Hemi Crate Engines

Adding Power to your Muscle

 

Over the years, Hemi engines have been at the front of the racing world. The 426 revolutionized the muscle car era, as well as decades into the future. However, it wasn't the only top performance Hemi engine out there. Consumers also got their hands on the 472 and 528 respectively. Eventually these were difficult to come across fully built, so it took a lot of time for collectors and racers to come across one.

Mopar decided to bring back all of these by bringing forth the hemi crate engines. If you're not familiar with the terminology, a crate engine has more than a long block available. In most cases this could include any of the following:

    • Alternator
    • Carburetor or fuel injection system
    • Intake manifold
    • More than a long block


 

426 MOPAR Hemi Crate Engine - If you remember, the original 426 Hemi used aluminum heads for racing vehicles, but due the massive success in NASCAR, they were required to produce a street version that could be circulated in the open production market. In order to do this, the 426 had to utilize cast iron heads. Today, you can purchase a 426 hemi crate engine that offers 465 horsepower and 486ft-lbs of torque.

When shopping for hemi crate engines, it's important to make sure the appropriate parts are being purchased. Often time's, consumers will be unsure about what they need. If you buy the wrong part, it could end up creating time delays, but it could also reduce your horsepower and torque.

If you owned a Dodge or Plymouth in the mid-1960s (1966), the Charger, Coronet 500, and Belvedere were running with a 426 hemi engine. While the engine was powerful, a hemi crate engine can offer even more benefits. In order to maximize your 426 hemi crate engine potential, consider using some of the following parts with the 426:

    • Block - Heavy-duty cast iron. Primarily with cross-bolted mains
    • Breathers
    • Camshaft - Hydraulic flat tappet design. It should have a 278 degree AD and 495"/480" lift.
    • Components
    • Crankshaft - Forged steel (3.70)
    • Cylinder Heads - Cast iron
    • Distributor - High performance electronic
    • Exhaust Valves - Stainless steel
    • Front Timing Chain Cover
    • Intake Manifold - Aluminum dual-plane
    • Intake Valves - Stainless steel

472 Hemi Crate Engine - While the 426 set the tone for horsepower in racing and street muscle, the 472 was a step up from the older Hemi. A lot of funny cars and race cars have been setup with the 472 hemi crate engine. If you need this type of horsepower (60 more than the 426), it's a good idea to add the 850cfm vacuum, exhaust headers (2.00"), and a secondary Holley carburetor.

If you're not sure if this is the right engine for your needs, take a look at some of the specifications below:

    • 7mm silicone spark plug wires
    • Aluminum dual-plane intake manifold
    • Forged Pistons
    • Forged Steel Crankshaft
    • Front Timing chain Cover
    • High performance electronic distributor
    • Premium material valve stem seals
    • Premium double roller timing chain and sprockets

Probably the most popular vehicle ever to utilize the 472 was the 1968 Dodge Charger. You definitely don't purchase this engine for the gas mileage (10 miles per), but you do get it for the ridiculous 525 horsepower. Buying a 68' Dodge Charger with a 472 in it and in immaculate condition could cost almost $200,000; easy.

528 Hemi Crate Engine - Remember the old adage; "He who dies with the most toys wins?" Well, if you have a 528 Hemi engine underneath the hood, it's almost guaranteed you will win. It offers a crazy 610 horsepower and 650ft lbs. torque. Keep in mind; the higher the horsepower, the more you're going to pay for the Hemi crate engine.

Serious collectors are usually the ones focused on owning a 528 Hemi. What they do is take cars from the mid to late 60s that used a 426, and drop a 528 in it instead. Some of them work out well, but others create more problems than benefits. In fact, we've even come across a 1969 Dodge Dart with a 528 Hemi crate engine in it.

Here are some of the specs associated with the 528:

    • 292 Hydraulic Camshaft
    • Aluminum cylinder heads (updated)
    • Black cast aluminum valve covers
    • Chrome front cover
    • Forged pistons - 4.50" Bore, 10.25:1 compression ratio
    • High performance electronic distributor
    • Precision double roller timing chain and sprockets
    • Premium material valve stem seals

Smart Buying

Even though its fun to gather all the parts and accessories needed to build a Hemi engine, it's much easier to purchase a hemi crate engine. We've seen several people try to piece together a 426, 472, or 528, but struggle to find the original parts. Even if they do find everything needed, the overall cost can be quite pricey.

Buying a Hemi crate engine allows you to get all the necessary equipment without investing too much money in the vehicle itself. Plus, it's much more convenient. If you want to have your Dodge Challenger, Dart, or Charger built in a shorter period of time, a Hemi crate engine is a smart purchase.

More than Power

Whether you're looking to invest in a Hemi engine to increase value in your car or it's time to start racing, there is more to these engines than power. In today's market, an old muscle car with a 426, 472, or 528 Hemi engine can bring forth six or seven figures at the right auction. For instance, the 1970 Road Runner Superbird only sold about 125 units. Back then it wasn't a big deal, but today, the Superbirds with a 426 Hemi engine can reach $2,000,000 in value.

It's definitely something to consider if you're looking to make some money. If you just love to be a collector, a Hemi crate engine is the fastest way to rebuild the perfect muscle car.


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