This engine was the perfect V8 engine for the time and now it shows off the history of the HEMI engine.
The 426 Hemi is possibly the most iconic engine in American history and certainly the most recognizable of the Mopar bunch for its incredible performance and efficient power supply. Often we regard the Hemi as the first to ever produce more than one horsepower per cubic inch of displacement, making it a pioneer in the automotive industry. However, while this intense powerhouse is wildly famous, it was far from the first Mopar to utilize the concept of the hemispherical head design. Rather that title goes to the "Fire Power" V8, which first saw use in cars like the Chrysler Imperial and Chrysler 300, the first car to ever achieve 300 horsepower. The engine we're looking at today may be smaller than the 426, but it definitely still packs a punch.
This is a 1956 Hemi "Fire Power" Chrysler V8, which utilized 354 cubic inches of displacement to push out a respectable 280 horsepower in its prime. This was an impressive figure in the '50s, but nowadays, the old V8 has its edge as it has been sitting alone abandoned for years. That was until a couple of guys picked it recognized the engine's potential and began taking it apart for restoration. The first step of the process seemed easy enough, though it was clear that the car had been sitting for quite some time. After removing the intake, water pump, and all other external parts, it became pretty obvious what the shop was dealing with. Everything from the lifters to the water pump was seized up and not wanting to move but, with a bit of "motivation" from some hand tools, the stuck-on parts finally relented, and the job was done when it came to unbolting everything.
Finally, it came time to put everything back together with some upgraded parts that would make a big difference in how the thing runs and drives. First, there doesn't appear to be any significant damage throughout the old V8 powerhouse which is perfect because this engine is going under the hood of a '56 Imperial to give the car a brand new stock driving experience. Nick and his apprentice will build the motor to be as close to factory specs as possible rather than sheer power despite the forged crankshaft. This means that the Imperial will be one fiery cruiser and allow the driver to experience the feeling of an original Mopar Classic for the first time in decades.