Tag: Chrysler

The Mod Top, Chrysler Corp’s 1969 Appeal to Female Buyers, Makes an Interesting Collectible Today – Bill Rothermel @Hemmings

The Mod Top, Chrysler Corp’s 1969 Appeal to Female Buyers, Makes an Interesting Collectible Today – Bill Rothermel @Hemmings

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Mad, Mod Mopar

Kim Barnes has a memory from her youth, of riding her Sears Sting-Ray-style “banana seat” bicycle past Friedman Chrysler-Plymouth in Des Moines, Iowa. There, in the showroom, was a yellow Mod Top Barracuda. About a block away was Des Moines AMC, which had a red, white, and blue Hurst SC/Rambler in the showroom. “I was obsessed with both cars, especially the yellow Barracuda,” she recalls.

Like other seven-year-olds of that time, Kim was a big fan of The Partridge Family and she collected Partridge Family trading cards. At the same time, she secretly collected trading cards of her favorite automobiles, too. “I had one of the yellow Mod Top Barracuda, as well as a blue Satellite Mod Top, in my collection,” Kim says.

One day, Kim rode by the dealership and the Mod Top Barracuda was gone. Her obsession with the unusual car continued. She certainly had no idea at the time, but a yellow Mod Top Barracuda would become part of her automotive stable nearly 50 years later.

These photos from the GM Historical Archives show us that Chevrolet was giving thought to patterned vinyl roofs for the 1967 Camaro. Note the non-factory side exhaust.

Marketing specifically to woman buyers was nothing new. Dodge toured a pair of concept cars in 1954 called Le Comte and La Comtesse —specially modified Chrysler Newports with glass roof inserts. While Le Comte was finished in “masculine” colors, La Comtesse was painted Dusty Rose and Pigeon Gray—ostensibly to appeal to women.

Response was favorable and Dodge offered the La Femme, based on the Custom Royal Lancer, as a midyear “Spring Special” in 1955. It was finished in a Heather Rose and Sapphire White exterior color combination, while the interior was upholstered in cloth featuring pink rosebuds on a silver-pink background, with pink vinyl trim. Included was a fully accessorized keystone-shaped purse, along with a matching raincoat, rain bonnet, and umbrella.

Considered a sales success, La Femme returned for the 1956 model year, this time in Misty Orchid and Regal Orchid. The interior was quite lavish, with a unique white cloth highlighted by purple and lavender, a special headliner with gold flecks, and loop pile carpeting in various shades of purple and lavender. Once again, a raincoat, rain bonnet, and umbrella were included (but no purse) for the 1956 model year. Sales numbers were never reported but it is estimated that some 2,500 cars received the $143 option over two years.

As built, Kim’s car came with the optional Floral Accented Interior, which carried the theme to seat inserts and door cards; the Barracuda Sport Package, with its three-spoke steering wheel; and the Rallye dash

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The wonders of the Chrysler Norseman lie shipwrecked in the Atlantic – Jeff Peek @Hagerty

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Chrysler Corp. archives

In the late-night hours of July 26, 1956, about 40 miles off the coast of Nantucket Island and nearing the end of its transatlantic journey from Italy to New York, the luxurious ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collided with another ship in heavy fog. Fifty-one people were killed, a number that would have been much higher had the Doria not remained afloat for 11 hours before it slipped below the water’s surface to its final resting place.

Considering the loss of life, less attention was given to the cargo that went down with the ship, but Chrysler Corporation quickly crafted a press release, matter-of-factly sharing the details of an “idea” car—the Norseman—that had been lost while making its way to America from Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Ghia.

Calling the car’s pillarless design “revolutionary,” the press release acknowledged that the Norseman “must be considered a complete loss.” And then, oddly, Chrysler shared that the car was “covered by insurance.” The New York Times reported that the automaker invested $200,000 into the project, the equivalent to $2.1 million today. What Chrysler didn’t say in its press release was that it could never recoup the time and effort that went into creating the four-door hardtop sedan: 50,000 hours of research and labor, two years in design, and another 15 months to build it. All gone, thanks to the the unfortunate confluence of bad weather and certain regrettable decisions.

