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HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar
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56D500boy
Posted 2024-01-11 12:41 PM (#633363)
Subject: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar



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These are apparently from 1995 but I think they only recently showed up on Youtube

Part 1 with Tom Hoover (who doesn't agree that he is the "Father of the Hemi"):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMFcAfpUpLA

Part 2 with Willem (Bill) Weertman:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F46FQPafc84

Willem Weertman Mopar Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tojdxtjAZuA

Enjoy. (I have the Weertman book. "Chrysler Engines 1922-1998" but seeing him and hearing him talk about the Gen 1 and Gen 2 hemis was a real treat).

Both are dead now. (RIP)



Edited by 56D500boy 2024-01-11 8:10 PM
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1960fury
Posted 2024-01-11 8:04 PM (#633368 - in reply to #633363)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar



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Thats funny, I Just wanted to post it, had the link already copied.
Wonder what happened to Tom Hoovers (RIP) 57 Desoto He restored. Lots of FL content in the Videos. Including wedge stuff. Hoover states, that the Ramchargers 61 Dart was actually faster than the 409 Chevy.

Edited by 1960fury 2024-01-11 9:29 PM
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Sonoramic60
Posted 2024-01-13 5:29 PM (#633382 - in reply to #633368)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar


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Sid --
The Ramchargers took their '61 Dart Pioneer to the 1961 NHRA National Drags. It was loaded with "dealer-installed" parts (i.e., "413 CID mill, forged pistons, RC-92 cam with solid lifters, 12.5:1 compression, big clearances, etc.") but with that old Chrysler 3-speed manual trans, because they wanted to win in Super Stock, not S/SA. That trannie was not up to the torque of the 413 and tended to bend or even break synchro pins on hard shifts (it didn't last long -- perhaps 10-12 runs then BOOM!) so they lost out because of it. They did set the low e.t. of the meet (13.03) and besides knocking off Mickey Thompson's Pontiac took stock eliminator winner Don Nicholson in a special "grudge match" at the end. The pic of them beating Nicholson made most car and hot rod mags.
Joe Godec
'57 Chrysler 300C, '60 Fury SonoRamic, '65 Fuelie Vette, '65 Sport Fury 426S/4-speed
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Sonoramic60
Posted 2024-01-14 1:39 PM (#633390 - in reply to #633382)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar


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Lads --
Some clarification on Part 1:
Al ECKSTRAND may well have been a liar (as are all us car guys!), but his official function at the Chrysler Corp. was that as a member of their legal staff as an attorney. I believe he hadn't been one of the Ramchargers until 1961, but he did run his personal car, a SonoRamic Commando powered '60 Fury, in the 1960 NHRA Nationals and was the Super/Stock Automatic champ where he beat Jim Wangers in Royal Oak Pontiac's S/SA entry. He well could have been top stock eliminator that year, but Wangers in a Royal Oaks' 4-speed '60 Poncho (which may have had, unbeknownst to inspectors, an early version of the 421 CID Super Duty mill) edged him.
Jim Thornton may have shared the driving at the '61 Nats with Ekstrand and Jim Thornton although I really don't know who drove that Pioneer in the grudge match with Nicholson. I chatted with Thornton once and he kept stressing what a BIG car that Dodge was! Those Ramcharger guys were really neat and all seemed ready to talk about those cars and engines.
Jack CHARIPAR was the dude that did the selling of the 426 Hemi to the Chrysler honchos.
Joe
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1960fury
Posted 2024-01-16 10:36 PM (#633413 - in reply to #633382)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar



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Sonoramic60 - 2024-01-13 5:29 PM

Sid --
The Ramchargers took their '61 Dart Pioneer to the 1961 NHRA National Drags. It was loaded with "dealer-installed" parts (i.e., "413 CID mill, forged pistons, RC-92 cam with solid lifters, 12.5:1 compression, big clearances, etc.") but with that old Chrysler 3-speed manual trans, because they wanted to win in Super Stock, not S/SA. That trannie was not up to the torque of the 413 and tended to bend or even break synchro pins on hard shifts (it didn't last long -- perhaps 10-12 runs then BOOM!) so they lost out because of it. They did set the low e.t. of the meet (13.03) and besides knocking off Mickey Thompson's Pontiac took stock eliminator winner Don Nicholson in a special "grudge match" at the end. The pic of them beating Nicholson made most car and hot rod mags.
Joe Godec
'57 Chrysler 300C, '60 Fury SonoRamic, '65 Fuelie Vette, '65 Sport Fury 426S/4-speed


Those were the days, Joe. In all fairness one has to admit, that the Pontiac earned it. If Chrysler can't engineer a manual transmission, they deserved being 2nd best. I remember a magazin artikel from back in the day, about the non-availability of the manual tranny for the big block Plymouth in 60, that claimed, that no manual transmission can ever last behind that 383...

