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fnfalman
05-06-2005, 07:39
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Columns/articleId=105526

By Joe Oldham

Hemi Hype: It Ain't What It Used to Be
05-05-2005

I have to laugh every time I see one of those Hemi-powered Mopar muscle cars sell at an auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The poor sap making the purchase congratulates himself on his wise investment. After all, he didn't buy just a car. He's invested in a coveted objet d'art, one of only 11 such objects ever built. And who knows how many have actually survived?

What's never discussed, though — not by the buyer, not by the seller, and certainly not by the know-nothing commentators broadcasting the auction — is why Chrysler only built 11 Hemi 'Cuda convertibles in 1971. Or why it only built two Hemi-powered '66 Dodge Coronet four-door sedans.

I know why.

Because they were lousy cars and nobody wanted them then. How do I know? Because from 1964-'74, I was a writer for Hi-Performance Cars, Supercars Annual, Speed and Supercar and other publications produced by Magnum-Royal Publications in New York City. It was my job to track test, street race and photograph all the muscle cars of the '60s and early '70s. I lived through the muscle car era, not as a consumer but as an industry insider with every conceivable hot car at my disposal.

And I can tell you this without equivocation: Chrysler muscle cars were terrible. I used to dread it when the boss, Marty Schorr, used to assign me to pick up some Mopar and do a story on it. Yes, I actually dreaded having to drive Mopar muscle cars, especially Hemi-powered cars.

Granted, the 440-powered wedge cars ran very well. They had excellent low-end torque and could hold their own on the street with anything out of GM — GTO, 442, Gran Sport, SS-396 (Ford was a nonentity on the street until the 428 CJ Mustangs came along in late 1968). But as cars, the Mopars were crude compared to GM — cheap upholstery, pieces of plastic falling off, carpeting that didn't lay flat, etc.

The Hemi? Hemi-powered Dodge Coronet R/Ts and Superbees, Plymouth GTXs and Road Runners and Mopar models with this engine were even worse. They compounded poor fit and finish with an engine that would barely run on the street and weighed almost 200 pounds more than the wedge. That's right. The Hemi engine, as it came from the factory in showroom stock condition, would barely run on the street.

Hey, it wasn't the engine's fault. Let's face it. It was a race engine, introduced in 1964 to do one thing — win races in NASCAR and NHRA competition. Did you ever look at a Hemi cylinder head? The ports are the size of a Los Angeles sewer. The valves look like New York City manhole covers. And it had two huge four-barrel carbs sitting on top of it. The engine was designed to run at full throttle on a track at 6,800 rpm. As such, it developed zero low-end torque.

Then in 1968, things got worse with the addition of the first emission controls — retarded ignition, leaned-out carburetion, air pumps. When you punched the throttle down on the street, the Hemi coughed, sputtered and choked. Literally.

Chrysler knew this, too. That's why in 1970 it introduced a much milder profile camshaft. But aside from that change, the rest of the engine was essentially the same.

Performance on the street was pathetic. And we said so in print many times. So did other magazines. We ran several Hemi-vs.-wedge comparison tests back then and the wedge car always won. Even Hemi fanatics had to give ground on the engine's performance. Of course, today, over 30 years later, all these cars have been overrestored and many of the engine's faults have been sorted out and corrected.

With all the negative press, it's no wonder hardly anyone ordered Hemi-powered cars — unless they were going to race it on a track. Street rats stuck with the 440 wedge and rightly so. It was $800 less than the Hemi and ran better. Why would you want a Hemi?

The sales figures tell the story with crystal clarity. Only 14 Hemi 'Cuda convertibles were built in 1970. That included two for the East and West Coast press fleets. So only 12 people actually ordered such a car in 1970. If Chrysler had orders for 20,000 Hemi 'Cuda convertibles in 1970, don't you think it would have built them? You're damn right it would have. The same holds true for all the other weirdo Mopar engine-body combinations you now see at auctions selling for gazillions.