SS Andrea Doria

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

The SS Andrea Doria was a source of great national pride when it was launched in 1951. Named for a 16th-century Genoese admiral, it was considered the largest, fastest, and (supposedly) safest of all Italian ships when it took its maiden voyage in January 1953. The opulent 29,100-ton ship had a normal capacity of 1200 passengers and 500 crew, and it had successfully completed 50 transatlantic voyages when it left the port of Genoa on July 17, 1956—with 1706 on board—and headed west to New York City. In an odd coincidence with the more famous RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912 during what was to be Captain Edward Smith’s final turn at the helm before retirement, Cpt. Piero Calamai was taking his final tour on the Andrea Doria before moving to its sister ship, the SS Christopher Columbo.

Nine days into the journey across the Atlantic Ocean and less than 300 miles from New York, dense fog made it difficult to see beyond the bow. Regardless, Calamai maintained a speed of more than 20 knots in the heavily trafficked area while the ship’s crew became completely reliant on radar.

MS Stockholm

Meanwhile, the MS Stockholm, having recently left New York for Sweden, was fast approaching in the same shipping lane, heading east. The Stockholm, less than half the size of the Doria but designed with a reinforced ice-breaking bow, was also operating solely by radar due to the heavy fog.

Both ships were aware of the other as they drew closer, but it was later revealed that the Stockholm’s radar was set to a different range, so the Doria was actually closer to the Swedish ship than its crew realized. Nevertheless, it was Doria Cpt. Calamai’s decision to turn his ship to port—not starboard, in accordance with maritime rules—that proved fatal. With both ships turning in the same direction, the Stockholm struck the Doria at an almost 90-degree angle.

Chrysler Norseman

Chrysler Corp. Archives

Below deck was the Norseman. Designed by Chrysler’s engineering division and built by Ghia, Chrysler claimed the concept “incorporated more structural, chassis, electrical, and styling innovations than any other ‘idea’ car every designed by Chrysler.”

The automaker’s press release added:

“Although the car was intended to have as great structural strength as today’s automobiles, it had no posts or pillars to support the roof. This was accomplished by means of structural cantilever arch, which curved upward from the rear of the frame and over the passenger compartment of the car.

“Glass surrounding the passenger compartment was uninterrupted, with the exception of the two arches of steel curving upward in the rear. In addition, there was a 12-square-foot panel of glass in the rook that was power operated and slid forward, leaving the roof over the rear seat open.

“All major body panels on the car were made of aluminum, as a result of research in advanced structural techniques to reduce weight. It had a sharply sloping hoof, unswept tail fins, and a covered, smooth underbody for aerodynamic efficiency.”

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Disassembling our 1993 Jeep XJ engine – Hagerty

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Last week you saw us pull in our most recent shop addition, a 1993 Jeep XJ with a 4.0L. Davin got it all pulled out and this week he wasted no time tearing into it. Things went fairly quickly as the pieces flew off this straight-six. Davin had his detective hat on as he uncovered a little more about this engine with every bit removed. You never know what you’re going to discover.

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Which $20,000-or-Less Malaise-Era Four-Door Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Like a kid in a candy store, we’re zipping our way around a vast, virtual car market that is the Hemmings Classifieds. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re circling around to a specific asking price point between $10,000 and $20,000, this time rounding up four-door hardtops and sedans from the 1970s that are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We’ve mentioned this plenty of times before, but for those new to this game, the good news about a $20k cap is that it offers options in good condition (even in our inflated market). So, given the money and space, which one would you take home?

1973 OLDSMOBILE NINETY-EIGHT LUXURY SEDAN

With exception of the Toronado, Oldsmobile’s Ninety-Eight (or, 98) continued its reign as the division’s top-of-the-line series for 1973, now offered in five body styles, including this four-door Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan. Bested in fine accoutrements by only the Ninety-Eight Regency, the hardtop’s lengthy listed of standard features included – but were not limited to – a 275-hp 455-cu.in. engine, Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, bench seats finished in “luxurious Bravo cloth with Morocceen trim” upholstery, windshield antenna, and more, all strapped to a 127-inch wheelbase chassis that cost $5,234 (or $34,335 in today’s currency). Olds built 21,896 four-door Luxury Sedans that year, making it the second most popular car within the Ninety-Eight series. From the seller’s description:

