Editor’s Note: All references to horsepower rating in this piece pertain to the power plant’s bhp rating, or brake horsepower. Brake horsepower is the measurement of an engine’s horsepower before the loss incurred by the gearbox, alternator, differential, water pump, and other accessories such as power steering pump, muffled exhaust systems, etc.
“Bigger is better.” You wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find instances in life where this well-worn cliché is most certainly untrue; but in the mind of most gearheads, bigger is ALWAYS better. Bigger tires, bigger brakes and of course, bigger motors always put a smile on the face of your average racer, rodder or modder.
In terms of motors, perhaps no auto manufacturer is more closely associated with large displacement lumps than Chrysler. From the 1950s straight through to today, the House of Pentastar has delighted muscle fanatics with the simple formula of creating more power with the aid of more cubic inches.
In celebration of this axiom, we thought it would be fun to take a look at Chrysler’s biggest and baddest behemoths. So with a salute towards the good folks in Auburn Hills, here are the top ten largest displacement Chrysler engines.
10. 360 c.i.d. (5.9L) V8
The Chrysler 360 had a bit of an uneasy birth. When released in 1971 at the zenith of the first musclecar era, the 360 was judged to be a low performance smog-motor, designed to meet the emissions requirements set out by the EPA for 1972.
A low-compression plant at 8.4:1, the 360 had a bore and stroke of 4.00 x 3.58, and was initially only equipped with a two-barrel carburetor. For its day, the 360’s 155 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque seemed middling and brought frowns to the faces of gearheads.
During the oil crisis of the mid 1970s, the 360 would be developed into a performance engine of 245 bhp and 320 lb-ft output for the 1974 model year, and thus finally gained acceptance from Mopar enthusiasts.
9. 6.1L (372 c.i.d.) Hemi V8
Leaping forward more than thirty years, we come to a modern high-output Hemi, the 6.1. Derived from the ubiquitous 5.7L Hemi in 2006, this motor featured a revised block with modified oil squirters and coolant paths, and came with a forged crankshaft, beefier connecting rods and lighter pistons.
An improved aluminum intake manifold also joined the party. With a bore and stroke of 4.055 x 3.58 and a compression ratio of 10.3:1, the 6.1L put out 425 hp and 420 lb-ft. Found in various SRT models from 2005-2010, the 6.1 Hemi showed that Chrysler was serious again about being on top of the musclecar heap.
8. 6.2L (376.3 c.i.d) Supercharged Hemi V8
In eighth place is a pair of blown beasts in the current Fiat-Chrysler lineup, the 6.2L Supercharged Hemi from the Hellcat cars, and the even hotter variant found in the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
Released to much fanfare in 2015, the 6.2 broke new ground in musclecar output with its twin-screw IHI supercharger capable of producing 11.6 psi of boost. The Hellcat engine can unleash 707 hp at 6000 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm – astonishing figures for a production V8 with a factory warranty for sure – but one that would be eclipsed in 2017 by an engine made by, you guessed it, Chrysler!
That engine would be found in the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, a drag strip oriented but fully street legal monster. The Demon version boasts 97 modified parts, including a larger 2.7L supercharger with an increased boost pressure of 14.5 psi, and a new crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshaft, and valvetrain.
All these changes result in 808 hp and 717 lb-ft on 91 octane gas for the street, and a ludicrous 840 hp and 770 lb-ft on 100+ octane race fuel for the track, making the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon the world’s quickest accelerating car.
7. 383 c.i.d. (6.3 L) V8
Chrysler introduced a new range of big-block V8 motors in 1958, supplanting the first generation of “FirePower” Hemi engines, and labeled them the B engines. Known as “wedge” motors owing to the shape of their combustion chambers, they were released in a variety of displacements including 383 c.i.d.
With a bore of 4.25-inches and a short stroke of 3.375-inches the engine was suited to high rpm operation to generate power, and as such became a popular alternative to its c.i.d. monster stable-mates like the 426 Hemi and 440.
This popularity saw the 383 continue to be developed throughout the 1960s, ultimately resulting in a 335 hp and 425 lb-ft output peak in the 1970 model year, where it could be found in a variety of Pentastar models from the Plymouth ‘Cuda to the Dodge Charger.
6. 6.4L (392 c.i.d.) Hemi V8
The tale of this engine size is a two-part story spanning over fifty years. The original 392 raised-deck Hemi engine was introduced in 1957, had a 4.00-inch bore and 3.906-inch stroke, and came in single four-barrel and dual four-barrel carbureted versions, as well as a rare Bendix fuel injected version in the 1958 Chrysler 300D that had an output of 390 horsepower.
Drag racers loved the 392 for its output and ease of modification, and as such the engine became a dragstrip legend well into the 1970s.
