The Chrysler Hemi engine — A popular restoration favorite

2 min readNov 30, 2021
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Gene Bernshtam is a scholar of car restoration. He has gone through a lot of projects that have challenged his creativity as a car enthusiast. He is also quite knowledgeable in engine technology. Today, he features a favorite among car restorers, the Chrysler Hemi engine.

Car restorers view the old Chrysler Hemi engine as a legend among car restoration projects because it is powerful and rare. A lot of its parts still exist, which make restoring one a possibility.

With a Chrysler original design, the Hemi V8 was first mass-produced in 1951. It is named for its hemispherical combustion chambers, as opposed to flat or poppet valves used by nearly all other internal-combustion engine designs. The large volume of the hemispherical chamber allows low compression ratios and gives it a massive torque curve.

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Only about 5000 Hemi engines were manufactured from 1951 — to 1964, with the last ones being even more powerful than those from the 1950s, notes Mr. Bernshtam. These engines are very expensive and hard to find, but they can be found in Japan where many American cars ended up after WWII.

Today, the Hemi engine is becoming an increasingly elusive engine to find, and yet, many car restorers would surely pounce on the first opportunity to own an old busted one, even if it’s only the engine block that remains useful.

The Hemi engine is strong and lightweight. It also happens to fit in well with mostly any muscle car, with only a number of very easy mounting modifications required. For any car enthusiast at heart, getting one is surely all worth it.

Gene Bernshtam has a wide experience in car restoration, making him one of the most important personalities in the automotive community. For more on car restoration, please visit this page.