Race Hemi 426
Chrysler stopped producing the first generation Hemi engines in the late ’50s due to the rising costs of production and somewhat delicate mechanics. Due to their performance potential, early Hemis, especially the 392 V8 were popular with racers. So, in the early ’60s when Chrysler wanted to go racing, their engineers proposed a new, second-generation Hemi. It would have improved mechanics, bigger displacement and most importantly, lots more power.
In 1964, the race Hemi 426 was not a street-legal engine but in fact, a racing motor. It had 12.5:1 high compression heads and a special intake system and manifold, as well as a new 7.0 liter block featuring 426 CID of displacement. They intended the new race Hemi 426 for use in drag racing and NASCAR racing. Depending on the application, the power was from around 500 HP to over 800 HP.
Different championships had different propositions and regulations, so for NASCAR, the intake was limited. But, for NHRA drag racing, lots of racers used fuel injection and multiple carburetor set up, so the power levels varied. However, the new race Hemi 426 was a clear winner as soon as it came out in 1964.