Hemi, Hemi, Ha, Ha! What A Great Day In Woodyboaterville!

Twin Hemis.. Dang! Dang!

Twin Hemis.. Dang! Dang!

Saturday was one of those great days that no matter how cold it was outdoors, and it was cold for us here in VA.. Around 25. I had the oportunity to purchase twin Chrylser Hemis from a good pal and neighbor down here in Reedville. These two statues to Detroit muscle were out of a Matthews Martinque like the one in Saturdays header. Oh Did you miss it? Should have been there.. These two Hemis  have been sitting in the same spot for about 30 years. It’s all there, carbs, transmissions, copper risers, and yes they ran well when pulled.

Thats a good look'n valve cover

Thats a good look’n valve cover

Not that they would now. But with about 1000 hrs on them they still had some life. The reason why they were pulled was an annoying issue with the transmissions.

Twin one barrels, Those Zenith carb covers are gold!

Twin one barrels, Those Zenith carb covers are gold! Not real gold, worth there weight in gold. maybe gold in the 80’s not now. Come on it was just a metaphor.. They are cool.. OK, not cold cool, hip cool. Ok, not hip hugger hip.. Just neato!


Thats not rust you see, but just the paint is gone.. One of the old stickers is still there

Thats not rust you see, but just the paint is gone.. One of the old stickers is still there


Apparently the transmission is an issue when the fluid gets a tad low. But they are Hemis, marine Hemis  with all the goodies!

A Internet search says they are 354's with 2 barrel carb. 2 one barrels, They produce 225 hp each. I think the R is for right turn. Both have the r on them

A Internet search says they are 354’s with 2 barrel carb. 2 one barrels, They produce 225 hp each. I think the R is for right turn. Both have the R on them. Maybe one of the transmissions reveres the prop? Thats above my pay grade as an idiot!


Some old clip from a brochure.

Some old clip from a brochure.


I "think" this is a original fuel pump.. Two of them of course.

I “think” this is an original Walbro fuel pump.. Two of them of course. half the fun is the discovery of a treasure


Custom copper risers.. I have no idea what you could use these for other than another Matthews.

Custom copper risers.. I have no idea what you could use these for other than another Matthews.


Oh those cool carbs.. This is more than muscle, its art.. Pure iron art!

Oh those cool carbs.. This is more than muscle, its art.. Pure iron art!


These things are monsters.. HUGE!

These things are monsters.. HUGE! BTW, thats the original owner. Thats our pal, “Pops” “Get those things outta here!” OK!

Now, one question… What in the hell to do with them? Rebuild one for that dream U22 with a Hemi and 25 sportsman interior? Plop one in my Cmax electric car? mmm I wonder if the boatress will allow me to make a coffee table out of one? Here is a cool video of one complete! Oh yeah!

Anyway if you have any cool ideas, do the math and let us know.

51 replies
  1. Texx
    Texx says:

    I like the idea of building a Chrysler Marine Hemi white-sided U-22 sleeper boat. If somebody asks just say it has an old Chrysler Crown with a single exhaust. Then at the next sign that says End of Wake Zone – speed away!

    A perfect Modified Class boat with attitude…

  2. Sean
    Sean says:

    These will certainly garner the “HEMI-cool” vote… however, a contemporary 4.3 V6 can easily make 240HP weighing in about 25% of one of these bad boys….so speeding away with a 225HP Hemi may be a relative term (and limited by the thirst of one of these turning 3800 rpm).

    Probably best for low rpm torque… perfect for that soon to be Cruiser in your life.

    PS I do love the carb covers/breathers

  3. matt
    matt says:

    Ha, Sean we talked about that. About half the weight as well. But thats a slipperey slope, NExt thing we are all talking ourselves into potoon boats! HA.. With a hemi, Two hemis

      • mikeS
        mikeS says:

        They’re 1100 lbs with a 1:1 drive and go up to 1300 lbs with the 4:1 reduction transmission. Good news is, Hot Rot shops have been making aluminum parts for these for years. Heads, intake, exhaust manifolds, etc. With enough cash, they can be made lighter than an “M” maybe close to a “K”. Wouldn’t recommend salt water usage though.

