- Written by webmin
If the changes at Chrysler have raised any questions regarding the future of Mopar Performance, recent announcements from the hi-po parts division should serve to put enthusiasts’ minds at ease. The recent Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Orlando, Florida, was the scene of several significant announcements from the Mopar Performance team regarding new products and programs, including a new version of the Gen III Hemi.
Dubbed the Mopar 426 Aluminum HEMI Gen III Crate Engine, the new offering revives the legendary displacement, though it is based on the current design HEMI V-8. The aluminum block is the other primary feature of this engine, shedding a reported 100 pounds over the conventional cast-iron block currently used in production HEMI engines. The crate engine is rated at 540hp and 530-lbs.ft. of torque, and is said to be in production already.
It goes without saying that the new crate offering would make an interesting and entertaining addition to any street rod or kit car project, as well as a killer swap subject for updating muscle-era modified cars – we’ve sampled what the SRT8 Charger and Chrysler 300 feel like with “just” 425hp and 4,000-plus pounds to lug around, and it’s good fun. Now imagine what a vehicle with about seven or eight hundred pounds less mass would do with 105 additional horsepower.
But we can’t help wondering if this bigger, badder HEMI has its roots set in production cars. The aluminum block seems highly likely – the pursuit of increased fuel efficiency is a priority for any manufacturer planning to sell cars in the U.S. for the foreseeable future, and the use of light metals is an obvious measure in reducing vehicle weight.
What about the extra inches? No one at Chrysler is even hinting that there may one day be a 426 badge on a new Dodge again, but recall that the 392 was first introduced to the public as a Mopar Performance engine package. Call it pure speculation, and perhaps just wishful thinking, but the horsepower wars don’t seem to have stalled, and as Chrysler gets its new legs, performance appears to remain a significant consideration for product planners.
Need more insider info to fuel your late-model Mopar daydreams? Mopar Performance has also been experimenting with a turbocharged version of the all-aluminum Gen III 426, even testing it using the Test Lab Challenger. Dale Aldo of Mopar Product Development told us that even at low levels of boost, the results were promising, though specific figures were not revealed.
We could get into more speculation here about upcoming production car engine packages, especially considering that the competition at Ford has been supercharging Mustangs for years, and that it’s commonly known the upcoming Camaro Z28 will make use of a blower as well. Still, Aldo reeled us in by explaining, “The reason we put a turbo in the test car in the first place was to perform durability testing on the new all-aluminum 426…to see how much horsepower we could put into that block without any issues.” He also made a point of saying that the testing went quite well.
For now, let’s not lose sight of the facts: You’ll soon be able to purchase your very own all-aluminum Gen III 426 HEMI crate engine from Mopar Performance with 540hp. To keep abreast of availability and any other new developments, go to www.mopar.com/performance/muscle.