When I drove these cars back then, I was just doing a job and they were just cars, not revered rarities valued by collector fanatics as more valuable than Faberge eggs. Hey, there's one born every second.

Of course, if someone wanted to give me one….

CZ-75A
05-06-2005, 09:35
Originally posted by fnfalman
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Columns/articleId=105526

By Joe Oldham

Hemi Hype: It Ain't What It Used to Be
05-05-2005

I have to laugh every time I see one of those Hemi-powered Mopar muscle cars sell at an auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The poor sap making the purchase congratulates himself on his wise investment. After all, he didn't buy just a car. He's invested in a coveted objet d'art, one of only 11 such objects ever built. And who knows how many have actually survived?

What's never discussed, though — not by the buyer, not by the seller, and certainly not by the know-nothing commentators broadcasting the auction — is why Chrysler only built 11 Hemi 'Cuda convertibles in 1971. Or why it only built two Hemi-powered '66 Dodge Coronet four-door sedans.

I know why.

Because they were lousy cars and nobody wanted them then. How do I know? Because from 1964-'74, I was a writer for Hi-Performance Cars, Supercars Annual, Speed and Supercar and other publications produced by Magnum-Royal Publications in New York City. It was my job to track test, street race and photograph all the muscle cars of the '60s and early '70s. I lived through the muscle car era, not as a consumer but as an industry insider with every conceivable hot car at my disposal.

And I can tell you this without equivocation: Chrysler muscle cars were terrible. I used to dread it when the boss, Marty Schorr, used to assign me to pick up some Mopar and do a story on it. Yes, I actually dreaded having to drive Mopar muscle cars, especially Hemi-powered cars.

Granted, the 440-powered wedge cars ran very well. They had excellent low-end torque and could hold their own on the street with anything out of GM — GTO, 442, Gran Sport, SS-396 (Ford was a nonentity on the street until the 428 CJ Mustangs came along in late 1968). But as cars, the Mopars were crude compared to GM — cheap upholstery, pieces of plastic falling off, carpeting that didn't lay flat, etc.

The Hemi? Hemi-powered Dodge Coronet R/Ts and Superbees, Plymouth GTXs and Road Runners and Mopar models with this engine were even worse. They compounded poor fit and finish with an engine that would barely run on the street and weighed almost 200 pounds more than the wedge. That's right. The Hemi engine, as it came from the factory in showroom stock condition, would barely run on the street.

Hey, it wasn't the engine's fault. Let's face it. It was a race engine, introduced in 1964 to do one thing — win races in NASCAR and NHRA competition. Did you ever look at a Hemi cylinder head? The ports are the size of a Los Angeles sewer. The valves look like New York City manhole covers. And it had two huge four-barrel carbs sitting on top of it. The engine was designed to run at full throttle on a track at 6,800 rpm. As such, it developed zero low-end torque.

Then in 1968, things got worse with the addition of the first emission controls — retarded ignition, leaned-out carburetion, air pumps. When you punched the throttle down on the street, the Hemi coughed, sputtered and choked. Literally.

Chrysler knew this, too. That's why in 1970 it introduced a much milder profile camshaft. But aside from that change, the rest of the engine was essentially the same.

Performance on the street was pathetic. And we said so in print many times. So did other magazines. We ran several Hemi-vs.-wedge comparison tests back then and the wedge car always won. Even Hemi fanatics had to give ground on the engine's performance. Of course, today, over 30 years later, all these cars have been overrestored and many of the engine's faults have been sorted out and corrected.

With all the negative press, it's no wonder hardly anyone ordered Hemi-powered cars — unless they were going to race it on a track. Street rats stuck with the 440 wedge and rightly so. It was $800 less than the Hemi and ran better. Why would you want a Hemi?

The sales figures tell the story with crystal clarity. Only 14 Hemi 'Cuda convertibles were built in 1970. That included two for the East and West Coast press fleets. So only 12 people actually ordered such a car in 1970. If Chrysler had orders for 20,000 Hemi 'Cuda convertibles in 1970, don't you think it would have built them? You're damn right it would have. The same holds true for all the other weirdo Mopar engine-body combinations you now see at auctions selling for gazillions.

