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Old 07-28-2010, 09:21 PM
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Hotrodding and inline sixes

This thread is prompted by the fact that I don't understand the US hotrodding scene sufficiently well to know enough answers...

I know that the vast majority of hotrods are V8s. Have been ever since hotrodding began and the ubiquitous flatheads from Henry Ford were augmented by the emerging Chryslers, Caddies and ultimately ohv V8s from everyone.

But one of the hallmarks of the hotrod's attraction, surely, is the desire to be different?

Performance is important, obviously. There's a need, then, to be different and to have some power to twist axles on takeoff.

Is there a place for an Australian Hemi 6 engine in this field?

Would there be enough 'difference' in one of these to attract people to look at them instead of one of the home-grown US engines?

I have seen pics of Slant 6-powered hotrods. They are certainly different! But not being there to move among the shows and look around drag strips and other places where rods might congregate, I have no idea how many people think this way.

The Hemi 6 had its roots in Chrysler's desire to see how light they could build an engine. This was in the mid-sixties, when seven main bearing engines were becoming the norm, when thinwall casting techniques were being perfected and engine development was going places.

It didn't go past a design exercise in the US, but in Australia there was a need for a new inline six for Chrysler Australia's big seller, the Valiant. With the local rules about 'Australian content' and the sales taxes that went along with those rules, it was important for Chrysler Australia to actually build engines here. The Slant was getting long in the tooth (it had been too long in the stroke since birth...) and this 'design exercise' was an ideal foundation for the Australian engineers to build on.

They created the 'hemi' head and went into production with some powerful engines in 215, 245 and 265 cubic inch sizes. Most of you will have heard of the triple-Weber carburetted versions that turned out 305hp for production sedan racing here in 1972 and which gave the 351 Fords a fright.

The engine remained in production until after Chrysler sold out to Mitsubishi, it being phased out in 1981. Along the way it powered trucks as well as cars, ambulances and industrial applications.

It had shortcomings. All engines have shortcomings. Camshaft end float, harmonic periods, all the things that afflict long engines. But it remains a reliable engine and a good basis for a high power build.

So do you guys think there is a market (however small...) in the US for a kitted out Hemi 6 giving about 320hp as well as good streetability in traffic, docile road manners and reasonable economy for hotrod use?
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:03 PM
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yes! i saw an article on a cummins diesel powered rat rod an it was definatly an original idea. any time you try something new you will get attention, and a straight 6 hot rod will definatly atract attention.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:42 PM
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only question: which transmissions fit?
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:47 AM
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Good logical question there...

The original design of the Hemi 6 block provided it with the bellhousing bolt pattern of the small block V8. With the proviso that the starter motor was mounted up high alongside No 6 cylinder on the left.

In production in Australia, for some reason, it became necessary to move the dowels and lower bolt holes outboard by about an inch on each side. But that's not the whole story.

Some blocks were made with the small block pattern, others were made with metal there that will allow the small block pattern to be drilled into it. But most won't.

We will be making an adaptor to fit up these most common blocks to an A833 or an A230 (or even A745). If someone specifically wants to fit an automatic, we'll supply an engine with a block that's been drilled to the small block pattern. Of course, one of these blocks would take a small block bellhousing for an A833, but flywheel size would differ.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:57 AM
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Does the Hemi slant six retain the 4 main bearing layout?
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:06 AM
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If he's talking about the hemi inline 6's I've seen photos of, it's a straight up and down six, like a 300 Ford or 292 Chevy, not a slanted motor.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:17 AM
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I see, thanks TI. So it has 7 main bearings, then. That's a plus, for sure. If there's support for parts like bearings, gaskets, OS pistons and rings, etc. and it was one of the larger engines and not a 215 cid, there might be some interest.

Cost-wise, the Webers would need to go in favor of a square bore 4-barrel intake, IMHO- which are available.

But good luck.

Last edited by cobalt327; 07-29-2010 at 05:10 AM. Reason: Add thanks, slight edit.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:26 AM
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That's right... it's not a slant at all...

It's about two inches longer than a Slant 6 and weighs in at about 150 to 160lbs lighter than the Slant 6. It is a seven main bearing engine.

