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The following information is an extended abridged exclusive for MoparMAX readers from contributor Geoff Stunkard's upcoming 192-page book entitled HEMI: A History of Chrysler's Iconic Engine in Competition. The book will be released in July 2015, and we will have several short segments here as part of Mopar Musings or as stand-alone features. This issue, Stunkard looks at some of the exclusive NASCAR hardware, made possible thanks to Kramer Automotive of Butler, Pa. and collector Jim Kramer. Updates on the book are being put onto facebook under the name HEMI: Chrysler's Unique V8 in Competition.
While these columns have previously covered actual sections from the book, I thought this month we would look at some the special Hemi racing parts not often seen for sale. While drag racing pieces seem to abound in some regards, the NASCAR/circle tracks items were often only obtained by those people who had some factory association. Of course, the cost of some of this equipment may have been prohibitive, but it took specially refined extreme duty components to go 500 miles at 5000+ rpm.
The Hemi in NASCAR was a dominant force during the Sixties. Ford countered with the never-legal Cammer and later the Boss 429 engines, but the Hemi found Championship victories in 1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, and 1971; Richard Petty would carry that banner forward from 1972-1975 in Chrysler's as well. Development was ongoing, and in the book we reference Tom Hoover's recollections of the stillborn A148 and A279 engines that possibly could have superseded the A864 track motor, whose basic structure remained unchanged after its 1964 debut at Daytona. Only the advent of restrictor plates and NASCAR's ACCUS-FIA displacement rules could still its roar (and unfortunately did).
NOS Reproduction parts dealer Jim Kramer has been a noted collector of these rarities for years. While researching the book, we spent three days looking at some of his great pieces. Here are a few photos from that expedition; no, none of it is for sale.
HEMI1 – Here are two very early, shallow bottom-widened lank 426 Hemi oil pans, likely modified by their owners to ensure sump pickup under hard cornering; the dry sumps would put an end to this. It can be assumed the small tubular inlets were placed on the tank to allow oil recirulation from the valve cover areas.