Originally Posted by hampstead38
I don't know much about the 392, but we had a 70 Dodge Charger with a 426 Hemi. That had as much giddyup as any teen-aged boy might want. On the subject of Chrysler Imperial, I haven't seen one of those big boats in years. Maybe they just didn't last in the rusty northeast.
Both were good engines, but in some ways the 392 was better. It was designed from scratch as a hemi and was always meant for regular road use. In its day it was about the most powerful long lived car engine in the world. They only stopped making it because of the cost and weight.
The 426 came later and it was actually an adaptation of the 413. The 413 was a simpler, lighter and cheaper (but still excellent) engine that replaced the hemi. They missed the hemi in the 60s when racing became important to selling cars and so they brought it back.
The new hemi was compromised in some ways because it was adapted from an engine that was never meant to have hemi heads. In other ways it was compromised because it was basically a racing engine too "ornery" for ordinary street and road use.
This is why I say the old 392, in some ways was a better engine. It was a superior power plant for all around use while the 426 was more of a pure racing engine.
By the way drag racing legend Don Garlits stuck with the old 392 as long as he could find them in junkyards. He just couldn't get the new 426 to put out the power and consistency of the old engine. In the end he figured out how to make the new engine work but I think in some ways he still prefers the old 392 "whale motor".
You are right about the hemi Imperials and New Yorkers being rare. In the first place they only made about 1/10th as many as Buick and Cadillac, their main competitors. Then, when they got old, most people were scared of them as used cars. They lost value quickly and got run into the ground with no maintenance or repairs. Then, the hot rodders were combing the used car lots and ad columns for cheap hemis. Thousands of cars were junked for their motors. The rest were eaten by the dreaded salt rust. Very few good examples survive. But if you drove one in top shape you would be sure to be impressed.