Talk about Old School Cool, once you see it, you won’t be able to walk away. Often turned into low-riders, or used for cruising or hopping, this car has the potential for it all. However, it’s perfect as is… a car that your Father drove and swore it was the best car ever. Finished in Honey Beige with Black 60/40 cloth upholstery, the looks are sure to get the town talking. Drive this one home now, it’s ready to go, in close to perfect condition. Solid body, chassis and drive train. Everything works and was a central part of an estate collection. Do you want to win car show trophies or just take the family out for an ice cream? Pile em’ and go. This car is an amazing drive that you don’t want to miss out on.

Price$18,500LocationCampbellsville, KYAvailability Available

1974 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER BROUGHAM SEDAN

Like the Olds Ninety-Eight, Chrysler’s New Yorker Brougham was bested only by the Imperial in terms of divisional luxury hierarchy by the time our featured 1974 four-door Brougham sedan was sold to its first owner. The Brougham’s mechanical DNA was identical to that of its base New Yorker sibling, meaning it was fitted with a 230-hp 440-cu.in. engine, TorqueFlite automatic transmission, torsion bar front suspension, power disc brakes, power steering, and 15-inch wheels, yet the Brougham also benefitted from the installation of power windows, plusher 50/50 front bench seat with additional arm rests, upscale trim, and a few other bits, all for a standard base price of $6,479 (or $39,099 in today’s currency). While pillared four-door sedans sold exceptionally well in the entry-level Newport and Newport Custom series, the pillared four-door New Yorker Brougham flopped: just 4,533 examples were built. From the seller’s description:

This highly desirable top of the line 1974 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham has only 50,500 miles! Highly optioned with the iconic big-block 440 four-barrel V-8, three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, working air conditioning, power windows, locks, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, vinyl top, factory AM/FM stereo, 50/50 power bench seat with dual armrests, etc. The body’s finished in Lucerne Blue Iridium, and is super straight rust free both top and bottom. All lights are in working order, the trunk trunk and engine compartment look like new. This car drives as good as it looks, and is guaranteed to draw attention. The 1974 models were the last full-size models Chrysler designed from the ground up, and one of the last to receive the big dog 440 V-8. Here’s your chance to own one at a very affordable price!

Price$12,950LocationMaple Lake, MNAvailability Available

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A Pared-Down Take on Upscale Luxury Marked Chrysler’s 1972 New Yorker Brougham – Mark J McCourt @Hemmings

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Was it a cause of Tom Wolfe’s “‘Me’ Decade” or a byproduct? By the early 1970s, the 1969 Volkswagen ad that had cheekily suggested Americans should live below their means felt out of touch. Really, we were worthy of indulgence, and near-luxury automakers like Chrysler were happy to oblige. More of everything would prove the trend of the decade, and from the early days, the New Yorker Brougham offered consumers a unique interpretation of middle-class luxury.

A 225-hp, four-barrel-carbureted 440-cu.in. V-8 with single exhaust was the default engine in the Brougham, while a dual-exhaust setup that added 20 horsepower was available. Chrysler’s proven three-speed A-727 TorqueFlite automatic was the sole transmission choice.

The Imperial line had all but been absorbed into Chrysler by 1972, those well-appointed flagship two- and four-door hardtops built alongside lesser models instead of on a dedicated assembly line and marketed in the same brochure. Their unit-bodies were long-wheelbase variants of the parent company’s standard versions and bore minimal styling differentiation. At the same time, Chrysler’s eponymous models were creeping upmarket; the New Yorker Brougham offered nearly as many lavish trimmings as a Cadillac- or Lincoln-fighting Imperial LeBaron, in a slightly smaller (but, at 224.1 inches long over a 124-inch wheelbase, a still-generous) package.

Chrysler treated buyers of its premium four-door hardtop to more comprehensive instrumentation than did many competitors; features like power windows were standard.

This New Yorker Brougham remained in the possession of its original owner until 1994, by which time she’d driven it fewer than 22,000 miles. It now displays just under 23,500 miles and retains all its factory-original finishes and features. “A couple of scratches have been touched up, but I’ve never found evidence that any panel has been changed. I just think it was a nice lady’s go-to-church car, and from what we can tell, it accumulated pretty minimal mileage,” Jeff Stork explains. “This Chrysler remained in North Carolina, we believe in collector hands, until we brought it to California in 2018.”

