People have been known to swoon under, salivate over and swear at them. Hands down, they’re the most desirable and valuable American muscle cars ever concocted. We are discussing, naturally, the Chrysler Hemi, a landmark engine design that’s been part of the automotive landscape for longer than many of us may have realized. In honor of the hemispherical V-8’s seventh decade of rampaging across the landscape, historian Darwin Holmstrom has authored a Hemi history that’s easy to take in, reasonably priced and guaranteed to look good in your living room or library.
Hemi Muscle: 70 Years isn’t what you’d really call a technical history, but it does hit all the high spots in describing the engine’s evolution, including the fact that Walter P. Chrysler’s team of engineers were experimenting with hemispherical combustion chambers almost from the day the company was founded in 1924. This is an image-intensive work of history, the photos being supplied by such luminaries as David Gooley, David Newhardt, Randy Leffingwell and my longtime pal Marty Schorr, who operates the always rewarding Car Guy Chronicles website. The photography is uniformly beautiful and unquestionably makes the book. You can acquire it for $40 from its publisher, Quarto Knows, which offers a whole slew of transportation books on a variety of topics.