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Mopar Celebrates 50 Years of the Gen II 426 HEMI Engine in Style

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Gen II 426 HEMI

We all know somebody who has a parent who, despite being at or over the half-centennial mark, is always in the gym and seems to be in the best shape of their life.  The iconic Gen II 426 HEMI engine is turning 50 this year, and it’s just like your best friend’s dad who could probably beat your twentysomething boyfriend in an arm wrestling match.

The Gen II 426 HEMI was huge: a 7.0-liter V8 that threw down 400 horsepower and had a 12:5:1 compression ratio.  That’s more than enough power to make some modern engines quake with fear.  The Gen II 426 HEMI was first used at the 1964 Daytona 500, where Richard Petty crushed all comers to take home the checkered flag.

Petty’s 1964 NASCAR dominance was so profound—eight victories and the 1964 overall championship—that NASCAR made a rule the next year requiring that all engines used in vehicles that hit the track be available for production vehicles.  Chrysler withdrew from NASCAR competition on account of all their party-pooping, instead focusing on drag racing.  To this day, a derivative of the Gen II 426 HEMI still powers all NHRA Funny Car and Top Fuel entries).

To commemorate the occasion, 50th Anniversary HEMI merchandise will be available through  And while the Plush Elephant Toy doesn’t quite evoke the fury of the 50 Years of Gen II 426 HEMI logo…well, it’s just so cuddly-wuddly that I think we have to buy it.  For further developments from this significant HEMI milestone, check back in with us at The News Wheel throughout 2014.