A roar for the ages: Chrysler celebrates five decades of Hemi V8 power

chrysler 426 hemi 50th anniversary mopar logo

Car companies are very sentimental.

The people who make cars are always eager to celebrate the anniversary of a brand, model or, in this case, an engine.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chrysler’s 426 “Race” Hemi V8, by far the most iconic engine to ever come out of Auburn Hills.

“Hemi” refers to the engine’s hemispherical combustion chambers, which help produce more power. Chrysler’s first Hemi debuted in 1951, but the second-generation 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) version has achieved legendary status as one of the main motors of the 1960s muscle-car era.

The 426 Hemi debuted at the Daytona 500 in February 1964, powering Richard Petty to victory and, ultimately, the year’s NASCAR championship.

The Hemi was just as competitive on the drag strip as it was on the oval. That same year, Don Garlits became the first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) driver to break the 200-mph barrier in a Hemi-powered dragster. He covered the quarter mile in 7.78 seconds at 201.34 mph.

However, the engine still wasn’t available to civilians; when NASCAR mandated that all race engines for the 1965 season be available in production cars, Chrysler simply withdrew and concentrated on drag racing.

A 426 “Street” Hemi finally made it to the street in 1966. Nicknamed the “Elephant Motor” it launched a golden age for Mopar fans that would include high-performance models like the Dodge Charger and Plymouth GTX, as well as countless “That thang got a Hemi?” jokes.

The second-generation Chrysler Hemi hung on until 1971; concerns over fuel economy, emissions, and insurance would kill the muscle car shortly after. However, Chrysler revived the Hemi was a 5.7-liter V8 for the Dodge Ram pickup truck in 2003. It soon migrated to the “LX” rear-wheel drive cars (Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Magnum) as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Today, the Hemi still anchors Chrysler’s performance-vehicle lineup, with a 6.4-liter version powering the current 300, Charger, Challenger, and Grand Cherokee SRT models. At 392 cubic inches, it’s a bit smaller than the old Elephant, but who’s counting?

Chrysler will celebrate the 426 Hemi’s 50th birthday with merchandise, marketing events, and a new logo rendered in appropriate Hemi Orange.

Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

Who needs a Crown Vic? Check out the coolest police cars from around the world

Not every police department opts for either a Dodge Charger or Ford Explorer. Some law enforcement agencies, including those located in Dubai and Japan, run a different kind of fleet. Here, we've gathered some of the coolest cruisers in…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Cars

Has Apple rebooted its self-driving car program to develop autonomous vans?

The on-again, off-again Apple car is back on track, but it's not a sedan or a hatchback. It will arrive as an electric, autonomous passenger-carrying van, according to a recent report.
Cars

Waymo’s self-driving prototype obeys a traffic cop’s hand signals

One of Waymo's self-driving prototypes successfully navigated a situation that leaves even some human drivers confused: An intersection whose traffic lights are down. It waited for the traffic cop to wave it on.