Words by Cam Benty
Photos by Jeff Souter
As irritating as the slogan has become, the legend of the “Hemi” engine continues to provide a lift for those Mopar and non-Mopar fans looking for power. Synonymous with tire searing, gear banging torque built on a racing heritage planted firmly in the minds of America courtesy of Richard Petty’s lighting fast hemi-powered 1967 GTX, having a hemi engine makes you cool. If that’s the case, the obvious question appears - what does having two Hemi’s make you?
For Dave Lindsley in Lake Forest, California, the answer is plenty simple – too cool. Owner of twin hemi-powered “B-Body” Mopars, these low mileage classic muscle cars are perfect time capsules, the way these cars were right from the dealership floor; one a 1966 Plymouth Satellite and the other a more rare (relatively in the scheme of things) 1967 Plymouth GTX. While on the surface, they may seem quite similar (only because they are), the subtle differences between the two cars is worth investigating.
The modern 1960’s version of the street hemi-engine was rated at a detuned 425 hp from 426 cubic inches. Inside, the hemi contained the best of racing parts circa 1966 including steel crankshaft, the best rods, twin four-barrel AFB carburetors on an aluminum high rise intake manifold, free flowing exhaust manifolds and forged aluminum high compression pistons. The valve train was a work of art made from high arc rockers mounted on Mopar-style rocker shafts yet linked to the high lift camshaft through mechanical flat tappet lifters.
The hemi was so superior at making power at the time that it was the foundation for all extreme power drag racing engines to come. Even the Top Fuel engine used today is based on the hemi- engine as delivered in 1966 (some credit would have to go to early hemi-engines as well including the venerable 392 which drove many race-winning front-motored rails). In NASCAR circles, Richard Petty’s hemi GTX set a record of 10 race wins in a row, a high water mark that has never been bettered over the past 38 years. In addition to the 10-win run, Petty won an unprecedented 26 of 48 races that year – yet another record. So, with that kind of performance legacy it no wonder that these cars are so highly valued -- or that Chrysler uses the hemi name today in an effort to promote a new line of performance, albeit predominantly truck, engines.