 program. This Hemi had a shorter 3.558 in. stroke requiring a new crankshaft and longer connecting rods with 7.174 in. center to center. Displacement was 404 ci. To offset the inev-itable loss of power, the two key areas studied were the intake manifold and camshaft timing.

 


 
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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.