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Too heavy for a sleeper U22, unless you use both of them, then way too heavy!

    How about you build a twin hemi jersey skiff?

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      I think you could get away with it in a U 22. I have a Chrysler Royal straight 8 in my Gar, which is right around 1100 pounds as well. I have seen a number of U22’s with 350’s and the like, which when dressed are probably 900 or so. My 21′ Continental has a similarly leviathan 430 in it, which has got to be very close to 1100 pounds. So, while it might be more power/weight than you need in that boat, I think it is doable.

      • m-fine
        m-fine says:

        The point was it wont have “sleeper” performance. The 900 lb 350 can give you 300-400hp, where the 1100lb hemi is going to be 225 with those carbs etc.

        It would work, and perform better than a K powered U22, but nothing crazy.

        I think it would be foolish to break up the pair, so a twin hemi jersey skiff or gentleman’s racer would be cool. Again, not earth shatteringly fast, but cool.

        • Troy in ANE
          Troy in ANE says:

          OH good call M-fine!

          A twin engine gentleman’s racer with Hemi’s would be way cool. You could even stagger the engines if you want to keep the boat narrow. May put too much weight forward though.

  5. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    Still no damn video! And no link provided by someone. Love them though. Old one and new ones. Got two myself new one thar is. You know u can safely and easily get 350 ponies out of one and leave that 4.3 in the mist.

  6. mikeS
    mikeS says:

    Matt, the HR in the center of the tag means hydraulic shift,right hand rotation, the R all the way to the right after the serial # is for reduction gear.

  7. Alan
    Alan says:

    very cool find. I love my 331 Hemi, people have to stop and look at it whenever the engine hatch is open. there’s some kind of Hemi magic that draws people to it. One of the things I find most interesting is that the marine version is truly designed for marine use and was not an aftermarket conversion. truly an engineering marvel in it’s day with the gear drive running all accessories, no belts or hoses other than the dumps to the elbows.

  8. matt
    matt says:

    Thanks Mike! Here is the tag and its a HL, so as Pops said, one turns right, one left. The intake manafolds are rough, but its all there! Steve, I think its on your end. Try another brouser, like firfox, or updating it. Also try it on Youtube. If its the same issue then you know its you.. Like your wife has told you for years!

  9. TommyHolm
    TommyHolm says:

    Now get a AWD Chrysler 300 with a Hemi and I,ll see you in Detroit cruisin’ Woodward with Walter P. Chrysler.

    Hemi, Imported from Detroit.

  10. Phil Jones
    Phil Jones says:

    Sean, here’s the test, take a 1948 shepherd and drop in that 4.3 V6 and it might do 38???40??? drop in a M45 SP3 354 bDual quad @ 275 conservatively, and that same boat will do 62 with all that added weight. It’s ALL IN THE TORQUE. Reason I know is it was tried with lackluster results.
    Someone in research flubed your #’s Matt.

    M45 S…….331 twin single barrels @ 200hp
    M45 SP…..331 Dual Quad’s @ 250
    M45 SP3…354 Dual Quad’s @ 275
    Or at least that is what the plate shows. To be absolutely positive you would have to pull the head and get block #. All Dual Quad Marine Hemi’s were painted that deep purple reguardless if they were 331 or 354

    • Sean
      Sean says:

      I dunno Phil… my 4.3 weighs 680 lbs.( including the I/O drive). It dyno’d at 237HP @ 4800 / 274 TQ @3500 and Pushes my 18′ Greavette to 53mph on GPS with the wrong gearing and prop for pulling (High5 19p). And I get great fuel mileage

      I didn’t build it for speed but, with proper gearing/prop 60mph+ is very do-able. I could also tweek it a bit to get a solid and safe 300HP for even more if that was my goal.

