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Meet the new (and ’68) Hemi Under Glass (with video)

by David Zatz on

Mike Mantel, owner and driver of the iconic Hemi Under Glass,  will have a new version of the car next year.  Mantel pointed out that new versions are part of the Hemi Under Glass heritage; in the 1960s, it was updated with each new model year.  (The first car, built  in 1965, was cannibalized for a later car).

Ray Alexander photo from Allpar.com

The Hemi Under Glass was one of the first racing cars with the powerful 426 Hemi, nestled under the huge rear glass of a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda.  The tremendous power and traction led to full quarter-mile wheelstands, and a legend was born.

Recently, Bob Riggle, the 1968 Hemi Under Glass’ driver, appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage. Leno got a ride with Riggle, but a poor track surface and short shutdown area led to a roll-over. Riggle selected Mantel to take over the 1968 Hemi Under Glass Barracuda, the longest-performing car in the series; it ran at the U.S. Nationals, match-raced and beat the Little Red Wagon at Englishtown, NJ, and performed at Goodwood in England.  Mantel added, “We will continue to tour with the ’68 car, and plan to have it where ever the new generation car goes so people can enjoy seeing more than 50 years of history and evolution of the brand. “

hemi under glass Hellephant

Mantel has been considering a new generation Hemi Under Glass for three years; it helps that Mopar now sells a 426 Hemi “Hellephant” engine with 950 pound-feet of torque and 1,000 horsepower.  The donor car will most likely be a Dodge Challenger.

He credited being at the LX Spring Festival in Pomona with the final motivational push. “It was packed with new generation 300s, Chargers, Challengers, and young enthusiasts. … Everyone who saw our concept drawing was extremely excited about it, including the promoter. The thought of a new gen Mopar with the heritage of the Hemi Under Glass doing full quarter-mile wheelstands was definitely a big hit.”

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