In the current, nearly ubiquitous Dodge commercials, Vin Diesel’s gravelly voice proclaims that the company’s cars are a “brotherhood of muscle.” The ads feature Challengers, Chargers, and Durangos drifting, fishtailing, and generally wreaking mayhem. They deftly conjure what Mopar aficionados have always known: when it comes to big displacement and big horsepower engines – the House of Pentastar has always served things up right.
For almost 70 years, Chrysler has followed the axiom of providing performance-conscious automotive consumers with engines containing large, saucer-sized pistons that work to churn out a pretty impressive number of ponies. Jam one of those beasts into a sporting coupe or sedan and presto! You have the recipe for one-helluva muscle car. But what, you ask, are the top ten most powerful Mopar production street engines in this illustrious history? Read on and find out!
10. 383ci (6.3-liter) V-8
In 1958, Chrysler introduced a new range of big-block V8 motors intended to replace the first generation of “FirePower” Hemi engines, and labeled them B-engines.
Released in a variety of displacements, the most powerful of the Bs was the 383. With a bore of 4.25 inches and a short stroke of 3.375 inches, the engine relied on high-rpm operation to generate power. As such, it became a popular alternative to its contemporary stable-mates, the slower-revving but larger displacement, 440, and 426 Hemi.
This popularity saw the 383 continue to be developed throughout the 1960s, ultimately resulting in a peak output of 335 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque in the 1970 model year. This is when it was given the 383 Magnum moniker and subsequently placed in a variety of Pentastar vehicles, ranging from the Plymouth ‘Cuda to the Dodge Charger.
9. 440ci (7.2-liter) V-8
The next motor on our list is the monster-sized 440. The second-largest-displacement street engine ever produced by Chrysler, the 440 was the last iteration of the raised block or “RB” variant of the B-engine design.
The 440 had quite a long production run from 1965 to 1978, and could be found in a wide variety of cars and trucks across the Dodge, Chrysler, and Plymouth lines.
With a precision cast-iron block, light-wall construction, iron heads, and a pancake-like bore of 4.32 inches with a 3.75-inch stroke, the 440 went through a number of iterations that saw its power output rise throughout the ’60s.
In “Six-Pack” configuration that consisted of a 10.3:1 compression ratio and three, 2-barrel Holley carburetors, the 440’s peak power reached 390 hp and a tank-like 490 lb-ft of torque during the 1969 to 1971 model years.
8. 345ci (5.7-liter) Hemi V-8
Moving forward 50 years, we come to the most widely produced modern, high-output Chrysler V-8 – the 5.7-liter Hemi.
First released in 2003 for Dodge Ram pickups to complement the 5.9 liter Magnum engine, the “five-seven” is a 90-degree, two-valve-per-cylinder, pushrod design, with a bore of 3.917 inches and a stroke of 3.578 inches.
Initially putting out 345 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, the workhorse 5.7-liter was heavily modified in 2009 with the addition of revised cylinder heads and intake, Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT) and a Multi Displacement System (MDS), which offered improved mileage by utilizing cylinder-deactivation at cruising speed.
Known internally within Chrysler as “Eagle” the modified 5.7-liter puts out 395hp and 410 lb-ft of torque in certain applications and is a much beloved, modern street Hemi.
7. 413ci (6.8-liter) Max Wedge V8
The first version of Chrysler’s raised-block or RB design, the 413 was, for a time, the most powerful motor in the Mopar lineup. Introduced in 1959, the 413 made its initial appearance in Chrysler’s New Yorker, Imperial, and 300 series, where it stayed until 1964.
The 413 had a 4.18-inch bore, and like all RB engines, a 3.75-inch stroke. The motor went through a variety of versions, but in 1962, it was massaged into a limited production, high-performance engine known as the 413 Max Wedge for the shape of its combustion chambers.
The 413 Max Wedge actually had a displacement of 425 cubic inches and was outfitted with solid lifters, dual valve springs (to combat valve float over 6000 rpm), magnafluxed rods, and short-ram induction manifolds. With an 11.0:1 compression ratio, this configuration was good for a factory-rated output of 415 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.
6. 426ci (7.0-liter) Max Wedge V-8
The next three stops on our countdown consist of engines that all share the same factory brake horsepower rating, but represent a nearly 60-year span between them. For the sake of simplicity, I thought we’d cover them in chronological order.
First up is the 426 Max Wedge, which was another variant of the raised block RB engine. Introduced in 1963, this wedge had a 4.25-inch bore, and three compression ratios of 11.0:1, 12.0:1, or 12.5:1 depending on the configuration.
The 426 Wedge served as Chrysler’s main performance engine until the release of the 426 Hemi, and could be found in various Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth automobiles – most notably in the B-body cars.