      The Hemi is cool and will have loads of torque…probably more than you’d use regularly in a runabout. It is still very heavy which affects handling and it will suck the fuel. As a hot rod modified show boat a HEMI is an attention getter and hard to beat the cool factor but, to put on smiles for miles… I’ll take the 4.3.

    • Jimmuh
      Jimmuh says:

      @Phil Jones –
      PURPLE on a marine Hemi???? Not from Chrysler…. There is a resto-modded Cobra running a purple Hemi – that’s the only one I’ve seen in 30+ years….

  11. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    If you’re going to put it in a U22, you’d want the SP3 Hemi with dual quad option 275 hp rating. Troy is right, those twin single carb manifolds are torque monsters for cruisers, not higher rpm runabouts. But one can dream. What happened to the Martinique? What did they repower with. Was it saved I hope? It would be nice to see them paired together. Nice old patina on the valve covers though a repainted and restored motor, as in the video, is like looking at a fresh young 20 something.

  12. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Holy scmoley, Matt…if I brought those home I’d have lots of extra room to work on them after my wife Wiley had moved out.

    Chrysler made that engine for exactly one year, 1956. Then they went to the fully bored-out 392 for ’57 and ’58 models, and that was the end of that original hemi era.

    When in the second model of the original 300 series — the 300B for 1956 — the factory tuned 354ci hemi turned out a neat 340 hp, measured the old-fashioned way, but at very high RPM (5200).

    Anyway, you can certainly get more than 225hp out of those princely piles of pig-iron, and without anything really radical…slightly hotter camshaft, solid valve train, polished ports and all that sort of mild stuff. But to get up near 300hp, you’d need to feed it with 4-bbl carbs…and if you go that far from the original 1-bbls, you might as well go to the dual-quad setup used by Chrysler in the 300B and by Don Garlits and others to break all kinds of speed records in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

    Hey, it’s only money, honey…honey?

    God, but I do love those engines!

    • Alan
      Alan says:

      I like your thinking Rich. I know I’m going to take some heat for this somewhere down the line but I’ve pulled the 2 singles off of mine in trade for a 4 barrel. I’m just doing simple bolt on items for a little bump in HP and throttle response which the 2 single carbs really lack. Unfortunalty the 331 has the lower compression ratio so there’s only so much that can be done without tearing into the motor deeper and I’m not ready to do that yet. I’ve got to paint everything up before installation but I’m almost ready to go. All the original pieces could be bolted right back on so I figure I’d give the upgrade a shot as long as I didn’t alter anything permanently.

      • Rich Marschner
        Rich Marschner says:

        Alan, did you juice the cam in the rebuild and do the solid train? When I rebuilt my 331 (a hundred years ago!), I went with the 4-bbl and a pretty wild cam. It made a world of difference; the hemi is very forgiving of being force-fed, and man, what a sound — that is, if you like that loping rough idle, which I happen to love.

        • Alan
          Alan says:

          Rich, I bought my hemi from an abandoned restoration and the motor had already been rebuilt to bone stock specs so I haven’t done anything to it yet. I’m expecting the new carb and ignition to add some get up and go. If I could find a core I would build a performance version but even cores are pricey. If you care to share the cam specs I’d love to know what you put in it, regrind or a new blank? email me if you get a minute and want to chat. thx

          sales at actionscreen.com

          • Rich Marschner
            Rich Marschner says:

            Alan, this was 1959 or so when I rebuilt a ’51 Imperial 331 out of a junkyard in Illinois…I was 16, and building a hot-rod based on a ’48 Merc business coupe. Never got it done, as college interfered a couple years later.
            I can’t recall what the cam setup was, and it’s irrelevant 55 years later in any case!

