During the muscle car era, the Hemi and Six Pack were Chryslers two most powerful engines. Some Mopar fanatics can debate all day about which one is faster, the 426 Hemi or the 440 Six Pack?
The 426 Hemi was faster than the 440 Six Pack in the 1/4 mile and 0-60 elapsed times recorded when the cars were new. The Hemi averaged email@example.com in the 1/4 mile race compared to the Six Pack’s average of firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 426 Hemi average 0-60 time was 5.65 seconds compared to the Six Pack’s average time of 6.75 seconds.
This article will take a close look at the top 10 times for each engine including some head to head racing. In addition, you don’t want to miss when I examine which one may be faster in a street race.
The following speed statistics were learned from my personal experience and research, muscle car videos, books and articles.
Why the 426 Hemi is Faster Than the 440 Six Pack
The average quarter mile and 0-60 times were obtained from the top 10 fastest elapsed times. They were recorded by the following:
- Car magazines
These times were collected when the cars were new.
When I was young my Uncle took us to the local drag strip. That day a bone stock Hemi and Six Pack car went head to head three times. In each race the Six Pack took the Hemi off the line but lost in the top end. I forget what their times were but it was a special moment I’ll never forget.
Quarter Mile Elapsed Times and Speed
The table below lists both of the engines top 10 quickest 1/4 times recorded from 1966-1971 for the Hemi and 1969-1971 for the Six Pack.
|Top 10||426 Hemi|
1/4 mile time & MPH
|440 Six Pack|
1/4 mile time & MPH
|1||13.10 @ 107.00||13.09 @ 110.70|
|2||13.32 @ 107.70||13.47 @ 106.63|
|3||13.32 @ 106.50||13.56 @ 106.50|
|4||13.34 @ 107.52||13.56 @ 105.63|
|5||13.35 @ 107.39||13.62 @ 104.28|
|6||13.35 @ 104.00||13.71 @ 101.23|
|7||13.38 @ 108.00||13.72 @ 106.00|
|8||13.40 @ 105.10||13.75 @ 104.52|
|9||13.44 @ 103.50||13.95 @ 101.00|
|10||13.48 @ 109.00||13.98 @ 104.00|
All ten of the Hemi’s fastest times were 13.48 or faster. The Six Pack only had two times faster than 13.48.
It’s interesting to note the fastest time of both engines was run by the Six Pack.
It’s no surprise the time was recorded with Ronnie Sox as the driver. The car was a 1969 Road Runner A12 and had a 4-speed with 4.10 rear gears.
The fastest Hemi time of 13.10 was recorded with a 1970 Cuda which had a 4-speed and 3.54 rear gears.
To sum up the results above, the 426 Hemi was 0.30 of a second and 1.53 mph faster in the quarter mile than the 440 Six Pack.
Both of these races and many more can be seen in my two articles:
- How Fast is a 426 Hemi? 1/4 Mile & 0-60 Results
- How Fast is a 440 Six Pack or 6-BBL? 1/4 Mile and 0-60 Results
Both articles have more than 10 races each including many amazing original pictures and interesting quotes from the drivers and writers. One of the Hemi times is recorded on a video embedded in the article.
0-60 Elapsed Times
The table below lists both of the engines quickest 0-60 times recorded from 1966-1971. Unfortunately, the magazines didn’t test the zero to sixty as often as the quarter mile.
There are only two tests for the Six pack and seven for the Hemi.
|Top Results||426 Hemi|
|440 Six Pack|
|1||4.8 sec||6.3 sec|
|2||5.1 sec||7.2 sec|
To sum up the results above, the 426 Hemi was 1.1 seconds faster in the 0-60 mph than the 440 Six Pack.
With the low-end torque of the 440, you’d expect the difference between the two to be smaller. Unfortunately, only two tests were available. If there were more, I would think the results would have been closer.
The two slowest Hemi times were with cars having 3.23 rear gear ratios. The fastest time was with a ’68 Charger R/T with unknown gears.
The faster Six Pack time was with a ’69 Super Bee with a 4.10 rear gear ratio and an automatic transmission.
Which 426 had more power? Check out my article, The Differences Between a 426 Max Wedge and Hemi.
Head to Head Race
The May 1970 Hot Rod Magazine drag tested 6 cars for the same article. One was a 1970 Hemi Cuda and the other was a 440+6 Road Runner. Both cars had automatic transmissions and 4.10 gears.
Other than the Road Runner weighing 140 lbs. more, the two cars were evenly matched as you could get. Both cars were raced 10 times, some of them were head to head.
After 10 races the Hemi averaged 13.54 seconds in the quarter mile compared to 13.61 for the 6-BBL. The Hemi was 0.07 second faster.
The fastest run for the Hemi Cuda was 13.39 seconds compared to 13.47 for the 6-BBL, only 0.08 second apart.
More details for that day can be seen in my 6-BBL article listed earlier above.
Did you ever wonder how many liters your Mopar has? Find out in my article, How Many Liters is a 426 Hemi? You can figure it our for any engine.
How About a Street Race?
In almost every Mopar forum out there, somebody will state how the 6-BBL car was faster than the Hemi from stop light to stop light.
I can’t argue with this, and most of the time may be true. The 6-BBL had tremendous low-end torque. Even though both engines were rated at 490 ft. lbs. of torque, the Six Pack’s peaked at 3,200 rpm while the Hemi’s peaked at 4,000 rpm.
A Car Life Magazine article raced a 1968 Hemi GTX against a 1968 GTX with a HP 440 head to head. The HP 440 with a four barrel is no slouch and was rated at 480 ft. lbs. of torque at 3,200 rpm. Therefore, a lot of low-end power similar to its six barrel big brother.
The 440 GTX took the Hemi off the line and was leading for about the first 300 feet of the race. Depending on your stop light distance, 300 feet is about the same distance as stop light to stop light.
Therefore, the HP 440 won the stop light race, but by the end, the Hemi won the 1/4 mile race by 0.53 seconds faster. I’m sure, as the earlier evidence states, a 6-BBL would have made it even closer.
I have detailed images of this race in my Hemi article linked to above if you’re interested.
Find out where the Hemi was actually built in my article, Where Was the 426 Hemi Built?
Any questions or if you have more information you’d like to contribute, send us an email found on our contact page.
Comparing both engines wouldn’t the 440 become faster if it Hemi Heads? Check out my article, Can You Put 426 Hemi Heads on a 440?
Check Out More Related Articles!
- Wikipedia: Chrysler Hemi engine
- Google books: How to Rebuild and Modify Chrysler 426 Hemi Engines
- Car and Driver: From the Archive
- Google Books: Muscle Car Confidential
- Automotive History Preservation Society: The Automotive History Preservation Society’s Magazine Archive