As curator of the 80-car-strong Prescott Collection, Jeff is the primary caretaker of the time capsule Mopar and others of its ilk. This collection specializes in postwar American automobiles, with a particular emphasis on these four-door hardtops that are typically overlooked by other collectors. He tells us they sought this car both for its pristine condition and for its individualist interpretation of American luxury motoring in that era. “We wanted a 1972 because it was the first year of the New Yorker Brougham, and the last year of the original styling statement, with the loop front bumper that was gone in 1973.”

“This car represents a very interesting moment in American automotive history. It was the Broughamization of America… the automakers were ‘going for baroque,’” Jeff says with a laugh. “Suddenly everyone had these luxury offerings with upgraded cloth interiors and vinyl tops. You could get this in midsize cars like the Cutlass Supreme, and even in what had previously been the low-priced three with the Ford LTD and Chevy Caprice. The automakers were reaching up to see how many profitable features they could offer. This car reminds me of Marcus Welby, M.D.; I used to watch that show when I was a kid, and Welby drove a blue one. He was a caring doctor, and this Chrysler exudes upper-middle-class respectability.”

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The Benefits of Bearing Down: My Career in Car Design – Rod Williams

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I was a car designer with Ford and Chrysler in the 1950s, a time of powerful, classic cars. What made my employment as a designer unique is that I was a 23-year-old farm boy from Millinocket with no formal art training, and in the U.S. Navy, at the time Ford hired me. I still had a year before my enlistment discharge a year later in June 1954. I began work at Ford just a few weeks later. At that time Ford, GM, Chrysler, and American Motors all had a hiring policy that required new designer applicants to be art or design school graduates. How did I manage to slip between the cracks? 

Back to the past. I was just a typical young car nut in my high school teens, and I was good at drawing, so I did just that, doing drawings of cars . . . mostly my own designs.  After graduating from high school, I wanted to continue in art and design as a professional career, but I could not afford to go to art school. However, when the Korean war broke out, the GI Bill benefits were re-instated.  I joined the Navy to obtain the college benefits upon my discharge in 1954.  

Unfortunately, I never got to use or need the benefits.  Ford Motor Company had made me a design job offer while I was still in the Navy. This unusual situation took place because a national car magazine published some of my car designs in an article titled “Dream Car Sailor.” During my Navy enlistment, I had continued designing cars in my spare time. This was the totally unexpected, surprising result of that spacetime activity. 

I began employment with Ford in July 1954, just two weeks after my Navy discharge. I began work in their Advanced Design Studio, which was composed of a dozen or more newly employed design school graduates.  However, I was not a design school graduate, the only one without that qualification. It was an exceptional opportunity, but it presented many challenges to my novice art and design talent. I quickly realized I was “behind the eight ball,” so to speak, and that it would be a daunting task to succeed, compete, and advance in the situation I found myself

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Which domestic performance car from 1957 would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Let’s open the floodgates of the American performance car debate, specifically when the first regular production examples emerged from assembly plants. While many will quickly give a nod to Pontiac’s 1964 GTO, others will suggest the bar was raised in a far different era. The Stutz Bearcat from the Teens is a perfect early candidate. So, too, is Buick’s Century, introduced in 1936: It was a true midsize car that made use of the larger Roadmaster’s more-powerful straight-eight engine; it was reportedly capable of hitting 100 mph under the right conditions. Then, of course, there was the 1949 Oldsmobile 88, featuring the high-output Rocket V-8 engine that tore up drag strips and stock car circuits alike. Was Hudson’s Twin-H powerplant, nestled in the Hornet, a more suitable candidate, or, perhaps, Detroit’s explosion of elaborate fuel induction systems in 1957? Let’s pause here and review a handful of arguably-muscular options from the year in our latest edition of This or That, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