The modern 392 Hemi was unleashed in 2011 as a replacement for the 6.1L Hemi in the Dodge Challenger SRT8. Codenamed “Apache,” this engine was based on the 5.7L Hemi. With an initial output of 470 hp and 470 lb-ft, the engine was given a boost to 485 hp and 475 lb-ft in 2015, and can currently be found in the Dodge Challenger and Charger, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, and in further modified form in various Ram pickups. A much loved Hemi for the modern era.
5. 400 c.i.d. (6.5L) V8
The 400 was another iteration of Chrysler’s B Engine, and was released in 1972 to replace the aforementioned 383. An increased bore of 4.342-inch was the main difference, and was the largest used in any production Chrysler V8 at that time.
Three variants of the 400 were available, differing in carburetor and exhaust configurations, with the hot version being a four-barrel/dual exhaust design outputting 260 hp and 410 lb-ft The 400 could be found in various Chrysler family cars and trucks until 1978, when Chrysler big-block production ceased.
4. 413 c.i.d. (6.8L) V8
The 413 was a development of Chrysler’s RB (raised block) engine, first released alongside the previously mentioned B Engine in 1958. It could be found in Chrysler cars up until 1965, and in trucks as late as 1979.
A wide range of configurations of the 413 were released during its long run resulting in many power outputs, with the top dog being the 1962 iteration featuring two 4-barrel carbs and a 10.1 compression ratio. Its output was a prodigious 380 hp at 5,000 rpm and an astonishing 525 lb-ft at 2800 rpm.
3. 426 Wedge, 426 Hemi (6.9L) V8
Another tale of two engines here, with one of them being amongst the most notable performance engines of all time.
The 426 Wedge was another variant of the raised block RB engine with a 4.25-inch bore, and two compression ratios of 11.0 or 12.0:1 depending on configuration. The 426 Wedge was the main performance engine in Chrysler’s catalogue from 1963 until 1965, and was rated at 421 hp when equipped with ram-inducted, dual four-barrel carburetors. It could be found in various Dodges and Plymouths, most notably in the B-body cars.
The other engine in this story is the one that replaced the Wedge, the legendary 426 Hemi “Elephant” motor. So nicknamed for it’s mammoth size and weight, the 426 Hemi was originally designed for the 1964 NASCAR season and became available in production vehicles the following year.
With a 4.25-inch bore and a 3.75-inch stroke coupled with a 10.25:1 compression ratio, Chrysler understated the Hemi’s output at 425 hp, possibly to enable more buyers to afford the insurance.
In actuality, it was putting out close to 450 brake horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque when equipped with twin Carter AFB carburetors. As it often nearly doubled the price of a car equipped with it, the motor ended up being a rare option, which explains why 426 Hemi cars occasionally fetch millions of dollars at auction today.
Found only in Dodge and Plymouth performance vehicles, and discontinued after MY 1971, the Elephant may not have been the largest Pentastar motor ever produced, but it surely is the most famous.
2. 440 c.i.d. (7.2L) V8
In the number two spot on our top ten is the largest displacement engine available in Chrysler cars during the musclecar heyday of the 1960s and early ‘70s, the 440 V8. The last variant of the fabled RB Engine, the 440 was produced between 1965 and 1978, and could be found in many cars and trucks across the Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth lines.
With a pancake-sized bore of 4.32-inch and a stroke of 3.75-inch the 440 could pump out 385 hp and a stump-pulling 490 lb-ft in “Six-Pack” configuration consisting of three 2bbl Holley Carbs and a 10.3:1 compression ratio.
When so equipped, the 440 actually bested the 426 Hemi at the drag strip owing to its lighter weight and greater torque.
1. 8.0L, 8.3L, and 8.4L (488, 505 and 512.5 c.i.d.) Viper V10
And the number one Mopar engine on our list is actually a family of powerplants: The 8.0L, 8.3L and 8.4L V10s found in the various versions of the Dodge Viper and in a smattering of Dodge Ram trucks.
Designed and partially manufactured under the auspices of then subsidiary Lamborghini, the 8.0L V10 first appeared in the 1992 Dodge Viper. It shook the automotive world with its then staggering 400 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.
A fairly constant program of development saw the motor’s output increase by 50 hp and 25 lb-ft in 1996. This was followed by a third generation that saw the displacement bumped to 8.3L and a substantial jump in output to 510 hp and 535 lb-ft in 2006.
Another upgrade occurred in 2008, with a 0.1 increase in displacement and the implementation of variable valve timing, which rocketed the output up to 600 hp and 560 lb-ft. The V10 received its final tweak in preparation for the all new 2013 SRT Viper. Keeping the same displacement, but receiving a sprinkling of SRT black magic boosted power to 640 hp and 600 lb-ft.
Sadly, Viper and V10 production has just ceased at the time of this article, perhaps a permanent victim of the coming intensified CAFE standards. The V10, and possibly all large displacement engines shall be missed.