The Latest Teaser from Dodge and Mopar Hints at the Return of the 426 HEMI, aka "The Elephant"
It will be bigger than the V-8 on the Hellcatby Michael Fira, on
Mopar will release something big on October 30th, at least that’s what they say. We think they’re talking about the return of the famed 7.0-liter Hemi 426 — a model that was nicknamed ’The Elephant’ due to its size and power output.
The SEMA Show will be the stage where we’ll witness the unveiling of a new high-performance crate engine from Mopar. But we don’t really know all that much about the new unit, although the video posted by Mopar to build the hype is metaphorically referring to an engine of biblical proportions.
Is There a Hellcat-Smashing Hemi Engine Incoming?
Mopar Performance is teasing us these days with an intriguing 32-second video that’s meant to preview their next crate engine that will be shown off at the SEMA Show in just five days. The video doesn’t spare a word about the engine’s figures but fans and journalists alike are thinking Mopar wants to bring back the 7.0-liter ’Elephant’ engine from the ’60s and the ’70s.
The video itself shows a road surface with two flaming paw marks left behind. Then you can hear some loud banging noises and, out of nowhere, the two paw marks are crushed by huge round-shaped footprints which resemble those of an elephant. Everything is then covered by a white muscle car, which could be a Charger or even a Road Runner, which fills much of the screen and proceeds to do a loud and smoky burnout. The video ends with the message ’Something Big Is Coming’.
The video and the fact that Mopar will reveal it all on October 30th at 4:26 PM local time makes it fairly reasonable for us to think that what’s cooking is a new 7.0-liter crate engine like the famous, 426 cubic-inch ’Elephant’. We already know that FCA gave the green light to the Dodge Ram Rebel TRX and that it will be powered by a 7.0-liter V-8. It aims to hunt down Ford’s F-150 Raptor but it won’t be around until 2022. That 7.0-liter engine could be this elephantine one.
To put it into a bit of a historical context, the original 426 Hemi was known for its size, its weight and, last but not least, its power.
Think about it, this new engine will be heftier than the 6.2-liter supercharged unit that fits under the hood of the Hellcat, and that engine will also be available in the Ram Rebel TRX.
The original Hemi 426 was created with racing in mind. In 1964, at the Daytona 500 when this engine had its racing debut, Mopar dominated, finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Nascar was spiked and promptly introduced a rule that imposed manufacturers to produce several thousand of the engines used on their stock cars and sell them to customers.
The 426 Hemi featured the raised engine block design of the updated B-series engines and obviously came with Hemi heads. In 1994, talking to Mopar Magazine, Tom Hoover, who co-engineered the 426 alongside Don Moore, said that "We knew with the power level we could expect, we could provide performance and win races for minimum expenditure. You could continue to hone and evolve the Wedge forward, but the results would be limited. The cost-effective way to make a real impression at Daytona was to take advantage of the A311 Indy program background, and adapt it to the race ‘B’ engine."
While it continued to be used in Nascar, and other forms of motorsport throughout the ’60s, Chrysler made the engine available for B-body, road-going models from 1966 onwards. It developed 425-horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 490 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm with a pair of four-barrel Carter AFB carburetors. It had hemispherical combustion chambers because "with this, we can bring the spark plug into the center of the chamber, which is an excellent position for the spark plug [and allows] excellent breathing of the air past the valve seat. This combination of the excellent breathing, of the inlet and the exhaust makes for a very high volumetric efficiency of the engine," according to Willem Weertman, Chrysler Chief Engineer at the time.
The engine received some updates during its lifetime but, due to high costs, stringent emission laws, and insurance-related issues, it was no longer available by 1972.
However, the popularity of the 832-pound engine has kept on growing over the years and it is now very sought after. Indeed, only 155 ’Cudas and Darts were equipped with the 7.0-liter engine in 1968. In total, less than 11,000 ’Elephant’ engines were ever made.
Until October 30th, all we can do is wait to see what cars will be able to fit the new super-size engine - and whether or not it will be able to fill the elephant-sized shoes of the original.
Read our full review on the 1970-1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda.
Read our full review on the 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
Read our full review on the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi.
Source: The Drive