It’s no secret that Chrysler Corporation set the NASCAR circuit on fire in 1955 and ’56, thanks to team principals like Lee Petty and Carl Kiekhaefer, the latter of whom amassed an astounding 52 wins as team owner, along with 52 poles and 139 top-10 finishes by 11 drivers in just a combined 190 starts–a NASCAR record at the time. At the dawn of the 1957 season, Kiekhaefer and his teams were gone, but not the powerful Mopars he loved to prepare for racing, such as this 1957 Chrysler 300C. Although the upscale and freshly restyled performance model was no longer a contender on the track – it went winless in ’57 – it was a winner at the dealership when 1,918 hardtops found new buyers, bolstered by the sale of 484 convertibles. The base price for each was $4,929 and $5,359 respectively (or $46,517 and $50,575 today), but that price also netted a standard 375-hp 392-cu.in. V-8 engine, its output made possible by a pair of four-barrel carburetors. According to the scant description provided by the seller of this hardtop:

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A Look Back at Vintage Auto Locks – Locksmith Ledger

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Until sidewinder locks and transponders appeared on the scene, automotive lock systems had remained unchanged for more than 60 years. The last big change in auto lock designs was probably the GM locking sidebar system and that first appeared on 1936 GM models.

Pin tumbler lock systems were popular during the 1920s with manufacturer names such as Yale, Sargent, Corbin, Russwin and Eagle leading the way. Wafer locks were used even before 1920. Early wafer-type auto locks used double-sided keys, but the use of bi-directional double-sided keys had to wait until 1965 when Ford introduced their double-sided pin tumbler lock systems.

Chrysler and Ford began using pin tumbler lock systems in the 1930s. During this same period, many of the smaller companies such as Nash, Hudson and Packard used Briggs & Stratton five tumbler wafer locks. With the exception of Chrysler locks, most car locks made from 1935 to 1970 had key codes printed somewhere on the cylinder housing. Aftermarket key manufacturers still produce key blanks for 95 percent of these old cars and key codes are readily available.

Ignition and door locks were generally keyed alike. Trunk locks and glove box locks were keyed alike but used a separate key code. Chrysler was the exception. A third key was used for locking Chrysler glove box locks which had a wafer lock with a 1098X keyway. Another exception was GM Chevrolet and Buick models in the 1950s. These two models used a key system with all locks keyed alike.

Chrysler

1933-34 Omega key blanks are no longer made, but every car key blank used since 1935 is still listed in the Ilco key catalog. Depending on the Chrysler model, Ilco 1199, 1199A, 1199AR,1199B,1199C,1199D,1199DR and 1199E were used from 1935-1938. Chrysler standardized on a “BP” code series using the Ilco X1199B keyway from 1939-1946. Chrysler used a “CA” code series from 1947-1948 but still used the X1199B keyway. From 1949-1955 Chrysler used a “CB” code series with the Ilco X1199G keyway. From 1956-1967 Chrysler used a “CJ” series with the Ilco X1199J keyway.

Some Chrysler models during 1959-1965 used a “CV” series, GM-type sidebar trunk lock with an Ilco 1759P keyway. Steel shafts on Chrysler T-handle locks in the late 1940s and early 1950s were notorious for separating from the die case handle portion. Chrysler models in the late 1950s used push button trunk locks. There were many different designs and sizes. Most were not made to be easily disassembled. Impressioning is the best choice when key fitting.

General Motors

GM experimented with a double-sided key system for 1934-1935 and key blanks are no longer made. From 1936-1966, GM used a six-cut sidebar lock system with Ilco key blank H1098LA and code series 8001-9499. A set of 60 tryout keys was available to unlock these sidebar locks. The ignition lock has a poke hole in the facecap. Turn the ignition counter-clockwise to the accessory position using a proper tryout key. Insert a pin or bent paper clip into the poke hole to depress the retainer, then turn the cylinder slightly further counter-clockwise and remove the cylinder. Key codes are stamped on the plug.

GM door locks from 1936 to 1949 used an exterior retainer clip which was located under the door weather stripping. Pry the retainer outward with a screwdriver and the lock cylinder can be easily removed. Key codes are stamped on the housing. GM changed to a pushbutton door handle in the 1950s which had the cylinder mounted in the push button. A large retainer hidden behind the outer weather stripping was used. After dislodging the retainer, the door handle can be removed. Key codes are stamped on the shaft extension.

