Chevrolet has its big blocks, Ford has its Cobra Jet and Chrysler has the Hemi. For over six decades, the Hemi engine has been the top of the line option in various Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Imperial models. Seeing the Hemi is a sure sign you have considerable firepower under the hood. Even if you are not familiar with car terminology, the name “Hemi” certainly rings a bell.
So, what is the infamous Hemi, anyway?
The secret of the Hemi is in its cylinder heads that have hemispherical combustion chambers; thus, the name. Although such a solution wasn’t new or unique in the car industry, Chrysler was the company to perfect it and make a brand out of it. The hemispherical combustion chambers patent has several advantages.
First and most importantly, the Hemi engine burns fuel more efficiently, producing more power and a higher rev line than ordinary engines. Due to better flow in the cylinder heads, the Hemi engine can include forced induction without structural modifications to the engine head and block.
All of this means that the Hemi engine is the holy grail among car collectors. Even today, when there are modern Hemi engines, they are still prestigious powerplants. So for that reason, here is a list of the 18 best and most memorable cars they produced with this glorious motor under the hood.
Chrysler New Yorker
Even though Chrysler introduced the Hemi engine in 1951, it wasn’t until 1954 that it became a hot item. That was when the engineers at Chrysler managed to produce 235 HP. At that time, people considered that to be ludicrous power. Chrysler installed the Hemi in the elegant and restrained New Yorker.
In fact, the 331 Hemi V8 proved to not only be fast and durable, but also a record breaker. When Chrysler entered the special 24-hour endurance run with the 1954 New Yorker, it managed to average 118.8 mph over 24 hours of nonstop driving. This highly publicized achievement proved to be a perfect marketing tool for promoting Chrysler’s performance.