Dodge – Plymouth 340 V8 Engine
As the 1960s were coming to an end there was a quite a horsepower war going on between the big three U.S. automotive manufactures. While Ford and GM were increasing the sizes of their engines to get more horsepower Chrysler had a different idea in regards to engine street performance. This idea would lead to the production of the 340 V8 for the 1968 model year that would be used in Dodge and Plymouth cars.
The 340 V8 was designed from the point of view that a lighter weight engine with decent horsepower would amount to better performance as opposed to extremely large engines like the Dodge 440 and the Ford 462. Chrysler put quite a bit of effort into the making the 340 a respectable engine on the street as well as the race circuit. Their efforts were rewarded with a lot of success. The engineers at Chrysler used the 318 block as a base to build the 340 by increasing the bore of the engine up 103mm. They also tossed the old cast iron crankshaft used in the 318 and replaced with a much stronger forged steel design that could handle more stress.
When it came to the upper part of the engine Chrysler didn’t cut any corners either with the 340 V8. The engine came with a more performance oriented cam as well carburetor and cylinder head setup that was almost bulletproof in design. For 1968 and 1969 the Dodge – Plymouth 340 would see only a 4 barrel carburetor setup but in 1970 the 340 six pack was introduced which came with 3 two barrel carbs. According to Chrysler this gave 340 six pack about 15 more horsepower than the original 4 barrel version but in actual reality it was quite a bit more with some estimates being as high at 320 horsepower. This was done of course in order to satisfy insurance companies as well allow consumers to get a pretty fast car without having to pay a ton of money to keep it on the road.
The 340 V8 also had the honor of being the base engine offered in the popular Dodge Challenger that was introduced in 1970. Unfortunately due to emission laws in the US the 340 was phased out in the end of 1973 but during its 6 year production run became quite popular with Mopar car enthusiast everywhere.