While GM has used many different glove box lock shapes over the years, many of them have a similar basic design. Picking skill is required. The lock must be in the unlocked position. If it is locked, pick and turn the plug clockwise one quarter turn. Next, compress the locking bolt downward as far as it will go and simultaneously pick the plug clockwise one quarter turn. The plug can now be removed. Key codes are printed on the side of the lock plug.

In 1967 GM changed their lock system, adding one more depth and began using various lettered keyways. Key codes were stamped on lock cylinders until the early 1970s. After that time only the ignition lock contained a key code.

Ford

Model A cars were made from 1927-1931. One of the most popular keys for Model A vehicles is the Ilco C1098A. For some reason Ilco shows this in the General Motors section, but it is definitely only for Ford Model A vehicles.

Ford began using Hurd locks in 1932 and carried the same Ilco 1125H keyway through 1951. Various Dodge trucks also used the same keyway for many years. Several different code series were used such as FX, FW &FY. Fortunately Ford printed the code numbers on every lock, so Ford key fitting is not too difficult. Door locks were held by a set screw accessible on the edge of the door. Unfortunately these screws often rust in place, so removing a Ford door lock is always an adventure.

Ford was one of the first car manufacturers to use locking steering wheels. Vehicles from 1932-1948 used this system. The ignition lock is retained by a serrated pin located on the bottom of the steering wheel lock unit. Removal can be done by drilling a hole into the serrated pin and tapping the hole for 6-32 threads. Insert a long screw into the tapped hole, then attach a vise grip to the screw at a right angle. Hold onto the vise grip handle and hit the vise grip near the screw with a hammer, A few swift hits should dislodge the serrated pin. The ignition cylinder can then be removed for key fitting.

Many Ford locks had no shoulder on the front of the plug. A shim can often be inserted in the front of the cylinder and tumblers can be lifted with a pick as the shim is moved towards the rear. This system can also be used on Hurd padlocks.

The small pin size of Ford locks sometimes lead to quick wear and failure. To solve this problem Ford changed to a sturdier key system for 1952-1956 (Ilco 1127D). Ford again changed keyways for 1957-1966 and added various grooves. An Ilco 1127DU blank will operate any ignition/door lock and the 1127ES will operate any glove/trunk lock made from 1952 to 1966. Key codes continued to be stamped on most lock housings through 1966. Many truck models continued to use the Ford single-sided lock system into the 1970s, but most other Ford models changed to the double-sided Ilco 1167FD key system in 1967.

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What is a Hemi? – Dan Carney @DesignNews

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Have you spotted a Mopar hot rod and wondered, “That thang got a Hemi innit?

Chrysler vehicles have long been renowned for their Hemi V8 engines, which are legendary for their power and performance. Remember the silly “That thang got a Hemi innit?” commercials from the aughts, with the two goofball fanboys interrogating owners of new Dodge vehicles about their engine status?

Most people know that a Hemi means performance, but how many people actually know what “hemi” means? That’s why we’re here. “Hemi” is a reference to the engine’s combustion chamber shape. It is short for “semi-hemispherical,” which means that the combustion chamber space cast into the engine’s heads looks like it was carved out with an ice cream scoop.

Chrysler vehicles have long been renowned for their Hemi V8 engines, which are legendary for their power and performance. Remember the silly “That thang got a Hemi innit?” commercials from the aughts, with the two goofball fanboys interrogating owners of new Dodge vehicles about their engine status?

Most people know that a Hemi means performance, but how many people actually know what “hemi” means? That’s why we’re here. “Hemi” is a reference to the engine’s combustion chamber shape. It is short for “semi-hemispherical,” which means that the combustion chamber space cast into the engine’s heads looks like it was carved out with an ice cream scoop.

“If you cut a ball in half, the rounded top is the combustion chamber shape,” explained Brandt Rosenbush, company historian for Chrysler, which is now part of a company called “Stellantis” following the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with Peugeot.

A semi-hemispherical combustion chamber has the minimal possible surface-area-to-volume ratio, so less energy is lost as heat through the combustion chamber’s surface, said Rosenbush. It also enjoys good volumetric efficiency because the dome combustion chamber shape provides ample room for large intake and exhaust valves.

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