When I drove these cars back then, I was just doing a job and they were just cars, not revered rarities valued by collector fanatics as more valuable than Faberge eggs. Hey, there's one born every second.

Of course, if someone wanted to give me one….


Old news. The Hemi was a race engine and most folks in the know bought them as toys to race for money, pink slips, or both. GM fuel injection from the late 50s also ran badly if you weren't prepared to make adjustments as soon as the weather changed.

More old news - drag cars like the Hemi were often sold on narrow rims that couldn't hook up. It was expected that the new owner would tear the car apart anyway, so why bother with anything worthwhile?

Mopar is synonymous with a terrible car with a hot engine.

fnfalman
05-06-2005, 10:39
I think that the guy is just trying to enlighten the younger generation on the old Hemi engines and the cars that they were sold in. Frankly I would prefer the Chevy 454 or the Ford 429 Cobra Jet over the Hemi back in its day. The Chevy and Ford big blocks were more reliable, that's for damn sure.

Rikki
05-19-2005, 06:14
I guess you are right- but, so what? I still remember Wig Everhart's Dodge with the pistol grip shifter, and Mike Dunham's '70 Dodge Challenger. MAN did we have fun crusin' in those cars..
HEY! you're such an expert on "HEMI'S"...Tell us who Eldon Palmer was and what he did with a Hemi...

Geeorge
05-20-2005, 05:46
Originally posted by Rikki
I guess you are right- but, so what? I still remember Wig Everhart's Dodge with the pistol grip shifter, and Mike Dunham's '70 Dodge Challenger. MAN did we have fun crusin' in those cars..
HEY! you're such an expert on "HEMI'S"...Tell us who Eldon Palmer was and what he did with a Hemi...

eldon was the only person ever to wreck a Indy 500 pace car pulling back into the pits after starting the race.And it wasn't a hemi car;g

STANMAN
05-21-2005, 00:01
FN touting a domestic brand? He would rather have a CJ or a 454? Where is your loyalty to eurotrash? Would you rather not have a piece of eurotrash from back then?

Oh, and a Hemi would spank a CJ or 454. Go to your local drag strip and watch the classic stock class. You'll see. Don't expect to see much eurotrash though, unless it's current stuff.

spanky99l
05-21-2005, 23:44
i'll take my lightning over a ****box of a truck with a hemi

here hemi hemi hemi

lol

Will

STANMAN
05-22-2005, 12:47
How about an SRT-10 against your Lightning? Or let the hemi owner slap a supercharger on his hemi. I don't think you would like that though. Lightnings are nice trucks, but lets compare apples to apples.

spanky99l
05-22-2005, 22:42
sure bring it.


srt10's are slow pieces of **** and are over rated.

Will

fnfalman
05-23-2005, 09:16
FN touting a domestic brand? He would rather have a CJ or a 454? Where is your loyalty to eurotrash? Would you rather not have a piece of eurotrash from back then?
------------------------------------------------------------

I would rather not have a piece of Eurotrash from any era. But I would definitely like to have a nice Ferrari California V12. I think that it will let all of the Hemis and whatnots sniff its exhaust rather handily, wouldn't you say?

engineer151515
05-23-2005, 09:42
I've owned a couple MOPAR 70's era muscle cars and driven even more. Roadrunners, Superbirds, Chargers, Cudas, Dusters.

I can't disagree with most of the article.

That doesn't take away from the legendary status. People vote with their wallets.

I've always argued that a 440 (especially the 440- 6 pak with three two-barrel carbs) was a better engine than the 426 Hemi for the E-bodies (Cuda/Challenger). The engine weighed 200 lbs less (on an already nose-heavy design) and the narrower engine configuration did not convolute the exhaust piping for superior "breathing".

And the interiors, well - hope you liked black vinyl. And you better put a towel on that before you have your girlfriend in the swimsuit sit on it. YEEOOOOWWWW!