In its final “Stage III” form, the 426 Max Wedge featured high-flow cylinder heads, severe-duty casting blocks with improved oil feed, a cross-ram intake manifold, two Carter 4-barrel carburetors and a high-flow cast-iron exhaust manifold.
With all these goodies on board, the 426 Max Wedge put out a factory rated 425hp and 480 lb-ft. Quite a monster for its day.
5. 426ci (7.0-liter) Hemi V-8
The next engine in this trio is the one that replaced the Max 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 actually understated the Hemi’s output at 425hp, possibly to enable more buyers to afford the insurance.
In actuality, it was putting out close to 450hp 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 configuration 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 May 1971, the Elephant is a good candidate for the most famous car engine in history.
4. (372ci) 6.1-Liter Hemi V-8
Leaping forward in time almost 55 years from the release of the Elephant, we come to the final player in the 425hp club – the 6.1. A modern high-output Hemi derived from the ubiquitous 5.7-liter Hemi of 2006, this motor featured a revised block with modified oil squirters and coolant paths. It also 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 6.1-liter put out 420 lb-ft of torque along with its 425 ponies.
Found in various SRT models from 2005-2010, the “six-one” showed that Chrysler was serious again about being on top of the musclecar heap.
3. 392ci (6.4-Liter) Hemi V-8
The modern 392 Hemi was unleashed in 2011 as a replacement for the 6.1-liter in the Dodge Challenger SRT8.
Codenamed “Apache,” the 392 was (like the 6.1) a development of the 5.7-liter “Eagle” Hemi. Its displacement advantage over the 6.1 was the result of a bore increase of .9-mm and a lengthening of the stroke by 3.7-mm.
The 392 block was a unique casting, featuring modifications to the cooling and internal breathing passages. Other changes as compared to the 6.1-liter included new aluminum heads, modified runners, increased valve size, and an active intake system. VCT, and MDS cylinder deactivation system in cars with automatic transmissions were also new.
These changes initially resulted in an improved output of 470hp and 470 lb-ft. The engine was given a boost to 485hp and 475 lb-ft in 2015. The 6.4 can currently be found in the Dodge Challenger, Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, Dodge Durango, and in various Ram pickups. A much loved Hemi for the modern era.
2. 488,505, and 512.5ci (8.0-liter, 8.3-liter, and 8.4-liter ) Viper V-10
The second most-powerful Mopar street engine on our list is actually a family of powerplants – the 8.0-liter, 8.3-liter, and 8.4-liter V-10s 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 one-time Chrysler subsidiary, Lamborghini, the 8.0-liter V-10 first appeared in the 1992 Dodge Viper. It shook the automotive world with its then-staggering 400hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.
A fairly constant program of development saw the motor’s output increase by 50hp and 25 lb-ft in 1996. This was followed by a third generation that saw the displacement bumped to 8.3-liters and a substantial jump in output to 510hp 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 600hp and 560 lb-ft.
The V-10 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 640hp and 600 lb-ft.
Sadly, Viper and V-10 production has ceased, perhaps a permanent victim of intensified CAFE standards. The V-10 shall be missed.
1. 376ci (6.2-liter) Supercharged Hemi V-8
And the most powerful motor in Mopar history is actually a trio of blown beasts in the current Fiat-Chrysler lineup, the 6.2-liter Supercharged Hemi from the Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye Challengers, 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 original Hellcat engine could unleash 707hp at 6000 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm. New revisions for the 2019 model year bump those power and torque figures up by 10 ponies and 6 lb-ft of torque respectively, to 717 hp and 656 lb-ft. Astonishing figures for a production V-8 with a factory warranty, 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 2.7-liter supercharger with an increased boost pressure of 14.5 psi, and a new crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshaft, and valvetrain.
All these changes resulted in 808hp and 717 lb-ft on 91 octane gas for the street, and a ludicrous 840hp and 770 lb-ft on 100+ octane race fuel for the track. This makes the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon the world’s most powerful and quickest accelerating musclecar.
In 2019, SRT will release a new Hellcat Challenger model known as the Redeye, which combines the street flexibility of the Hellcat with the dominating power output of the drag-focused Demon.
It has stronger connecting rods and pistons, a higher 6500-rpm redline, modified ram-air airbox, an additional dual-stage fuel pump, and an improved lubrication system. Along with the larger supercharger with a boost pressure of 14.5 psi, gives the Redeye engine an output of 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque. Can’t wait to test one!
At the time this article was written, the all-new Mopar crate 426 Hemi (Hellephant) was days away from being announced at SEMA 2018. Seeing as it has yet to see any real street-time, our list still holds true. But rest assured, Mopar’s new Hellcat-based, aluminum block, 426 monster will soon grace the digital pages of Street Muscle, so stay tuned.