  13. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    By the way, that exhaust riser 2 into 1 pipe seems very inefficient with no “Y” designed into therefore allowing left bank exhaust to pulse into right bank exhaust or vica versa. In the video, he has a slightly molded in “Y” pipe. I had always admired Chrysler Marine engineering except when I saw this. Chris Craft 2 into 1’s were a definite “Y” shape.

  14. Alex
    Alex says:

    I’m still trying to get my mind around the C Max thing.

    And you people rip on me for my Outback?! Pleeze!

    This pic is for you Matt. I snapped it a few weeks ago. Plate reads “LT1 WGN.” Bumper sticker reads “I’m burning the gas your hybrid is saving.”

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      Did I miss the C-Max thing? I think it would take a lot of work to drop a Hemi into one of those and even then it would be wrong to put a Hemi in a Ford. Kinda like putting a straight man in an Outback.

  15. John Gambill
    John Gambill says:

    Now here’s the logical thing to do with one of them. Get her dialed in just like the one in the video and put her on a nice custom stand in your shop all shined up lookin purdy! Then, instead of turning on the darn radio when you’re workin just fire her up and enjoy the beautiful sound, much nicer that a darn radio!

  16. jim g
    jim g says:


    Good find. The fuel pumps are aftermarket. They would have had mechanical pumps in the same spot the elec pumps are. If you pull the elec pump off there should be a brass disc on the bottom of it like the one on top. But it will have the model number stamped in it and probably a production date as well. It will work well in a u22. An M series weighs in the 800 to 900 range. So it not that much more weight. But you will need to find some direct drive trans for them.

  17. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    Have the rh restored, bring it to Taveres for displaying in the Woodyboater booth, You could start in every hour on the hour for a few minutes to draw a crowd to your booth and sell popcorn, tshirts etc. Sounds like a great time to me. Sell the lh via a raffle.

  18. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Given the weight of them and low as-built horsepower, I would certainly rebuild them with more cam, bigger valves and much more induction if I were to use them. The 430 CC engine is 275 out of the box, and I would target an output in that range for these if I were going to go forward. That would be very easily achievable during a rebuild process, and the engine should be reliable and even more sweet-sounding. Of course the power or efficiency is not likely to be close to a modern engine, but a modern engine is not the objective, apparently.

  19. Phil Jones
    Phil Jones says:

    Jimmuh, I will give you some background in my info. I have dealt exclusively with the Marine Hemi for the past four years. Almost exclusive to finding the holy grail M45 SP3 which are the 354 Dual Quad @ 275 motors produced in 1958 just prior to the “Don Garlic” 392. In Canadian boats, specific Shepherds they used Chrysler almost to an exclusion. 392’s were never “production” run in any of these boats although there were a “few” pro-t- type marine 392’s made.

    ALL Dual Quad Marine Hemi’s were deep purple in color “from” the factory. Some think that the “purple color” denotes the 354 larger motor, but not so. A 331/331 S3/ would be purple if they had Dual Quad’s. I have found three of these motors in four years, which I might ad is damn near impossible, but when I get on a scent I stay on it till completion. My first motor shown is an original M45 SP3 Dual Quad 354 The original paint was replicated for my rebuild. The second photo is of a 1955 original one owner boat that I purchased from the daughter of the original owner, a M 45 SP 331 Dual Quad 250 hp motor.