Anyway, I still have 440 Shaker Hood Plum-Crazy Cuda on my computer Desktop - gorgeous car. But I wouldn't knock myself out to own one again. They were heavy on gas and heavy in the turns. Even with the 340 - just felt like a heavy car when you got into the turns. Drum brakes front/back that faded. Stock wheels of the day were relatively narrow, performed poorly and were even dangerous in the rain. Nothing quicker in swinging your butt to the front than hitting the gas pedal on a rainy day in a Cuda. Newer sport car designs are superior in almost every way. Car and Driver couldn't get their 1970 440 Challenger to perform 13's in the 1/4 brand new.

All that said, I go to musclecar shows and still remanence.

:)


Desktop Image


http://img172.echo.cx/img172/5547/acfc90c5ru.jpg

Ramtuff
05-23-2005, 11:08
Originally posted by spanky99l
sure bring it.


srt10's are slow pieces of **** and are over rated.

Will

;Q

engineer151515
05-23-2005, 14:09
Not a Hemi - but a better overall performance package with the 340 - 6bbl

http://www.fast-autos.net/plymouth/aarcuda5.jpg

One Ragged Hole
05-26-2005, 10:47
In High School my girlfriend's uncle had a Charger with a Hemi. It was a drag car, pure and simple. Single ring pistons (NOT stock) dual 4's, 4 Caddy mufflers, the works. It snorted, bucked, smoked like crazy, jumped up and down and was VERY hard to drive on the street. When it got up on the cam though, you'd better be pointed in the right direction. I still can smell the Sunoco 260! It was a genuine 10sec ride.
O-R-H

STANMAN
05-26-2005, 22:48
Originally posted by engineer151515
Not a Hemi - but a better overall performance package with the 340 - 6bbl

http://www.fast-autos.net/plymouth/aarcuda5.jpg


Although the Challenger T/A's and AAR Cuda's were great performer's, don't put them against Hemi cars, they will get eaten alive. Put a stock 4 barrel 340 against a 383 car though, and you'll see one pissed big block owner, lol. Trust me, I have had 2 340 cars, and there was not a stock 383 (my 340's were stock) that could keep up.

STANMAN
05-26-2005, 22:50
And another thought. Is there a car as good looking as the E body Mopars? I don't think so. The 1st gen Camero comes close, so does the 69 1/2 Charger, but man, those Challengers and 70-74 Cuda's are just in a class by themselves!!

proactive
06-03-2005, 09:57
Originally posted by spanky99l
sure bring it.


srt10's are slow pieces of **** and are over rated.

Will


For your reading pleasure:

http://www.trucktrend.com/roadtests/pickup/163_0407_forddodge/index5.html


http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/comparison/articles/102037/article.html

I'll give you this: The Lightning is hands-down the better value in the comparison (you'll have 12,000-15,000 left in the bank for mods or guns). I've seen both get smoked by one another at the strip and on the internet (driver error or not, it seems like a coin toss between the two). I'm a big fan of the Lightning myself, but to call the srt-10 a "slow piece of..."? Lets be real here.

proactive
06-03-2005, 09:58
PS sorry for the hijack.

streeter69
06-03-2005, 13:33
Originally posted by proactive
For your reading pleasure:

http://www.trucktrend.com/roadtests/pickup/163_0407_forddodge/index5.html


http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/comparison/articles/102037/article.html

I'll give you this: The Lightning is hands-down the better value in the comparison (you'll have 12,000-15,000 left in the bank for mods or guns). I've seen both get smoked by one another at the strip and on the internet (driver error or not, it seems like a coin toss between the two). I'm a big fan of the Lightning myself, but to call the srt-10 a "slow piece of..."? Lets be real here.

I feel the same for 12-15G's saved. You could add those into mods to be faster;f
Don't get me wrong, Dodge made some awesome vehicles. I loved my buddies 440 6pack coronet.
I wish Ford would build the Lightening again
;+ ;D

G22 Kid
06-11-2005, 04:01
Dude, Mopars kick ass!

