Chrysler's Mopar, the iconic service and parts division that became synonymous with big and powerful V8 engines, is this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary Gen II 426 Race HEMI V8 engine.
Despite the weight of fifty candles on the 426’s birthday cake, the big HEMI ruled the drag strip for decades and can still be found in many of the championship Top Fuel dragcars today.
The racing version of the Gen II 426 HEMI debuted at the 1964 Daytona 500, taking Richard Petty to a dominant victory.
The engine dominated Nascar racing during the 60s and 70s, famously powering Petty's Dodge Charger and the amazing Plymouth Superbird.
“Mopar is proud to mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Gen II 426 HEMI, a revolutionary engine that inspired a long line of quality products in our brand’s portfolio,” President and CEO of Mopar, Pietro Gorlier, said.
“The 426 HEMI is such a vital part of our heritage and a key ingredient in helping make Mopar what it is today. The success of the Race HEMI launched a unique brand of sought after muscle cars that had fans began to refer to as Mopars, and that is something we are very proud of.”
The engine’s identifying signature was an elephant logo, originally designed to signify its 426 cubic-inch size (7.0 litres), power and strength
Mopar has created a commemorative version of the logo in the engine’s trademark orange colour to celebrate the milestone, along with a range of special 50th anniversary merchandise.