The FirePower engine was the first-ever HEMI from Chrysler and was created when the automaker applied hemispherical cylinder heads to its existing overheard valve V8 engine. The first FirePower engine displaced 5.4-liters and produced 180 horsepower, however in one application, the Chrysler C-300, the HEMI showed its true potential and churned out 355 horsepower thanks to twin 4-barrell carbs and a racing-derived camshaft.
Hagerty recently got its hands on a Chrysler FirePower V8 and rebuilt the engine of the course of 10 months, filming the entire process for us to view in time-lapse form on YouTube. The collector car insurance company couldn’t lock down a C-300’s HEMI V8, not surprisingly, but managed to locate a standard version of the 5.4-liter motor to upgrade themselves. The engine they sourced, which could have been plucked from a New Yorker, Saratoga or Imperial, had certainly seen better days before Hagerty technicians got to work on it.
Upgrades applied to the FirePower V8 by Hagerty include a Holley fuel pump and regulator, an aftermarket intake and exhaust manifold kit via Hell’s Gate Hot Rods, a Stromberg carb and fuel line kit and more. Hagerty didn’t get the chance to dyno it, but it’s safe to say the newly transformed HEMI is producing plenty more power than when it left Chrysler’s production plant over 60 years ago.
Check out the rebuild in the time lapse video above.