    Sean would never speak ill of another choice for in fact it is your boat and you get to decide, but comparing a 18′ Greavette to a 22′ shepherd? I don’t think the math works. Got about four more feet of a much heavier constructed boat on you. That is where the torque factor plays out. I had an acquaintance that swore by that math, and did just what you suggested. And as I stated with lackluster results. The reason I went with the Hemi is that even Shepherd realized they were under powered and in 1953 when the first 331 Marine Hemi’s were available that is what could be ordered as an option. You see we restore these boats like we will never sell them, but alas life does move on and the boat will be sold one day, life here ends. That is why I tried to stay as close to original for resale value ( and what the heck cool factor) as possible. That swap nets me a negative 3 points in ACBS judging, where as yours would net you a 10 point negative right off the bat. Now you say ” I DONT CARE ABOUT JUDGING”, well I never get any boat I have judged but one time, then I am though with it, I would prefer to be the a*& H&^^( that will not stay at the docks during the show but rather grab newbies and kids that come by and say lets ride. But the next guy looking to buy your boat someday might be a judge fanatic.
    Cobourg Kid, I will be recovering from both total knee replacements over the winter, and installing all of the finishing touches on Purple Haze by spring. I plan on being in your area for some shows and to visit friends in your area. introduce yourself at the shows and we’ll go for a ride. I have the Sea Tow App. on my phone. By the way I do also love the Greavette’s. In fact I think all the Canadian boats have a special “hand” crafted quality . Not to down grade others, just a preference.

    M FINE this guy does not take your place, don’t get jealous, just bring the BACON, I’ll bring the butter and sour dough bread. :):):)

    • Sean
      Sean says:

      Showed my Greavette once… took a 3rd even with a -10 (which I really don’t care) and the original engine can be bolted back at any time as I used the same mounting points.

      Actually, Sunflash values are so low I think a repowered resto mod Sunflash IV is worth more than an original.

    • Dave Hughes
      Dave Hughes says:

      Would you know if the 331 dual quad versio was available in 1953 as an option in Sheppard boats?

  20. Phil Jones
    Phil Jones says:

    1955 original motor before paint. A llittle dirty from the fire, but still purple.

    Mike Murley @ Murleys Marine or Don Spring in Conn. are the beat in the business with these motors.

  21. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Dual knee replacement? Yikes! You deserve a double serving of bacon for that!!!!! My knee is still swollen the size of a grapefruit and my injury and surgery were back in the first week of August.

  22. Phil Jones
    Phil Jones says:

    14 day’s out and stitches are out and I am walking, although in a percocet fog most evenings:) It is amazing what these Doctors can do today. Now if I could just get my rotor cups refabed, (for sanding), my left crushed foot replaced, My thumb joints replaced, maybe a nip here and a tuck there, I’d go get that big S tattooed on my chest, and buy another old wood boat.:):):)

  23. Gord H
    Gord H says:

    I have just purchased a pair of the same motors reported to be out of Lloyd Shepherds cruiser on Lake Simcoe Ont (no documentation) they are v drives. Engine id tags read M45S HL 3068V —M45S HR 3069V. Not sure if I’m going to put them in a 27ft or 22ft Shepherd. GH

  24. Phil Jones
    Phil Jones says:

    Gord, look on the top of the V-Drive where it fits to the trans gear. You may have to take some paint thinner and rub the casting. That will show you what gear ratio you have. Would be interested to know if it’s a 1;13 to 1 or 1;42 to 1. If you don’t use the other V-Drive let me know also.

  25. Syd
    Syd says:

    Hello Matt, Black Witch has a Jan. 57, 273 ci hemi with a 1.43 reduction gear, turning a 15 x17 cupped prop. Boat is 25′ and does about 30 for the top end. I also had the hydraulic shift, but I went back to manual.
    ps, I do not get the daily updates anymore and tried to register again for it and it tells me I am already registered. Thanks, Syd

  26. Dave Hughes
    Dave Hughes says:

    What I would like to know is what happened to the Matthews Martinique that went with the engines? I purchased the only other Martinique known to exist this past June and it still has the original M-45-S engines in it (those exhaust risers look very familiar!!!). My engines were completely rebuilt buy the previous owner who had a new intake with single 4-bbl carb and electronic ignition added – they run very well and give good fuel economy if you run them in the sweet spot around 2200rpm.

  27. Will
    Will says:

    Anybody hear of a Chrysler 354 hemi marine in a direct drive configuration?
    I purchased one this past weekend and I think its actually a v-drive setup like many others I’ve seen, but I need a direct drive…

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