What constitutes a big Hemi? 426 inches? Nah, that's stock Hemi territory. What about 472 inches? That's nothing; you can get a crate Hemi from the Mother Ship that's 528 cubic inches. Hell, even 528 cubes is pretty common in this day and age. How does 605 rattle-nasty cubes grab you? That's the magic number that floats Dick Tschida's boat.
Dick is no stranger to these pages, and, in fact, through his participation in Hot Rod magazine's first-ever Pump Gas Drags (PGD), and the subsequent magazine coverage that ensued, Dick went from zero to hero in less time than it takes his black badass Dart to cover the 1320. Unfortunately, a broken throttle cable ended his run at the title during the PDG after his first pass, a not too shabby ten-oh held enough promise to make the Brand-X participants shudder in anticipation of his next run. But, broken parts are simply a normal aspect of racing.
Dick's version of the Holy Grail is a '68 Dart GTS packing the aforementioned 605ci Hemi. Since the hemispherical headed wonder is at the center of Dick's universe, it's only befitting that we talk about that first. Starting with a Mopar Performance siamese-bore block, Dick commissioned SharaDon Performance to punch the block to a whopping 4.5 inches. JE pistons were chosen to fit the big bores, but a pump-gas-friendly 11:1 compression was chosen to keep Dick's ride street friendly. So how did Dick arrive at 605 ci? He did it with a steel crank displacing 4.75-inch stroke. The 6.96-inch Crower rods swing on the long-stroke crank. The under-square engine was then topped with Indy's massive aluminum Legend cylinder heads that received the requisite CNC porting, guaranteeing that the big Hemi gets enough nutrition. A custom Comp solid flat-tappet cam bumps the valves, while the fuel mixing chores are handled by an Indy single-plane intake topped with a FAST EFI unit. A MSD crank trigger is tasked with the unenviable task of providing enough spark to make massive amounts of power and torque. Big engines need big headers to exhale, and Dick's Hemi is no exception, relying on Hedman 211/44-inch headers. An equally massive 4-inch dual-exhaust system with Borla mufflers does a poor job of quieting the beast.
All that power is useless if the rest of the drivetrain isn't up to the task. a Hemi this big can turn inferior parts to shrapnel, so Dick chose the only logical rearend for such an extreme application: the Dana 60. No Sure Grip would survive such punishment, and Dick wanted to make sure that each wheel received an equal amount of power in its quest for a low e.t., so a spool packing 4.10 gears was chosen to fit the carrier. Moser 35-spline axles then transfer power to the Mickey Thompson ET streets wrapped around Weld wheels. Stock small-block V-8 torsion bars hold the Hemi up, while Tri-City leaf springs, in conjunction with Competition Engineering Slide-A-Links, plant the Mickeys. Wilwood discs on the front and rear haul the Dart down from extra-legal speeds. Lofgren Racing Transmissions built the 727 slush box with a Griner manual valvebody and a TCI 3800-stall converter. A Cheetah shifter handles gear changes. Richard Rohde of SharaDon Performance smoothed the body and applied the sinister basic black, adding an AAR 'glass hood.
Running on pump swill, this beast has run a best time of 9.91 at 138 mph! Beware of diminutive A-bodies packing lots of heat. This is one Dart you probably shouldn't mess with.
So, you think your Hemi's big? It's all relative, but Dick Tschida's elephant is huge by anyone's standards. With 605 ci of hungry Hemi thumping away underhood, it's probably not even safe to drive in front of Dick's Dart. You've been forewarned.