Mopar Hellephant is Planet Earth’s First 1,000-HP OEM Crate Engine
How do you maintain the SEMA booth traffic after you’ve launched a 707-hp Hellcat crate engine (aka Hellcrate) and teased folks for a year with the prospect of an 840-hp Demon crate engine? You leapfrog that Demon and round the number right up to an even grand. Yes, that’s 1,000 horsepower and 950 lb-ft of torque—on 93-octane pump gas!
This is not a further stretch of the beloved 6.2-liter. Nope, it’s bored and stroked to a (liberally rounded-down) 426 cubic inches—the size of the fabled “Elephant Engine” second-gen Hemi that roared into the fabric of American muscle-car life from 1964 to 1971—hence the Hellephant nomenclature.
The SRT folks quote the bore and stroke as 4-1/8 x 4 inches (up from the Hellcat/Demon’s 4-1/11 x 3-29/50, to keep the fun fractions going). An equally important displacement change—if you’ll permit us to revert to metric—is the size of the supercharger, which leaps from the Hellcat’s 2.4 liters, past the Demon/Redeye’s 2.7 liters, all the way to 3.0 liters. Fun fact: The exterior packages size and mounting interfaces are identical for all these blowers, and the new one will be offered as a stand-alone part. The helix design of the blower “screws” is slightly different, and their clearance to the housing is slightly tighter, all of which makes this biggest blower flow lots more air more efficiently. Second fun fact: While the Hellephant engine inhales through the Hellcat’s 92mm throttle body, its blower is designed to work with a 105mm throttle body if—just spitballing here—one were looking to make more than 1,000 hp running on racing fuel.
Another important differentiator for this engine is that it utilizes an aluminum block that weighs 100 pounds (45 kg) less than the iron blocks on the less hellish/demonic engines. The block, which is also used in Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak race vehicles, bears no relation to the former 6.1-liter Mopar performance aluminum block. The SRT team spent a year engineering this one, employing lots of webbing and gusseting on the sides and in the valley of the block to control torsional vibration. The heads are essentially shared with the Demon, and the camshaft employs variable valve timing but features higher lift to support the greater airflow involved in generating 1,000-plus hp. All of the internals are forged to withstand the cylinder pressures at play here and to enable the engine to rev to 7,000 rpm. These forged internals are also likely to be offered separately.
Like the Hellcrate engine, this one comes complete with water pump, flywheel, front sump oil pan, supercharger with throttle body, fuel injectors, and coil packs. Also available, as with Hellcrate, are a complete front-end accessory drive kit (including an alternator, power-steering pump, belts, pulleys, and more) and a full electronics kit that includes a powertrain control module, a wiring harness, and even a by-wire accelerator. All of this promises easy turnkey operation for anything from drag racing to hot-rod use. The engine will be hand-built in Michigan and will go on sale during the first quarter of 2019. Pricing hasn’t been released yet, but expect to pay well north of the Hellcrate’s $19,530 USD asking price, which doesn’t include the $2,195 USD electronics integration kit.
’68 Super Charger
An engine as special as the Hellephant must be unveiled in a very special wrapper, so the Mopar design team found a nice, period-correct, iconic design celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018—the 1968 Dodge Charger—and just loved on the design a bit. Joe Dehner, head of Ram exterior and Mopar design, walked us around a beautiful stock ’68 Charger R/T Hemi from Chrysler’s historical collection, complimenting its voluptuous beauty while lamenting how deeply inset its wheels are relative to the bodywork, how long the front overhang is, and how ugly the vent windows, Coronet side-view mirror, and chrome drip-rails are.
His team procured a 383 R/T in so-so shape (it was a half-inch longer on one side than the other) and spent six months revising it to redress these issues. Modifications range from typical rodding touches like shaving off the drip rails, replacing the door handles with remote releases, ditching the vent windows, fitting cooler ’71 Plymouth Duster mirrors, and fitting slimmer fiberglass bumpers, to bigger engineering challenges like moving the front wheels forward 2 inches to trim that overhang. Aftermarket suspension subframes accomplish this and help lower the body by 2.5 inches in the rear and 3.5 inches in front for an aggressive raked appearance.
New tires more than cure the wheel-inset issue, and covering the 305/30R20 front and 315/35R21 rear tires actually required 2-inch-wide fender flares all around. Front wheels are 11.0 x 20-inch Mopar Devil’s Rim units borrowed from the Hellcat Widebody, and the rears are custom-made to match 12.0 x 21-inch units, all finished in Brass Monkey color framing bright red SRT/Brembo brake calipers and slotted rotors. Blended into the stock ’68 hood is a Demon hood scoop, while a splitter with side fences in front and an SRT-based rear lip spoiler look the part of coping with the sorts of top speeds a 1,000-hp muscle coupe might achieve.
The lighting deserves special mention. Challenger illuminated-ring headlights reside behind fixed slats in front, while in back the four round taillamps are replaced by four functional Stelvio exhaust tips, while red LED lighting gets piped into the area within the stock taillamp surrounds on each side. The car is finished in custom De Grigio gray metallic paint modified from a Ferrari color.
The custom interior features the Demon’s rear-seat delete package to make room for a custom 2-inch roll cage, Viper bucket seats retrimmed in Alcantara and leather accented with red stitching and fitted with Sabelt racing harnesses, custom gauges, and console housing the Challenger Hellcat–sourced Tremec T-6060 transmission’s six-speed shifter. Angry Hellephant logos adorn the door panels, steering wheel center, and gas cap—each with a blue background of Mopar M logos.
The car runs at least well enough to be driven onto the stage at SEMA, and to these eyes it’s vastly better-looking than the many rodded and restomodded second-gen Chargers that have graced the Fast and Furious franchise. We’d even rank it ahead of the also pretty cool Demon-powered Speedkore Dodge Charger “Evolution.” What do you think?