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Patrick Bedard’s survivor Belvedere packs a Hemi punch

We couldn’t slap high fives around Chrysler Engineering on the morning of February 24, 1964—that celebratory gesture wouldn’t be invented for another 15 years—but exhilaration was in the air. Chrysler had gone nuclear the day before, dropped the 426 Hemi on Ford at the Daytona 500 as Richard Petty led Jimmy Pardue and Paul Goldsmith in a 1, 2, 3, finish of Hemi-powered Plymouths.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/04/patrick-bedards-survivor-belvedere-hemi

Thank you, McKeel, for a place to again be able to read Pat Bedard (and Don Sherman, for that matter).

Agreed!

Welcome aboard, Mr. Bedard. Very nice to see you in print again.

  • Jim

1964, If I remember correctly Ford had the SOHC 427. NASCAR in it’s “infinite” wisdom, banned that engine, (something about no technology allowed) which made the HEMI OBSOLETE!. Now, 55 years later, they are still promoting an obsolete engine?

Indeed a great article!!! In the mid to late '80s had a 1966 HEMI Charger in mauve … only 1 of 2 made. However, due to poor planning and a surprise set of twins, had 4 kids in college at the same time. The HEMI had to go!!! Suffered until 1994 when all had graduated and I bought a Viper for MY graduation present. Still have a Viper, but will always miss that HEMI …

I began my subscription to Car and Driver in the 70’s. Thank you Patrick, your writing has me “rewinding to my own days of raging hormones and low ETs.”

Thanks for this story. I was in Chicago, and visited a Dodge dealer in the west side (Naperville?). On the walls were musclecar pictures, but looking closer, they were actual phosos. I asked for more information. They said the guy out back…that’s all I heard and left… I met, I recall his name was Dan Singleton. In the shop I remember seeing all kinds of cool stuff - too many to name or remember. I think a T/A. I remember a dual spark plug Hemi on the floor. I was in heaven. Dan took me from cool thing to cool thing. But, sitting quietly in the corner was an ugly brown 66 Coronet. My eye kept going towards it wondering if it could be a hemi car. Why have something that plain, unless it was. I asked, and yes. Dan got a big grin on his face. I think he said something about it being his favorite… This was 1989. Growing up in Idaho - you just didn’t get to see this stuff. I was giddy. I think it had less than 15k miles on it. Bench seat with some weird psychedelic-pattern cloth, dog-dish hubcaps, and the only chrome I remember were the letters spelling DELUXE on the quarters. I told him I really really would love to go for a ride in a hemi car some day It had been raining, and he didn’t like to take it out anywhere near rain. Well, we gabbed long enough for it to dry up. It was time. My first hemi experience. The Coronet was parked, backed up against the cinder block shop wall. Pump pump, whine whine. pump pump, whine whine, repeatedly drawing some gas. Then BOOM, a big black cloud punched the wall, flattening itself and coiled upwards. It was alive. Heaven. I got in. The clatter of the solid lifters reminded me of a slant six. But, I was shaking in excitement. I am shaking right now typing this… Dan would manually shift the columned automatic, first, second, third, but the engine didn’t seem to care what gear it was in… It pushed up against the torque converter stall no matter what gear it was in. Sounded the same, pulled the same. Then, pulling out onto I think old highway 30, about halfway through the first gear r’s, Dan punched it. I think that bench seat back was 8 inches thick - I sunk 4" into it. I don’t remember the tires giving up. I remember the nose came up. The sound was still the lifter clatter. Just a first gear pull, then Dan lifted at the same time shifting to 2nd. The torqueflite sleepily hit 2nd, then the tires did the hugest hard bark once shifted. That bark was off the gas. The sweetest momentum bark. I was laughing. Kid in a candy store, mopar kind. I’ll never forget it. Thank you Dan!

Your great description of the sound, feel, and thrill of opening those carburetors takes me back to my ‘built’ '57 Chrysler 300c convertible! .060 over, 12 to 1 Mickey Thompson pistons. Hollman - Moody 360 degree, .450 lift cam and two AFBs gave me the same thrill! The only problem was the old iron case Torqueflite that would shift into high gear just as the engine was coming onto the cam. Still, I regret selling it at ANY price, even though it was a good deal at the time. I’ll never be able to afford another car with a production of only 484 beautiful examples!

