To the outsider, a Hemi is a Hemi right? Now if you're ready to beat me upside the head for that statement, please, wait a minute! To anyone who has ever had any experience with one of these motors of legend, the term Hemi conjures up feelings of...well, now I got goose bumps. Although these motors came into being in the '51 production year, early hemispherical engines had a limited production of only eight years. Then in 1962 Chrysler made a request of the engineering staff to develop an engine and vehicle combination capable of winning stock car events and timed-acceleration drag racing events around the country. Naturally, the Hemi design was the engine of choice. The final platforms consisted of a single carbureted 426ci "track" engine, a single four-barrel carbureted 396ci "track" engine, and a two four-barrel 426ci "drag" engine. The first of these engines ran under its own power on December 6, 1963. The drag race version was built later that same month. The 396ci engine had been removed from the rules and was never built.
Fast-forward. The Hemi engine is still as popular as ever with more versions available now than you can shake a stick at. With all of the available aftermarket suppliers, enthusiasts can build just about any size and style Hemi they wish. Even Mopar Performance has stepped up to the plate by listing a part number in its catalog that will land you a brand-new Hemi Crate motor. What we have compiled here is a list of some of the more recognized builders and suppliers of the legendary pachyderm of lore, giving you, the reader, some insight into what's available. We contacted several noted engine builders and parts suppliers and had them send us an engine (boy, don't we wish). Actually, we had them send us literature of what they do and how they do it. The folks at Ray Barton Racing Engines, Hot Heads, Mopar Performance, Roger Gibson Restorations, and Indy Cylinder Head all stepped up to help us with the information we needed.
Super Stock-Legal And More
Ray Barton Racing Engines
Even the name Ray Barton evokes an image of pure racing performance. Though Ray doesn't mind that, he would also like to make it perfectly clear that he also does complete engine restorations. Having been in the engine business for 32 years, Ray's knowledge of the Hemi engine has been proven by the fact that his engines have held national records on different occasions. Ray has been at his current location for the last nine years and currently has from 13 to 17 employees, depending on the flow of engines. The efficiency at which Ray conducts his business allows him to turn out a complete engine every two days. His facilities, located in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, covers 5,000 square feet of work area, allowing him to do almost all aspects of engine building except grinding cranks in-house. All engines that come into Ray's shop receive the same attention to detail, whether it is a race engine or is to be restored. All parts are meticulously inspected and massaged as needed. Ray has enough available area to take care of the customers' needs all the way up to a dyno run to break in the completed engine to make sure of it's quality. With the endless availability of crate motors on the market, Ray has joined the race with his "Krate" motors. Available in either 528 ci or 572 ci, these fire-breathing monsters are built to exacting standards with Ray and his guys giving each one personal attention to assure a quality end product. Another aspect of Barton Racing engines is its supply of aftermarket parts. Whether it is a set of rods, pistons, a cast cross-ram intake, or even a set of its Stage V Hemi heads, Barton Racing can supply you with all of your Hemi needs.