Hemi History - British Colombia's first 'Race Hemi' Dodge
It should be noted that besides being "limited production" and "special order only", the '64 Race Hemi cars were also only produced in the U.S. And 1964, being before the days of the "U.S.-Canada Auto Pact" trade agreement, bringing this "U.S.-only model" Dodge into Canada, it would have been subject to significant Canadian import duties - fully 40% to 45% on top of the normal Chrysler-U.S. dealer invoice price! - mart
http://www.driving.ca/Grant+bought+firs ... story.html
January 26, 2011
Jim Grant bought B.C.’s first race hemi Dodge and went racing
Jim Grant received a denial of warranty coverage for his new high performance 1964 Dodge Super Stock Hemi Charger 426 before he even took delivery of the car.
The letter from the sales manager at Vancouver’s Plimley Motors cautioned that a high-speed idle is required to keep the engine from stalling, rough idle would occur, the engine would be slow to warm up, there would be higher than normal oil and fuel consumption, engine noise would be objectionable and maintenance and operating expenses would be high. Jim Grant didn’t care.
He was a $1 an hour mechanic at Plimley’s and still living with his parents when he ordered the new $5,500 Super Stock Dodge 440 hardtop. He selected the Max Wedge 426 high performance engine option with a four-speed manual transmission and was dismayed when Chrysler Corporation announced a mid-year production line change and a two-month delay in building the car. He tried to cancel the order.
He was glad Chrysler Corporation wouldn’t allow him to cancel when the car arrived after four months, powered by the new 426 hemi engine with dual four-barrel carburation with an advertised 425 horsepower. The real horsepower in super tune form was approximately 550. This was the 13th hemi four-speed Super Stock Dodge produced, was the only race hemi like it sold in British Columbia and would be worth a fortune today.
When Grant hit the streets of Vancouver with his new car, there wasn’t anything faster. The back tires went up in smoke as the red Dodge flew off the line at stop signs. “The best thing that ever happened to me was to get into drag racing and getting off the streets,” he recalls. “That probably saved my life.”He went on to set a record time in the B Modified Production class.
Grant grew up in South Burnaby. His father, a master marine mechanic, bought his 16-year-old car-crazy son a 1946 Mercury coupe with a broken crankshaft. Then he showed him how to rebuild a motor. The engine was equipped with period speed equipment including high-compression finned heads, dual carburetors and dual exhausts with headers.
Grant’s next car was an all-original blue and black 1930 Ford Model A coupe which he rebuilt in 1961 with a full race 1956 Buick “nailhead” engine with 13.1 pistons, an Iskenderian cam, 401 heads and six Holley carburetors. With that car, he got the drag racing bug. After three years, he sold the Model A streetrod for $1,500 to buy the Super Stock Hemi Charger Dodge.
After six months of street racing, Jim Grant tuned his hemi powered Dodge for the track and went drag racing. “Every weekend, we were racing somewhere,” he recalls. ‘We started at the old Mission Raceway and went on to race in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver Island, Arlington, Washington, Orange County and the Winternationals at Pomona, California.” He named his car ‘Canadian’ so Americans would know where the car was from.
Canadian II was an American-built 1964 Plymouth Valiant found with a smashed front end in a Seattle salvage yard. Jim Grant chopped the top off and built it into a B Altered drag car using the hemi engine out of his Dodge which he sold sans engine. His new race car produced more than 1,000 horsepower burning nitro methane fuel and 800 horsepower on gasoline.
The Canadian II would set four world drag racing records and held one concurrently for over two years by resetting the record which was unheard of at the time.
The Canadian II also competed as a funny car.
Grant was competing at the highest international level but he found that he was slowly going broke. “There was no money in it and it is very expensive to race,” he recalls of his decision to call it quits.
He went from four-wheel racing to two-wheel competition, building very fast Harley Davidson motorcycles and competing in everything from drag racing to off-road dirt-bike racing. But it wasn’t long before he would return to his first love – hot rods.
In the late ’90s he turned a restored 1935 Ford cabriolet into the ultimate resto rod. He left the body and interior completely stock while installing modern suspension and a 1951 Mercury flathead engine with a GM blower that produced up to 350 horsepower. That is from an engine that originally produced 110 horsepower.
“I spent hours and hours porting and relieving the block, reworking the heads and building the engine to top performance standards,” Grant says.
He used the same engine in his 1932 Ford roadster to challenge the world speed record of 160 miles per hour for a Ford flathead powered vehicle at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Grant’s flathead powered roadster turned in a run of 156.159 in miles per hour in 2005 and won an award for being within three per cent of the world record. Rains cancelled the event on the third day. Jim Grant didn’t get a second run and the chance to beat the speed record. Both his cars have two sets of motor mounts so he can easily swap engines between them.
His 1932 roadster is powered by full race 1956 Chrysler hemi engine with a blower producing between 550 and 600 horsepower. The now retired truck driver spends most of his time in his shop building engines and maintaining his nostalgic 1930s Ford hot rods.
“That’s all I’ve ever done since I was 15 years old, worked on cars and engines,” he says. “I still drive a 600 horsepower car and drive to rod runs and car events up and down the west coast.”
Photo: "The hemi-powered 1964 Dodge 440 purchased new by Jim Grant competing in drag races at Arlington, Washington." http://www.driving.ca/Grant+bought+firs ... story.html
Discussion of the 426 Street / Strip HEMIs.
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