The Hemi is arguably the most iconic American V-8 in competition history. Employing a talented team of engineers, Chrysler refined the hemispherical combustion chamber design and created an engine that produced towering performance. Whether the Hemi was installed in a Charger, Super Bee, Baracuda, Superbird, or any number of other cars, the engine dominated in NHRA, NASCAR, and other forms of competition. And in a production car, the Hemi also became one of the most feared engines on the street. Author Geoff Stunkard retraces the fascinating Hemi competition history and covers the big wins, many championships, and key developments in the engine's life. First, he delves into the development and racing exploits of the first-generation 392-ci Hemi. And gives you a behind-the-scenes retrospective of the mammoth effort and resources that went into developing the 426 Hemi. In eight months, Al Ekstrand, Tom Hoover, and other engineers took the 426 Hemi from drawing board to racetrack. In NHRA competition, the triumphs and challenges of Don Garlits, Dick Landy, Sox and Martin, and other drag racers are recounted. In NASCAR competition, the 426 Hemi debuted at the 1964 Daytona 500. Richard Petty qualified second, lapped the entire field, and won the race. By the end of the 1964 Grand National season, Hemi-powered cars amassed 26 race victories. NASCAR stars, such as Richard Petty, Bobby Isaac, and David Pearson, piloted the 426 Hemi-equipped Charger 500, Charger Daytona, Plymouth Superbird, and other Chrysler stock cars to many victories and championships. In addition, the Hemi set speed run records and closed-course speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This engine powered many classic cars and took many drivers to the winner's circle and into the history books. The racing triumphs of Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dick Landy, Don Garlits, and countless others are brought back to life in the pages of Hemi: A History of Chrysler's Iconic V-8 in Competition. This comprehensive Hemi racing history with never-before-published information is a must-have for Mopar and racing fans.
In the fiercely competitive world of NASCAR, every manufacturer was looking for a competitive edge. Ford and Chrysler turned their attention to the aerodynamics of their race cars, resulting in a brief era affectionately called the Aero Wars. During the height of this competition, Chrysler and Ford produced, among other things, cars with radically altered grilles and tail sections. Mandated by series to produce production versions, these exotic beasts became some of the most costly, creative, and collectible machines ever assembled in Detroit, whether in race trim or in stock street trim.Author Steve Lehto gives a thorough and detailed account of the history of this battle that culminated with the final wars between the Ford Talladega/Mercury Cyclone and the Dodge Daytona/Plymouth Superbird. The story of Richard Petty's defection from Plymouth, the mighty Hemi, and the creation of the street version of these cars all come to light in this all-encompassing tale of Chrysler climbing the ladder to NASCAR supremacy.Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird: Design, Development, Production and Competition delivers a blow-by-blow account of the biggest races between FoMoCo and Chrysler, along with telling the rich stories of the development of these cars. If you are a fan of NASCAR, or just love outrageous muscle cars, this richly detailed and well-illustrated account of a fascinating era of performance will be a valued addition to your library.
The muscle car era, and the era that immediately preceded it, are a unique window in time; it is one that we will not likely see again. Post-war USA was a place where people wanted to move on from the horrors of conflict, to embrace an era of peace, and to pursue, well, all sorts of things. A whole generation was entering a new prosperity, with home ownership on the rise, gainful employment increasing, the building of suburbs, and a new interstate system connecting everyone. That all helped increase our dependence upon, and in turn, deepen our love affair with the automobile.