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I personally have hear a lot about the engine, and know a lot about the engine, but would like to know what exactly made is so great.
 

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Airflow, and strength. It all comes down to that.
 

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Like most people, I don't know. But I want one. In a Challenger.
 

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FWIW Allpar has a pretty nice breakdown of the 426.

Because Allpar mentioned the 413 wedge (my brother-in-law had one in a Volare) I looked it up and discovered there was a 426 Max Wedge.
 

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I personally have hear a lot about the engine, and know a lot about the engine, but would like to know what exactly made is so great.
Primarily advertising. And the fact you are talking to a bunch of mainly Dodge fans. Go to the a Ford or Chevy site and you'll get a different greatest engine candidate.

I will agree with Pioneer4x4 that breathing and strength certainly helped the legend develop. I mean obviously it wasn't a crappy engine.

But the best engines from Dodge now -- the Hellcat/Demon engine -- are not hemi per se. They do not have the hemispherical combustion chamber.
 

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HEMI's are still the basis of all funny car and top fuel engines today. The heads were/are the trick.
If the rumor's are true about the 426 coming back........they would look and run awesome with aluminum "old style" HEMI heads.
 

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A hemispherical cylinder head ("hemi-head") simply allows an engine to make more power. It has an efficient combustion chamber with an excellent surface-to-volume ratio, with minimal heat loss to the head, and allows for two larger valves. Also, the hemi-head design places the spark plug at or near the center of the chamber to promote a strong flame front.

Although all manufacturers were familiar with multi-valve engines and hemispherical combustion chambers, adding more valves per cylinder, or designing the complex valvetrain needed for a hemispherical chamber were expensive ways of improving the high-RPM breathing of production engines. Chrysler solved this problem by canting the angle of the NASCAR-mandated two valves per cylinder, so that significantly larger valves could be used.
 

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Primarily advertising. And the fact you are talking to a bunch of mainly Dodge fans. Go to the a Ford or Chevy site and you'll get a different greatest engine candidate.
Agreed, I know Ford guys who would kill for a Ford 427 "Cammer" motor... Hell, even I would, I could sell it by a 426 Hemi (Gen II Real Hemi) and still have money left over.
 

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I guess the "Hemi" advertising works...I see more guys buying Harbor Freight Hemi 212cc engine (not emissions compliant in some state..cough..cough) vs the Wedge 212cc engine. ;)
 

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There are things that the Gen 1 & 2 Hemi actually aren't all that good at.
Fuel economy, maximum naturally aspirated power, and as-installed in street cars, longevity.

The hemi and cams with large amounts of overlap are not a great combination.

It was marketing and scarcity (supply and demand).
 

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Here an interesting fact. During World War II, Chrysler began testing and developing engines with hemispherical combustion chambers for aeronautical and military purposes. Chrysler worked with Continental to create the 1,792-cubic-inch AV-1790-5B V-12 in the M47 Patton tank. The monster of an engine put out 810 horsepower and 1,560 pound-feet of torque. The 1940s P-47 Republic Thunderbolt fighter plane used another example of the hemi engine. The XIV-2220 V-16 had pushrod-activated valves and a displacement of 2,200 cubic inches, and at 3,400 rpm it produced 2,500 horsepower. The engine also used 58.5-degree separation between the valves.
 

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Here an interesting fact. During World War II, Chrysler began testing and developing engines with hemispherical combustion chambers for aeronautical and military purposes. Chrysler worked with Continental to create the 1,792-cubic-inch AV-1790-5B V-12 in the M47 Patton tank. The monster of an engine put out 810 horsepower and 1,560 pound-feet of torque. The 1940s P-47 Republic Thunderbolt fighter plane used another example of the hemi engine. The XIV-2220 V-16 had pushrod-activated valves and a displacement of 2,200 cubic inches, and at 3,400 rpm it produced 2,500 horsepower. The engine also used 58.5-degree separation between the valves.
Those numbers were on gasoline only. The AVDS 1790 produced 750 H.P. (with slight variations) on diesel (boosted). This latter config was used on the M47, 48, 60, 60A1, 60A2 & 60A3. I served on all of these except the M47 and M60A3. The RISE engine (I believe) maintained the same H.P. rating, but I ETS'ed before that came into service. Gasoline was still being used on some M88 tank recovery vehicles into the '70's.

None of the WWII iterations of the M26 Pershing used the 1790 except the E2 & mainly as a postwar development, all earlier ones used the Ford GAF OHC design. Other WWII U.S. armor used variously the Chrysler A57 multibank flathead, the Ford GAF or the Conti radial engine. The GAF was Fords aircraft V12 design lopped down to a V8 for mainly Sherman use.
 

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Those numbers were on gasoline only. The AVDS 1790 produced 750 H.P. (with slight variations) on diesel (boosted). This latter config was used on the M47, 48, 60, 60A1, 60A2 & 60A3. I served on all of these except the M47 and M60A3. The RISE engine (I believe) maintained the same H.P. rating, but I ETS'ed before that came into service. Gasoline was still being used on some M88 tank recovery vehicles into the '70's.

