THE BELTWAY BULLY
BLOWN AND INJECTED, DERRICK HAYES ’06 DODGE MAGNUM SRT8 PUSHES THE 1,000HP CURVE.
Derrick Hayes ’06 Dodge Magnum SRT8 pushes the 1,000hp curve.
Cars shows have always been an integral part of the car hobby. Some guys build cars just for that purpose and are perfectly content with that aspect of the hobby. For Derrick Hayes, as a young Mopar guy growing up, showing his car was a passion. At that time, he was just getting his feet wet when it came to the whole show scene, and looking and sounding good was where it was at for him. “My first show car was a
’95 Dodge Avenger,” Derrick recalls.
“It looked and sounded good, and
I did the basics — a cold air intake and a shifter — just the simple stuff.” It’s a safe bet that the Avenger wasn’t going to set the world on fire beyond nice paint, wheels, and a killer sound system. After his share of shows with it, he was ready to take it to the next level.
Taking that next step came in 2004 in the form of the newly minted ’05 Dodge Magnum R/T wagon. Launched in the spring of 2004, the Magnum RT sported the all-new 5.7L Hemi V-8. Cranking out 340 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, it pushed all of Derrick’s buttons in a good way. The idea of a grocery getter with a Hemi under the hood was huge, so he pulled the trigger on a new one. It quickly received his custom touches with bigger wheels, sound system, and flashy paint — it was all out of the Avenger handbook. However, what that Hemi allowed him to do was delve into the deeper end of the performance pool.
It didn’t take long for him to void the warranty with the installation of a supercharger. At that point in time, the Hemi was still very new, and engine mods like a blower were a hit or miss proposition, so much so that within less than two months of use he grenaded it. His attitude on that failure was “it breaks, you just fix it.” The RT gave him a few years of enjoyment, and it also let him forge relationships within the aftermarket performance industry, which led to sponsorship deals.
The love affair with the RT came to an abrupt end on the New Jersey Turnpike when the combination of a tractor trailer cutting him off and a rear suspension failure sealed its fate. Looking back, he bluntly states, “I rolled it, and I survived.” A violent accident of that magnitude would rattle most cages and instill panic on many a brave soul. In Derrick’s case, he doubled down on his outlook. “Instead of me drifting away and getting out of the car game to do something else, it just motivated me to go bigger and better,” he said.
Bigger and better meant a new ride. Since the RT had hit that sweet spot with him, in 2007 he pulled the trigger on a ’06 Dodge Magnum SRT8 powered by a 6.1L Hemi rated at 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Decked out in Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat with a Dark/light Slate Gray interior, it became his next canvas. When he started working on the wagon, some of the things he did on the previous cars carried over. New wheels were mounted and a number of visual cues executed that continuously changed the look of the wagon. At one point, he had over five grand in airbrush work on the sides of the car and a longitudinal hood stripe with a recurring color change. Under the hood was where the biggest transformation took place. His sponsorship deal with High Horsepower Performance (HHP) in Smyrna, Delaware, opened the doors to the big pony club with the Hemi. His vision for the SRT8 was “to build a monster,” which would again involve using forced induction. HHP started with one of their prepped
Hemi 6.1L blocks fitted with a 6.1-forged crank, Manley forged connecting rods, and 8.8:1 Ross forged pistons. The top end wears a set of HHP/BES 6.1L Cncported and polished cylinder heads, 6.1L intake manifold, 90mm throttle body, and a HHP Stage 4 nitrous stroker custom high-lift camshaft specked at .550inch lift and 220/228 duration. A Procharger blower along with a ZEX nitrous oxide system pushes the power curve over the grand mark. Backing up that combo is a NAG1 Super Pro Series five-speed automatic with a Protorque 4,400-stall speed converter from Paramount Performance Products in Martinsville, Virginia. The rest of the drivetrain consists of a one-piece carbon-fiber driveshaft from The Driveshaft Shop in Salisbury, North Carolina, and a stock Chrysler housing fitted with a 3.06:1 Quaife limited-slip differential. On the dyno, the Hemi cranked out 902 horses at the rear wheels and 838 lb-ft of torque, which was a long way from the Avenger days.
In the interior, Derrick actually kept it tame with a set of Auto Meter gauges, and a 10-point rollcage. While that was restrained, the exterior would continue to undergo regular alterations. The most noticeable changes are the large functional vents behind the front wheel openings and the front spoiler. And then there’s the paint — or lack thereof. When we photographed
the wagon, it was wrapped in an Avery Lagoon Blue Matte Metallic shade. This has been, over the years, a moving target for Derrick, and whenever he gets bored with the color, a new wrap is applied. Keeping it fresh is something that he learned when doing the car shows, so when he picked the matte blue wrap, the criteria was to try something different and not use anything near a factory color.
The other visual element that he took into consideration was the wheel and tire choice. Lowprofile Lexani Performance radials wrap a set of Amani Lorenzo Concave wheels that also get the added touch of matching vinyl whenever he changes the body color.
For his efforts, the wagon has earned the nickname “The Beltway Bully” in the Baltimore and D.C. area. While it produces ample amounts of power, he notes that, “It has never been about running around with drag radials.” The name has been earned instead from blasts at 50 mph to anywhere above 150 mph on the beltways, which he describes as “quick little runs.”
The wagon continues to evolve, and performance gains have been made along the line, but the visual changes are the most frequent with each passing year.
Left mostly stock, Derrick has added a 10-point rollcage to the interior for the sake of safety. Having rolled his previous Magnum, the cage adds both safety and structural rigidity.
The advertised 27 cubic feet of cargo space has been sacrificed in the name of speed with the addition of a pair of nitrous bottles.
Wrapped and lowered, the wagon is a deceptive blend of muscle car power with the practicality of a people mover.
Sporting functional fender scoops and 22-inch wheels with a matching wrap, these touches add a fair amount of individuality.