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The mid-sixties saw an explosion of muscle cars. All were very special in their own way. However, one of them has carried a mystique unmatched, even to this day, "the HEMI". Chrysler Corporation had used their hemispherical combustion chambered motor from 1953 through 1957 in their production cars. It then disappeared for a short period only to come back in 1964 in a limited production 426 cubic inch race version. In order to meet criteria for it to be a true production motor and race on Sunday on the oval tracks there had to be a production run of at least 500 and make it available to the general public. Therefore was born the 1966 "426" cubic inch street HEMI. A detuned version of the racing motor was made available in the 1966 Plymouth and Dodge full-sized cars.

 

The Plymouth Belvedere I, Belvedere II and Satellite model could be ordered with the new 426 cubic inch dual quad, dual points distributor and mechanical camshaft motor, which were, rated at 425 horsepower and 490 foot pounds of torque. There were only 531 Plymouths produced in 1966 with the HEMI motor. There were 303 of those that came with a 4-speed transmission. A very unique and confusing identification badge was stuck on the Plymouth HEMI cars in the beginning. It was a front fender badge HP2 that after a lot of discussion was determined to mean "HEMI Powered Plymouth". This badge caused a lot of confusion and therefore was only used on approximately 50 Belvedere I, 50 Belvedere II and 50 Satellite models or approximately 150 total cars.

 

It was discontinued January 1, 1966 and all of the remaining 531 Plymouths carried the 426 HEMI "Dodge Badge" and was located on the bottom of the front fender in the same location of the 1966 Dodge HEMI cars which is so familiar to the general public.
The car you are looking at on this website is a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere II 426 cubic inch HEMI powered HP2 model. It was built on December 8, 1965 in the Lynch Road Michigan Plant. It was located in Monroe, New York and had 22,057 miles on it when purchased in May of 2001. It had been undisturbed for about 20 years after having an early quarter-mile race history. Purchased by Franklin Motors of Wyckoff, New Jersey in 1965 for $3,809.80 she spent her beginnings running the tracks like Englishtown and other racetracks on the East Coast.
The car came with Bluestreak Tires, seat belt deletes, and her 426 HEMI motor with an 883 4-speed transmission and Dana 354 rear end. This HEMI option was $907.60. Almost one-third of the entire cost of the base car of $2,505.00.
When I was young, I owned many cars but never could afford a HEMI. The muscle car era came and went and I raised my family. Then in 1990 I decided to restore a classic car. I decided on a 1964 Comet Cyclone, after that I restored a 1965 Comet Cyclone and currently am doing a 1964 Comet Convertible. I took time out and refinanced my house to restore this 1966 Plymouth costing three times what it cost to do a small block Comet. This Plymouth has been a real experience. A lot of hard work, a lot of help from friends and a lot of money. This car was completed in about 1 year. The car has turned out to be more than I could have ever dreamed it would be. Its first trip out to a National event and it placed in the top 40 at the National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Then got a feature on ESPN's Mother's Polish Car show. It took 1st at the Mopar Nationals in 2003 and in August of 2004 was featured in the Mopar Action Magazine. However, above all, we drive it, we enjoy it and it lets us enjoy great times with our friends and other car enthusiasts. The car is certified by Galen Govier of GTS Chrysler Experts and it is registered in the Chrysler Registry.

I thank you for allowing me to share this experience with you.

Motor Transmission and Carburetion done by Jim Walther 1972 Top World Fuel Champion of Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Paint and body done by
Bill Rice of Chesterland, Ohio.


Special thanks; Denise Mercsak, Mike Warmington and Richard Neubert without whose encouragement and help this project would have been become a reality.

Charlie Caldwell
Painesville, Ohio



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