BACK in the early 70s if you were talking performance cars you were probably talking about big V8s; except in the case of the six-cylinder Australian Charger.
The Aussie Charger differed quite dramatically from the US version which was most famous for its role in the Dukes Of Hazzard. The Aussie Charger is based off the Mopar A-body platform whereas the American car is a larger B-body model and no parts interchange.
To power the Australian Charger Chrysler engineers designed an inline and upright six-cylinder to replace the 225ci slant six, that Chrysler Australia was using at the time, and the marketing people came up with the name Hemi Six.
In its biggest incarnation, the 265 cubic inch Hemi six was a giant killer and the triple-Weber E49 spec engine could run door-handle-to-door-handle with a Phase-III Falcon. Unfortunately they stopped making Hemi sixes in 1981 so it never saw the benefit of modern roller camshafts, electronic fuel Injection or an alloy head.
Fast forward to the new millennium and a few die-hard fans are applying modern technology to the old Hemi six, and with fantastic results.
Brad Keem is just one of those fans and his 1972 Charger runs a strengthened 265 Hemi with fuel injection and rather large Garrett turbo. The fuel of choice is E85 and the car has gone low nines on the quarter mile, which is pretty decent for an all-steel Charger. They aren’t known for their light weight.
At the recent King Of The Street meeting at Heathcote Raceway, Brad made it all the way through the field to meet Quentin Feast’s Drag Challenge winning twin-turbo Torana in the final. With Quentin’s car capable of mid-eights it wasn’t the most fair of match-ups, but Brad kept him honest with the Charger pushing hard all the way down the track to finish runner up in one of the toughest streetcar fields in the country.
Check out this short video and listen to that Hemi six engine howl.
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