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What can you HEMI exhibit at WPC Museum

by Bill Cawthon on

The Walter P. Chrysler Museum, in Auburn Hills, Mich. is hosting What Can You HEMI®? through May 2, 2010, a fanciful exhibition featuring five distinctly-unique, super-powered machines.

The special exhibit features a snow-blower, merry-go-round, barbecue grill and ice resurfacer -life-size / oversized inventions built for power with Chrysler’s 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. Rounding out the collection, in the Museum’s lower level Boss Chrysler’s Garage, is a 1956 Chrysler Air Raid Siren powered by a 180-horsepower industrial HEMI V-8.

The four fully-operational inventions were finalists in a 2005 Chrysler-sponsored contest that celebrated the legendary HEMI engine. More than 350 enthusiasts from across the U.S. and Canada submitted sketches and essays up to 300 words highlighting outrageous HEMI-powered ideas. Entries were evaluated on creativity, engineering feasibility, safety and functionality and the company brought the winning designs to life.

The Chrysler Air Raid Siren was retrieved in 2002 from a 90-foot tower adjacent to a fire station in Trenton, Mich., where it served as the city’s primary tornado-civil defense device from 1958 until the 1970s.

What Can You HEMI? exhibition highlights:

HEMI Snow-blower, created by Tim Flucht of Belleville, MI – a one-of-a-kind machine featuring:
an extended eight-foot design to accommodate the engine
345 horsepower and 375 foot pounds of torque
custom precision driveshaft to split the power between the snow blades and drive wheels
a wrist tether, similar to water craft, for quick shut-off
Flowmaster exhaust system and hot rod-style tachometer

HEMI-Go-Round, created by Jonathan Brzon of Topeka, KS – the world’s first HEMI-powered amusement park ride featuring:
a turntable that spins in a 22-foot circumference at eight rotations per minute, compared to the 4 – 5 rpms of traditional carousels
a Borla exhaust system
a push-button start and remote control unit for operation
one-fifth scale models of a HEMI-powered Chrysler 300C, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Ram
performance design cues, including an orange and black paint scheme reminiscent of the 426 cubic-inch HEMI of the 1970s

HEMI on Ice, created by Dan Burg of Lindenhurst, IL – a resurfacer that smooths ice at record-setting speed featuring:
a HEMI engine in place of a traditional propane-powered model
custom driveshaft to handle increased torque
Mopar performance headers and a Borla exhaust system with chrome tips
custom ASA wheels and Goodyear 16-inch Workhorse Extra Grip Radials
a customized Dodge Viper seat with a five-point harness for the operator
a custom HEMI paint theme

HEMI Grill, created by Chrysler Group LLC – a monster barbecue featuring:
an exterior covered in more than 330 square feet of stainless steel
front positioning of the engine’s alternator and battery to drive an electric motor to power the heating elements
a cooking surface and power to simultaneously grill 240 hot dogs in under three minutes

Chrysler Air Raid Siren – Introduced to confuse and deafen the enemy during war-time, the Chrysler Air Raid Siren became an instrument of civil defense. It evolved into an industrial 331 cubic-inch HEMI-powered monster that was louder than any steam whistle or horn ever produced. The siren on exhibit was produced in 1956 at the Chrysler Trenton Engine Plant and purchased by the City of Trenton, Mich., in 1958.

The Walter P. Chrysler Museum acquired the siren from the Trenton Fire Department in 2002 and Chrysler Historical Vehicle Collection staff spent four years restoring it to its original condition.

What Can You HEMI? is available for viewing with regular Museum admission of $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for children ages 6 – 12. Children five and under are admitted free.

The Museum is located on Chrysler Group LLC’s headquarters complex in Auburn Hills, Mich., accessible from I-75 at exit 78 (Chrysler Dr.). Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday.

For discount admission coupons or additional information, visit Walter P. Chrysler Museum website.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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