My older brother bought a brand new 68 Dodge Coronet R/T during his stint in the Army. Bright red, black bucket seats and a small rectangular plate on the leading edge of each front fender that simply said HEMI.
His was an automatic with a console floor shift, and even had power steering, brakes and windows, but no a/c was available with the elephant motor. My brother had replaced the full wheel covers that the car came with for a set of the then-popular chrome Cragar S/S wheels. The 68 Hemi still had mechanical lifters which made their presence known in a subtle, but audible way. My greatest memory of this classic machine was when I was permitted to take my initial driving test at the local DMV in it. The automatic and power steering made parking a breeze and I passed the test with no hiccups. Like many of its kind, the car was later sold when marriage and family came into my brother’s life.

I almost canceled my Car & Driver subscription when Pat Bedard left…truly the best writer they ever had! So glad to find you again—please keep writing, even if it’s about electric cars or the environment! You are sorely missed…!

Thanks much for the great article.I felt like I was in the front seat right next to you.

I remember my friend in high school took me for a ride in his brothers( who at the time was in Veitnam) for a ride in hemi corenet
It had a handle bar on top of the clove box I asked what was this for
He floored it and I found out what the handle was for

Sorry when you are led you can not spell. Coronrt. glove box

Oh ya old and coronet
by the way my friend crashed the coronet a few months later just think a 426 hemi 4 speed in junk yard WHOA!!!

Back in late 1965 very early 1966 when I had saved enough money as a down payment and I knew the Street Hemi was gonna be an option for 1966 I went car shopping with my Dad who was gonna be my loan co-signer, we got prices from this dealer and that dealer for my proposed '66 Satellite. All was going good and all I needed was my Dad to sign on the dotted line when the salesman said,
"you know of course that a 426 Street Hemi is a racing motor ", that threw a monkey wrench into my plans, Dad said no he didnt know that and he would have to think this over. That was the end of my Street Hemi dreams . After weeks of trying to change his mind I had to settle for a 4 barrel 383. I had loads of fun with that Satellite and won many trophies at Dover Dragstrip in Wingbale New York.

Wow what a timely article. Back in 67 when I was 16 and already a gear-head a fellow in the city I lived in owned a 67 Coronet R/T Hemi. Of course I knew what a Hemi was and had seen pictures of them but had never had the opportunity to actually lay my eyes on one. It just so happened that the owner lived in an apartment building not all that far from where I lived. One Friday evening in the Summer after sunset my buddy and I were walking down town for an ice cream and happened to pass by the apartment and what should be sitting under the security light but the beautiful maroon Hemi R/T. Well I just couldn’t help myself. I had to walk right over there and pop the hood. And there under the somewhat dim security light gleamed that great big shiny air cleaner lid and eight spark plug leads sticking out of the middle of those monstrous valve covers. Well I knew right then and there some day I would have to own one of those beasts myself.
Fast forward to October 5, 2019 and I finally have the bugs worked out of a project I started to put back together in about 2000 when I finally got it back from the body shop where it had been for the last 9 years. Final break in runs done, bring the revs up against the torque converter, mash the loud pedal. Nothing but tire smoke and liquid rubber. OK lets try that again with a little ground speed and somewhat less aggression on the throttle. Right, so that’s what whiplash feels like (no headrests). Gotta Luv it!!
One 68 Hemi GTX back from the dead.

I had a '66 Satellite with a factory 383 interceptor that I modified with 440 Magnum heads! Fastest most powerfull car I ever owned! I wish I had never gotten rid of it, not a Hemi but just as fast!

There’s some really great early Hemi info in that article that I’d not heard of. Especially the early testing failures and “special” unit built for the blue oval crew! I’ve owned a 68 Hemi Roadrunner, 4-speed for 10 years. Insured by Hagerty of course. She (“Roxy”) never fails to draw a crowd. I’ve personally replaced camshaft, lifters, interior panels, and paid others to rebuild carburetors, transmission, clutch, driveshaft, rear end and brakes to as-delivered spec. My car also has no air conditioning, which was rare for a 68 I’m told. I’ve even returned to the Firestone Wide Oval F70-15 Red Stripe bias ply tires (thanks Coker), to complete the look and authentic driving experience. Love that Hemi!