HEMISPHERICAL ENGINE Most car enthusiasts have heard of the hemispherical engine used in performance automobiles. Engines of this type date to the 1900s, when the first automobiles were designed. A Hemi is an engine with a hemispherical combustion chamber. It has dome-shaped cylinders and piston tops. The piston tops are rounded in shape and fit within the cylinders. The design of the Hemi ensures that less heat is lost and the pressure remains higher than in a traditional engine. The sparks plugs, too, provide superior ignition, and the values better air flow. These qualities, combined, provide the Hemi engine with more power, making it quite different from traditional flat-top engines.

faster, rode better, stopped better, and caused fewer problems than all six of the cars tested last month.” For the record, it dashed off 0–60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 7.4 seconds, with a time of 14.5 seconds for the standing quarter- mile. And there was another factor: despite its racing origins, the Hemi proved as reliable and docile a street engine as one could hope to find. Far from being trailered to the test (and for magazine tests of the time, some muscle cars were), the Satellite was driven from Detroit to New York and was used every day of the week before the test. About the only complaint C&D could find to say about the fastest muscle car ever was its styling.

Scan here to take a closer look at the Hemi engine.

If, on the other hand, one really considered the Coronet and Belvedere too staid, one could always opt for the Charger, a fastbacked version of the Coronet, which actually looked quite different, thanks to the fastback’s almost wedge shape and full-width grille with concealed headlights. The little doors that hid the lights were powered by electric motors. Underlining the upscale approach, there were four bucket seats and full instrumentation. The Hemi was, of course, optional. As part of the Hemi package, the buyer received heavy-duty suspension, larger brakes, and 7.75 x 14 Blue Streak tires. Transmission was a four-speed manual or TorqueFlite automatic. However, of 37,000-plus Charger customers in 1966, only 468 (a little over 1 percent) paid extra for the Hemi package, split roughly 50/50 between TorqueFlite and four-speed. But over 1,500 Belvedere/Satellite buyers went for the Hemi, so maybe there were a few drivers out there who appreciated the combination of conservative looks with stunning performance. 12 Hemis & Drag Racing Muscle Cars

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