None of the WWII iterations of the M26 Pershing used the 1790 except the E2 & mainly as a postwar development, all earlier ones used the Ford GAF OHC design. Other WWII U.S. armor used variously the Chrysler A57 multibank flathead, the Ford GAF or the Conti radial engine. The GAF was Fords aircraft V12 design lopped down to a V8 for mainly Sherman use.
I think you sunk my battle ship.
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Hemi 426 was a good street motor and it really came alive with serious effort put in by the guys who took 'em appart and tweaked them for MORE power.

How-ever.......if you are going to talk "Stock as delivered" from the manufacturer in a street car. I doubt you'll do better than a 427 L88 motor for as delivered power. Same can be said of it's all aluminum, stupid expensive clone, the ZL1 427.

These Rat motors were the very top of the street car food chain. Vince Piggins and Hot Rod Magazine got together with a Camaro in 6 cylinder trim complete with dog dish hub caps and ran down the 1/4 mile in the 11's with a power glide two speed automatic and nothing more than 8" wide slicks and a pair of crappy auto store headers un-capped.

That takes crazy big power to make happen with a 2 speed automatic. The same writer speaks of taking a turn at the wheel of a ZL1 Corvette with a turbo 400 trans and all day long "idiots" at the wheel were running in the 10s.

The debate will always rage on about who made the most power from their top of the line big Blocks back in the day but one thing is for sure......many of these motors were WAY MORE than they were advertised at.

Big Chevy, Dodge an even Ford motors from back in the day get the most debated arguments over what was fastest......yet here's something of a surprise from Pontiac......and it's 421.......in a big heavy Catalina.......the fastest 0-60MPH ever recorded at Car and Driver in the 1960s.

3.9 second 0-60MPH on Bias Ply skinnies in a TANK of car.......I don't care if the car was a "ringer" supplied by a well know performance car tuner Dealership called Royal Pontiac.......the bottom line is Tweaked or not that's a whole lot more than the advertised HP in a 421 Pontiac that gets that barge of car under 4 seconds from 0-60MPH on crappy ass tires.

The argument that the 426 Hemi was all conquering and without any peers is the stuff of legendary fantasy and distorted memories.........fact is ALL the Manufacturers with the obvious exception of AMC built srupid big horse power and none were capable of calling itself the clear winner as long as there were people willing to wrench on 'em all for every bit of power the factory left on the table to find.



From Car and Driver

The 1960s are known for muscle cars, and this decade saw zero-to-60-mph acceleration times plummet greatly from those of the previous decade. The quickest car from this time period was a full 1.3 seconds better to 60 than the top dog from the bobby-soxer epoch. Here are the quickest-accelerating cars from the kickin’ ’60s; the list stretched to 12 vehicles due to ties. Carroll Shelby would be very proud.


It’s worth a note that in the fast-and-loose ’60s, carmakers regularly sent magazines “ringers” that were far quicker than what someone could buy off a showroom floor, and they also often vastly underreported output figures. It’s also true that many buyers immediately souped-up their highly tunable cars, however, and individual cars differed much more than in the modern era, even from the factory floor-although usually not by as much as seen in magazine tests.


The times gathered here reflect what we published in the magazine, and they are the result of testing procedures that weren’t nearly as rigorous as they are now. We did leave out a certain 421-cubic-inch 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2, for which we reported a 60-mph sprint time of a blazing 3.9 seconds in our March 1965 issue, where we openly revealed that this particular car was “properly set up” by famed tuner Royal Pontiac. (Our reference test database, which includes more than 5700 vehicles, also omits this car because of its dubious nature.) Technical director Don Sherman, who first arrived at C/D in 1971, remembers Pontiac as being the most egregious of offenders who supplied us with ringers. Thanks, Jim Wangers!


Be sure to also take a spin through the quickest cars we tested in the 1950s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and in the 21st century so far.
 

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BTW------in the list of 12 fastest they tested there are HEMI motor powered cars but none made the top 4 spots......and none came even remotely close to that sub 4.0sec pontiac. #1 was a Ford powered Shelby with an obvious weight advantage and 0-60MPH 4.3 sec run.

12. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427 — 5.3 seconds (tie)
September 1969 Car & Driver

11. 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 302 — 5.3 seconds (tie)
July 1968

10. 1966 Plymouth Satellite 426 Hemi — 5.3 seconds (tie)
April 1966

9. 1964 Porsche 904 — 5.3 seconds (tie)
September 1964

8. 1965 Ford Mustang GT 289 — 5.2 seconds
October 1964

7. 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 426 Hemi — 5.1 seconds (tie)
January 1969

6. 1967 Ford GT40 Mark III — 5.1 seconds (tie)
June 1967

5. 1968 Dodge Charger 426 Hemi — 4.8 seconds
November 1967

4. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 — 4.7 seconds
May 1967

3. 1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO — 4.6 seconds
March 1964

2. 1963 Shelby Cobra 260 — 4.5 seconds
March 1963

AND THE # 1 Fastest 0-60 is no surprise…..

1. 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 — 4.3 seconds
November 1965
 
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