Why is the 5.7 or 6.1 not a "real" Hemi? - Dodge Challenger Forum: Challenger & SRT8 Forums
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:01 AM
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Why is the 5.7 or 6.1 not a "real" Hemi?

At a car show on Saturday an older gentleman stopped by my car to take a look. He commeted that we were in the same class and told me he had a 1933 5 window Plymouth. We went over to look at it and he informed me that he had the "real" Hemi, a 1955 392 version, in his car.

I've been hearing for a couple of years about how we don't have a "real" Hemi and it's kind of getting on my nerves. I held back though until another older man walked up and started talking smack about how the new Hemi's were not "real" Hemi's.

I finally just blurted out, "So why is the current generation Hemi not real?" They looked at each other with almost confused looks and stumbled around for an answer which never came. Then I asked how much power the 392 was putting out. The owner replied that it dyno'ed at 325 hp. To which I responded that the new Hemi was rated at 425 hp. Then I asked again, "Why is the current gen Hemi not real and why would I prefer the older Hemi?" Neither could come up with an answer but one of them finally said "Well, the 392 is the original Hemi", which I will accept, but not that it's any better or that the current gen is not "real".

I kind of felt bad for them but also felt better that I finally stood up for the current gen Hemi. Enough is enough already.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:16 AM
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The reason most don't consider the GenIII a true Hemi is the combustion chamber shape. The Hemis from 51 to 71 have a combustion chamber that looks like half a tennis ball, which is where they got "Hemispherical Head" or "Hemi Head" to become Hemi for short. Our cylinder head while retaining some of the shape is not a true Hemispherical combustion chamber.....realistically the GenIII head is much,MUCH more efficient than the original Hemi.

Heres a true Hemi combustion chamber....


Here is the GenIII


All that said the 2 motors are similar in a lot of ways and differ in just as many.

Last edited by Hemi31; 11-01-2010 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:26 AM
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If you run into them again you can also tell them their 392 was not the original Hemi the 331 Hemi was.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:32 AM
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Hahaha.....the first Chrysler Hemis were Fighter Aircraft engines in the 40's ......There have been companies using the chamber design since the early 1900's........Chrysler copyrighted the "Hemi" name in the 60s......They were Firepower V8's,RedRams and Firedomes in the 50's.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:40 AM
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Hemi31 hit the nail on the head. If you look at the original hemi design, it had only one spar plug at the top of the hemispherical head. With the generation III heads, 2 spark plugs are present and in order to accomidate the second spark plug, the hemispherical design had to be modified slightly resulting in the semi-hemispherical chamber.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by SSX View Post
"Well, the 392 is the original Hemi", which I will accept, but not that it's any better or that the current gen is not "real".
Hmmm..., I guess he must have forgotten about the 1951-56 331 HEMI with 180 hp or the 1956 354 HEMI with 280 hp, or the scads of other Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge/DeSoto HEMIs that came out before his 392 in 1957. The 392 might be the last of the GEN-1 "Early HEMI", but being the first generation doesn't make it the best.

1951 HEMI...180 hp
1957 HEMI...325 hp
1966 HEMI...425 hp
2011 HEMI...470 hp (SAE net!), over 20 mpg, with a/c

Bragging about having a GEN-1 HEMI is like bragging about having GEN-1 cell phone. Neat conversation piece, but everyone in the room would rather have the more advanced, more powerful, more valuable model.

"Yeah, your SRT Challenger is ok for a new plastic car, but my '51 DeSoto has a real HEMI!"......
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:00 AM
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To quote the guys from Horsepower TV "Anybody who says its not a real HEMI needs to get a real life." The modern HEMI is just a more complicated and efficient design that evolved from the engine that preceded it. It has far more in common with the 426 HEMI than with wedge engine designs (spark plugs through the valve covers, two large opposing valves, domed pistons). The combustion chambers are hemispherical, allthough more complicated than the gen 1/2 HEMI's.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:06 AM
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Its really an academic discussion - the Gen III heads are more closely related to a true hemispherical chamber, especially when you compare the in-line valve layout in a wedge-shape chamber that the other makes use in their pushrod engines.

The fact is a true hemi head has a lot of quench area that would allow incomplete combusion and wouldn't pass emissions standards that was an issue in the early 70s and is the case today as well.

Today's Hemi shape is flattened out a bit more and we have an "open" combusion chamber that is a cross between a pent-roof and hemishperical shape, but we still have the dual rocker shafts and opposed valve layout...that to me is the hallmark of the HEMI head layout - the opposed valves and their ports make for an efficient layout.

GM's 2-valve heads (pushrod engines) only approach our power output by increasing discplacement...the GM 5.7 engines didn't go beyond 350hp and then GM went to 6.0-6.2L and beyond for more power.

The Mopar Gen III heads breathe well in stock form and we see net crank HP and torque values and MPG efficiency you'll never get with the older designs.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Hal H View Post
Today's Hemi shape is flattened out a bit more and we have an "open" combusion chamber that is a cross between a pent-roof and hemishperical shape ...
Yeah, what he said.

Our engines are not truly hemispherical. More of a semi-hemi. That's what they were eluding to.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:37 AM
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I get a kick out of the old-timers.

The 50s Hemi's were good in their day - but even when you factor in the B / RB engines and the '66-'71 Street Hemi, it beat them out. The mileage was nothing to write home about, but then .18-.23 /gallon gasoline didn't factor in so much.

Look at what the gross hp was and the smaller displacements of todays (at net ratings) - not even the same.

I wouldn't want 6-7 mpg and the crummy driveability of a carbed engine...fuel injection couldn't come fast enough for me.

I hated dealing with carbs and Chrysler's stock chokes were awful on cold startups (the Holley electric chokes worked waaay better).

Remember how most any Mopar & automatics stalled from a stoplight or stop sign on cold mornings once you got on the gas again? I most certainly do!
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