I got a '70 Challenger myself, with a small block 360. I've emabarrassed plenty of big blocks...

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/481505

And on the Hemi, they kick ass, if you know what your doing.

My dad has one, and he has 440s too.

I like em all.

G36.45
06-12-2005, 11:31
People can't seem to grasp that the Hemi wasn't intended to be a street car. It was only sold that way to satisfy the racing organizations at the time.

The E-bodies with the 340 and 440 were set up for the street and would wallop a stock Hemi car stoplight to stoplight. Take the gloves off with a Hemi car and give it traction and exhaust as well as RPM and it wasn't even a contest.

JohnH
06-12-2005, 14:04
G36.45, you are absolutely right! In pure street trim, the 340s ruled the day; just a lot easier to launch. But that was true of most of small block muscle cars as compared with the big blocks. My sister dated a guy who had Hemi GTX that was routinely defeated by lesser cars. Having said that, I think the wedge engines were superior to the Hemi. Chrysler muscle cars may have been the ultimate street machines, but the build quality was lousy.

G22 Kid
06-12-2005, 21:07
;z

Build quality lousy? I've worked on every make from the '60s and '70s and they were all the same imho. I don't know what your talking about.... ;f

Asha'man
06-15-2005, 16:16
Originally posted by engineer151515
Not a Hemi - but a better overall performance package with the 340 - 6bbl

http://www.fast-autos.net/plymouth/aarcuda5.jpg

That picture was taken at my local track (Bandimere Speedway). :)

I'm a late-model Ford guy, so I have nothing more to contribute.

Brian

ALLAN
06-15-2005, 21:48
Originally posted by spanky99l
sure bring it.


srt10's are slow pieces of **** and are over rated.

Will

My money is on the Lightning. ;a

My dad and grandfather had a 69 Roadrunner 440/4 speed. To bad I was only like 10 when they had it. They sold it and kept their 70 Torino 429 CJ's.
At the strip the roadrunner would win, but on the highway the Torino's would walk away.
I wish they would have kept those cars.:(
We still have a 4 speed from that roadrunner though.

SouthernRaider
06-16-2005, 15:40
Driving down the road one day about 5 years ago in the armpit of the south Pine Bluff, Arkansas I see an orange 70's era 'Cuda coming up fast. It was really clean with the Hemi stickers on the back and every thing. I figure it's a small block car he's done up to look like a Hemi car. I roll down the window at a light and ask the middle aged guy driving if it is really a Hemi car. He says yes. I ask him why he would ever drive the car in a town with such a high rate of non-insured motorist. He says he just cannot leave the thing in the garage. Then the light turned green.

FAST.

I've never seen two tons of steel leave a light like that car did. I later met the man. The car is all original. He is the second owner.
The car would not be replaceable.

Never know what you'll see when you leave the house in the morning:cool:

indytruckboy
06-17-2005, 05:16
For the record.......
My good friend worked at Ray Barton Racing Engines as a engine builder. What?! Never heard of them? Do a search. THE biggest name in aftermarket Hemi Motors. Crazy stuff you could only dream of. Anyway, before Dodge came out with their Hemi they sent the new heads to RBRE to get a thumbs up. They got paid so of course they gave a thumbs up. But my friend told me that they are BARELY hemi heads. Dodge just wanted the name to boost sales to the masses of suckers. Look at a elephant motor from 69 and a new hemi. The old ones had valve covers that were aprox. 15-16 inches wide. The new ones are are aprox. 6. So spread the news. Poop. Nothing but a bunch of poop. I have driven a new hemi and they do scoot pretty good. But dont believe all the hemi hype.

G22 Kid
06-17-2005, 23:59
You don't have to work for Ray Barton to understand the similaraties.

That's a hemi motor. IT's just updated. IT's all in the head design and the way the piston is quenched to the head. Look at some cuttaways and notice the similarities yourself

The new hemi engine is a much more efficient street motor. No way they could stuff a 426 original style hemi in a new car with fuel injection and expect it to pass EPA regulations...