Street Hemi 426
Due to the high demand from performance enthusiasts to produce a street version of a race Hemi, Chrysler started developing a street legal set up for its Plymouth and Dodge products. Chrysler couldn’t use the Hemi engine since the nature of the 426 Hemi didn’t mesh with its restrained, luxurious brand image. However, for the lower-priced Dodge and Plymouth brands, this engine was the perfect addition to their lineup and a strong attention-getter.
They presented the street version of the mighty 426 Hemi in 1966. It featured a four-barrel carburetor and a lower 10.5:1 compression ratio with the same basic block and heads as the race variant. The factory rated the 426 Hemi at 425 HP but it was clear the engine produced more. In fact, most historians agree the real output of the 1966 to 1971 street Hemi was over 500 HP.
Such power required a heavy-duty suspension, frame and gearbox as mandatory options. Today, those original Hemi cars are extremely expensive and rare. This is because they only produced about 10,000 original 426 Hemi engines from 1966 to 1971. Chrysler stopped production in 1971 since the Hemi was not compliant with the newly-introduced emissions standards.
They also installed Hemi engines in numerous racing cars and racing boats. In fact, they even put them in a few models of other small manufacturers, such as the Monteverdi Hai 450. Due to enormous power and tuning ability, car fans consider the Hemi 426 the most legendary engine of all time.