The 426 Hemi always seems to find its way into the conversation when discussing Mopar engines. Many people want to talk about the legendary engine. A common question gear heads ask is, what was the last year for the 426 Hemi?
The last year for the 426 Hemi was 1971 ending its production which began in 1966. A total of 355 Chrysler vehicles was produced with the 426 Hemi in 1971. The vehicles included the Dodge Charger R/T, Dodge Super Bee, Plymouth GTX, Plymouth Road Runner, Plymouth Cuda and Dodge Challenger R/T.
This article will inform you which cars had the Hemi in the last year and how much we’re produced. In addition, I’ll take a close look at why 1971 was the last year.
The following Hemi car specifications and facts were learned from my personal experience and research, Mopar brochures and manuals, webinars, books and articles.
The Last Year of the 426 Hemi (1971)
1971 ended a six-year production run for the 426 Street Hemi. Compared to previous years, not many of the engines made it into cars.
The following table is a list of the 1971 cars the 426 Hemi was produced for and how many.
|1971 Cars With a 426 Hemi||Quantity|
|Dodge Challenger R/T||71|
|Dodge Charger R/T||63|
|Plymouth Road Runner||55|
|Dodge Super Bee||22|
A total of 356 cars was produced in 1971 with the 426 Hemi engine.
Why Chrysler Stopped Making the 426 Hemi after 1971
Chrysler stopped making the 426 Hemi after 1971 due to new vehicle emission regulations, unleaded gasoline, Nascar rule changes, high insurance premiums and gas prices.
During the 1970 State of the Union Address, President Nixon singled out the automobile as the worst polluter of the air.
In 1971 automotive manufacturers started to make changes to their engines to make them more emission friendly.
The first change noticed was the drop in compression ratios. By dropping engine compression, the temperatures and pressures inside the combustion chamber would be less severe and produce fewer oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
Chrysler did their best in 1971 to retain the dignity of their two best engines. The 440 Six Pack dropped their compression ratio very little from 10.5:1 to 10.3:1. This resulted in a 5 horsepower drop from 390 to 385.
The mighty 426 Hemi would be sparred and zero changes were made in ’71 to the greatest engine produced by Chrysler.
When I see a ’71 in person it gives me a feeling of something extra special knowing it’s the last one. It’s exhilarating and sad at the same time.
Car Insurance Premiums
It didn’t take long for car insurance companies to place huge premiums on high horsepower cars.
A Chrysler employee who leased a 1970 company car with the mighty elephant engine wanted to purchase it at the end of the year.
The insurance company, after learning which engine was in the Challenger, gave an insurance quote of $1,500 a year. He gave the car up because the bill was just too expensive.
Nascar Rule Changes
In 1971, a Nascar rule change limited Chrysler wing or aero cars to an engine no larger than 305 cubic inches.
Also that same year, restrictor plates were mandated for the bigger engines limiting the Hemi’s power.
In 1972, Nascar mandated all engines could not exceed 358 cubic inches ending the 426 Hemi’s reign on the oval tracks.
Did they ever make a small block Hemi? Find out in my article, Is a 426 Hemi a Big Block or Small Block?
Hemi Cars Produced in 1971
1971 Plymouth Cuda
115 Plymouth Cudas were produced with the Hemi in 1971:
- 54 automatics
- 61 4-speeds
Check out all the Hemi engines produced prior to the 426 in my article, Hemi Engines Made Before the 426 Hemi.
1971 Dodge Challenger R/T
71 Dodge Challenger R/Ts were produced with the Hemi in 1971:
- 12 automatics
- 59 4-speeds
Find out why the Hemi was banned twice in my article, Why the 426 Hemi was Banned From Nascar.
1971 Dodge Charger R/T
63 Dodge Charger R/Ts were produced with the Hemi in 1971:
- 33 automatics
- 30 4-speeds
Learn more about the carburetors in my article, The Carburetors on a 426 Hemi.
1971 Plymouth Road Runner
55 Plymouth Road Runners were produced with the Hemi in 1971:
- 27 automatics
- 28 4-speeds
Find out what cars had the Hemi in its first year by checking out my article, The First Year of the 426 Hemi.
1971 Plymouth GTX
30 Plymouth GTXs were produced with the Hemi in 1971:
- 19 automatics
- 11 4-speeds
Find out which cars came with the 426 Hemi in my article, What Cars Had the 426 Hemi: Street and Race Hemis.
1971 Dodge Super Bee
22 Dodge Super Bees were produced with the Hemi in 1971:
- 11 automatics
- 9 4-speeds
Check out the production numbers for all years in my article, 426 Hemi Production Numbers.
Read More 426 Hemi Articles!
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- Wikipedia: Chrysler Hemi engine
- Google books: How to Rebuild and Modify Chrysler 426 Hemi Engines
- Google books: The Definitive Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Challenger Guide: 1970-1974
- The Mopar Blog: Mopar.com
- GTS: Galen’s Tag Service
- Hemmings: Hemmings.com
- Wikipedia: Nascar engine