Hagerty.com

The 7 rarest Hemi muscle cars


#1

Ten thousand, nine hundred and four. A paltry 10,904. According to Allpar.com, that’s how many 426 Hemi-powered street Mopars left Dodge and Plymouth assembly plants from 1966–71. The engine was available in a long list of models and body styles over the years, including favorites like the Plymouth ‘Cuda and Dodge Charger, and all Hemi cars were equipped with a four-speed manual or a three-speed Torqueflite automatic.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/08/21/7-rarest-hemi-muscle-cars

#2

It might interest some to know that in 1968, one reason for high sales numbers of Roadrunners was that the factory, along with heavy promotion, jammed one down every dealer’s throat. Thus, in a small upstate NY floundering mill town, my Dad’s (DeSoto-heavy) dealership got one of these bright blue things for our showroom floor that sat for months, until a traveling salesman from Mass., passing through town, traded a Pontiac LeMans overhead cam 6 with stick for it. Unfortunately, that overhead cam engine had internal problems when he traded it, unacknowledged, and my father threw him out when he showed up later for some picciune warranty service. [The bad old days when a handshake deal meant something.]
We never ordered another one, but we did on occasion sell ordered cars with 426 engines, but I don’t recall any hemis (although one was installed in my 1955 Chris-Craft Continental 22’) for about 10 years–now running a GM 502.


#3

Early summer of 1967 I came home to Milwaukee on leave from Fort Gordon, Ga. I had four more months to serve till my discharge. I went to a local Plymouth dealer looking for a GTX to purchase. I was told they had one out back in the lot, but they also had a Belvidere in the showroom with a 426 Hemi and 4 speed. Well that’s all I needed to hear. It was a 2 door hardtop, metalic blue, bench seats, little hubcaps with painted wheels and AM radio. What a sleeper. Probably pretty rare also.
Traded my 1964 Ford Galaxie on it. Drove it back to Georgia, raced it one time at a little drag strip across the river in South Carolina and won a trophy. Only kept it a year and traded it on a 1968 Road Runner.
If I only knew then what I know now, well you know the answer to that. List price was a tad over $4000.00.


#4

Simple answer. Most of these are convertibles. Most Hemi’s were bought to drag race and very few people raced convertibles.


#5

They also put Hemi’s in few station wagons. I worked at the St.Louis (Fenton) plant.


#6

No mention of the rarest of all, the 1968 Hemi Darts with only around 50 produced for drag racing.


#7

First comment to mjanmcarl. If the Belvedere Hemi you purchased summer of '67 was an actual '67 build date, then it would have been rarer then you realized. For 1967 Chrysler mandated the Hemi as an option in the GTX or Coronet R/T models only. Still a few did get special ordered into lower trim line cars. My car is another example. It is a 1967 Coronet Deluxe, 2 dr b-pillar post sedan. Ordered and refused, and ordered again before the factory agreed to build it. Two more were built and they are somewhere in the East coast area. The other rare 1967 Hemis built to be delivered to racers (some through dealer shipment?) were the WO and RO race cars. I don’t know production numbers. They were 2 dr hardtops (NHRA demanded more weight in Hemi equipped race cars- the hardtop bodies met that requirement ((the 2 dr post body was lighter and stiffer)).
The next time you could get a hemi in a 2 dr post b-body(coupe) was a roadrunner or superbee.
Second comment to karrow. There was a station wagon class in NHRA. The only one I know of was produced in 1966. My brother and I tried to get our dad to trade in the family '64 polara wagon and order a hemi wagon in '66, didn’t happen.
Third comment to hagerty author: 1970 Roadrunners and Superbees, I thought were available with the 440HP single four barrel engine and that more were ordered with it than 6 packs?


#8

My now-deceased friend Jon Burns, of Westminster,CO, and a friend of his got a lead on a '71 Hemi Cuda convertible, one of three export versions, in France. They retrieved it and had a sympathetic restoration done. They believed it was either one of 11 or one of 13. Assuming those numbers to be correct, I submit that it was one of the rarest Hemi cars ever built. The last rumor I got was that the most recent private sale was for over three million dollars. It had metric gauges, and an ad hoc serial number scratched on an inner fender.


#9

My very first car was a 1968 triple black Road Runner Hemi 4 speed. ordered it from Northland Chrysler in suburban Detroit. Oak Park I believe. With the options I ordered it may very well have been a 1 of 1car.


#10

They sold a Hemi Station Wagon at Union Dodge in Martinsburg WV. When I was in my late teens, I had a good friend in the parts department. He took me into the service bays where it was being serviced. An older couple ordered it to tow their Airstream trailer. I bet it towed the hell out of it! :slight_smile:


#11

The Roadrunner only had 383, and 426.in 68 and 69, with the 440 6bbl being a half year introduction in 69. The 70 model year had 383, hemi and a 440 6bbl only. No single 4bbl 440 in any of that generation Roadrunner. Not sure about the 71/72 models though.


#12

The Superbird is the only Road Runner to receive the 440-4 until 1972, when the GTX disappeared. All 1972-74 Road Runners with 440s received GTX badges.


#13

Here’s some information you probably don’t know about Chrysler’s sales in the late 60’s and early 70’s:

Chrysler sponsored a music group called the Spurrlows of which I was a part of beginning in 1968. We did a program on safety called Music for Modern Americans with 30 singers and musicians. We did hundreds of high school assemblies at which the dealers in the area would bring several Mopars out for the eager students to drool over. Several years ago the director informed me that shortly after the last tour Chrysler sponsored they told him that their sales had had a significant increase with the exposure of the cars across the country on high school campuses.

I’ll bet some of you probably heard the group at your high school. We were provided with a tractor trailer truck for equipment along with 4 station wagons, 2 Dodge, 2 Plymouths, a Chrysler New Yorker and a Dodge Charger 440RT that all of us wanted to drive.


#14

Interesting posts! I’d wanted to trade in my 66 Olds Cutlass (B-Pillar, 2-Door) that had the 442 package (less weight than the HT or Conv.). It had 4.11 posi but I fell in love with the look of the GTX. Was not to be since the Military called so I gave the Olds to my dad (who I found out later was busy racing it).


#15

I have a friend who had a '66 Coronet 4 dr with the Hemi. I cannot say for sure that it was one of the two government cars, nor can I say that it was a numbers-matching car. The person in question has had a lifelong fascination with police, fire, and emergency vehicles, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it was one of the two. I’ll bet he’s kicking himself big time for selling it if it was a factory car.


#16

@johncodman

Hey, John, how are you?

Don’t quote me on this, but I don’t believe any of the surviving 4-door Hemis had anything to do with the police. I know two of the '66 Hemi Coronet 4-doors were sold to private individuals.