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Petty, HEMI®, Elephants – Oh My!

Two legends born in Daytona

March 19, 2014

Fifty years ago, two legends were born on the track in Daytona Beach, Fla. A 26-year-old stock car driver named Richard Petty dominated the field to win the sixth running of the Daytona 500. And under the hood of his Plymouth was a brand new race engine, the 426 HEMI.

Mopar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction the iconic 426 Gen II Race HEMI® engine to motorsports competition. An elephant is incorporated into the logo as a reference to the engine’s “elephant” moniker, which resulted from its imposing size, strength and power.

Mopar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction the iconic 426 Gen II Race HEMI® engine to motorsports competition. An elephant is incorporated into the logo as a reference to the engine’s “elephant” moniker, which resulted from its imposing size, strength and power.

Petty would win the Daytona 500 six more times in his career. His performance in the 1964 season would cement the prowess of the 426 HEMI racing engine. The Mopar brand is celebrating the 50th anniversary of this legendary powerplant by creating a special product line of merchandise.

The celebration of the legendary engine kicked off in January with the unveiling of a 50th anniversary logo that incorporates an elephant in reference to the engine’s moniker, earned from the powerplant’s imposing size, strength, power and longevity. The logo also features the trademark HEMI-orange color that covered the engine and made it even more recognizable.

The new product line of more than 50 unique and exclusive items featuring the HEMI 50th anniversary logo is available to Mopar aficionados at WearMopar.com and includes merchandise such as clothing, decorative lighting, clocks, a pub table, stools and much more. All of the new HEMI 50th anniversary merchandise incorporates HEMI Orange through color blocking, stripes and other fashion forward applications.

The 426 HEMI was originally designed as a pure racing engine – and the same basic design continues to power cars in the National Hot Rod Association drag races today.

Its dominance in stock car racing was so overwhelming that it prompted NASCAR to change its rules, forcing Chrysler to develop a street version of the 426 HEMI before it would be permitted to compete again and causing it to miss the 1965 stock car racing season.

The 426 HEMI race engine was a game-changer in 1964 and the HEMI name still commands respect on drag strips and the street today.

Not bad for a 50-year-old.

Article based on a post by Under The Hood, official blog of the Mopar brand. To read more stories like this, please check out Under The Hood.