We're aiming to produce the engine without the Webers. For one thing, they wouldn't fit into the engine bay of a Slant 6 car due to interference with the brake master cylinder and/or booster, and we want to build these engines to a standard so we can supply them with:

Workshop manuals
4bbl manifolds and data on specific carby or carbies
Fitment kits
US-based spares and backup

Our intention for the US market is to supply only the 245 engine, but bored 0.040" (makes it a 250ci engine) with the option of an 0.060" for future reconditioning. We will carry spares for this purpose.

We do see the possibility of multiple 2" SU carburettors for someone who wants a further 'difference'.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:34 AM
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What you will need is to create a buzz, get some good exposure.

You might consider the feasibility of doing up an A-body (or whatever) w/all the bells and whistles for introduction in the car mags.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:41 AM
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Hey Ray, here is another market you might consider,I am a marine eng. mechanic and although I only work on big diesels,the demand for using an inline six could be exploited.
Since an inline is inhrently narrower than a V8 it would give a boatbuilder the choice of installing the engines closer together,this is a big plus on a boat as you can get better centerline thrust and thus the ability to run on one engine at planing speed,it would also make it easier to trailer a bigger boat by narrowing the beam,im talking 25 to 30 footers here.Usually this range of boat has such a wide beam when equipped with twin inboards,makes the boat not trailable due to width laws.
Just a suggestion,there may something additional there for you!!!
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:59 AM
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I see a Public Relations agent in your future.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:34 AM
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It's interesting what people do with engines...

I learned just a few weeks ago that the Hemi 6 was popular with some farmers in one area because they converted them to 3-cylinder compressors for use in grain handling.

With three cylinders driving them and three cylinders pumping air, they loved them.

As for boats, wouldn't they have to be set up with one engine turning the opposite direction? That's the normal thing with twin engines in boats?

Not impossible, of course, but another diversion. As we're making a gear drive for the cam, it wouldn't be impossible to put an extra idler in the gearset and run the cam backwards, that would enable the engine to turn backwards.

What's the common engine used in these now?

Anyway, it's good to see some interest. We're investing a lot of time at the moment doing flowbench work, designing and investigating parts and sources, collecting engines for remanufacturing etc, we're counting on getting a good response when we put them on the market.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:47 AM
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Remember the late 60's in-line 6 cyl's that came in the pont. firebirds?
4 bbl intakes with holley carb. One of the girls in my neighborhood got one for a graduation gift and let me drive it once. I didn't even know it was a 6 banger till she opened to hood.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:10 PM
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"I know that the vast majority of hotrods are V8s. Have been ever since hotrodding began and the ubiquitous flatheads from Henry Ford "

That would be the magical 400HP V8, anything less is not a hotrod , and sorry but a six will never have the right exhaust note to it. I think you're looking at the wrong target audience BUT there are 2 perfect target audiences:

1) JEEP, a 4.0 liter Chrysler hemi-head straight six would be heaven for mud slingers. Think direct port injection, twin Saab turbos, inter-cooler and water injection, HEAVEN. More than enough to get the job done but not enough to blow-out the drive train.

2) Austin Healey 3000. They are making reproductions in merry old England but a Chevy SB just doesn't seem right, proper or correct for this sports car. An Australian straight six makes more sense, it's from the common wealth and it's NOT Made in USA. You should be able to mount the Webers on a wrong-side drive car Now to mount a T-5 or T-56.

Have fun with it, sounds like a money maker.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldBodyman
"I know that the vast majority of hotrods are V8s. Have been ever since hotrodding began and the ubiquitous flatheads from Henry Ford "

That would be the magical 400HP V8, anything less is not a hotrod , and sorry but a six will never have the right exhaust note to it. I think you're looking at the wrong target audience BUT there are 2 perfect target audiences:

.
Most of early hot rodding history was small flatheads and I6's. Most probably were pushing 200hp at most.

a hotrod is what you want, no set rules other than you build it how you like it.


I think it could be a cool addition to hotrodding, though i think a single 4bb, duel 2bbls or a 6pack ( made with 2bbls would be cool), the parts would have to be able to get here, i wouldent mess with oddbal carbs or engine parts.

Last edited by TireTracks; 07-29-2010 at 08:37 PM.
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