That interview, while I truly enjoyed it, shows, that memories can be deceiving. They claim, that the Mopar big block wedges weren't competitive in the big ovals, which was of course not the case, as the numbers prove.
In 1960 for instance, the Petty Plymmers were the fastest stock cars. Also 1962/3 when they decided the wedge "isn't competitive". But I think they made a major mistake, when they switched to the RB. The B is hands down the better, more durable engine and way better suited for sustained high rpm runs.

Edited by 1960fury 2024-01-16 10:56 PM
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Sonoramic60
Posted 2024-01-17 12:27 PM (#633418 - in reply to #633413)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar


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Sid --
To a great extent, I agree with you. In fact, when I was looking for a replacement for the 426S/4-speed '65 Sport Fury in the fall of 1967, I was quite definitely staying away from the Street Hemi because of all the horror stories I had heard and so went with the 375 HP/440 CID/4-speed in a Dodge R/T. Both cars were great street and highway cars, easily maintained, although the R/T had that lousy Inland Steel shifter in contrast to the SF's Hurst (that R/T unit with a reverse lockout was like a piece of wet spaghetti). It also had just a 19 gallon gas tank (the SF's was 25), which was not good in the long distances out here in the western U.S. Still, you can't really dispute the Hemi's dominating success in its NASCAR days or at NHRA drags.
While King Richard won his first NASCAR race in 1960, I cannot believe the 1960 Petty cars were faster on the long tracks. Indeed, Smoky Yunick built Marvin Panch's '60 Catalina that won at Daytona (the real measure of a long track). Those "60-'61 4-speed Ponchos were very nasty cars (I can attest to that from my own experiences). Interestingly, I understand that a few MOPAR RB 383s found their way into NASCAR vehicles where their greater torque was especially helpful on powering out of turn on the short tracks, but I don't know if any of the Petty cars had them.
Back in the '60s, the technology wasn't capable of pulling more horses out of the smaller engines. The watchwords then were "You can't beat cubic inches" so even Duntov (at Corvette) followed Chrysler and dropped development of the fuel-injected 327 CID "mouse" in favor of the 396 and later 427 "rat." Carroll Shelby did the same with the 289. I suppose the racing world caught on to the value of RPMs only after the Offie's were blown away by the Lotus-Fords in 1964.
Joe
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1960fury
Posted 2024-01-17 5:43 PM (#633425 - in reply to #633363)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar



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Joe, of course the Hemi was superior, it just wasn't the case, that the Wedge (quote) "wasn't competive". The fastest speed in the 1960 NASCAR season ever measured, was 152 mph, a 1960 Petty Plymouth. This was with the TINY single STOCK carb, of around 525 cfm and the ultra restrictive Low Profile stock dual plane intake and mild stock cam.
Joe, it was a breeze, to better the 1960 Petty Plymouth time, all with 1950s technology. Bigger intake/carb, and ram Air and some other old school mods. I think the Pettys didn't even have a windage tray! What could have been done with a bigger cam or even boring the 383 Out? With the incredible rod ratio, deck height and long rods, they could have even stroked it easily to 426 size. So there was no reason to switch to the RB.

Edited by 1960fury 2024-01-17 6:03 PM
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Sonoramic60
Posted 2024-01-18 6:47 PM (#633443 - in reply to #633425)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar


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Sid --
As I said, to an extent I agree with you, but since I'm such a numb nut, I tend to put those Chrysler engineers on pedestals (I'm better at blowing engines than building them). However, it does seem logical that the lower vertical height of the B cylinder sleeves would have made them less susceptible to cracking than those of the RBs, to say nothing about weight reduction. Also, since Chrysler began to realize the benefits of common engines through every line of the corporation, one standard block that was the base for each of those engines should seem to be the road to it should have taken when it decided to consolidate engines. Perhaps corporate politics played a part as well, particularly in the Chrysler and Imperial marques which were full of stogy graybeards carefully guarding the heritage of Walter P. Who knows?
Joe
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1960fury
Posted 2024-01-21 7:58 PM (#633469 - in reply to #633363)
Subject: Re: HEMI Engineers - The Lost Interviews - from Dennis Gage/MyClassicCar



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Joe, yes, the B is stronger than the RB wedge block, which is a very rugged engine too. Not just the shorter block, there is also more meat around the main bearings. Since the forged stock crank of the B is nearly indestructible and good for 4 digit HP numbers, there is really no reason for bigger journals. They only give more drag. Ironically, the prime block for really high HP applications today, is the once despised 400 smog motor. Got to love the 1.88/1 rod ratio of the B that makes it rev like a little OHC 4 cylinder but with 383 cubes! I wouldn't switch my 370K miles 383 for a brand new Hemi.
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