Dodge Helle­phant

Oc­ca­sion­ally, Amer­ica has a good idea... a mon­strous plug and play su­per­charged V8 called Helle­phant is def­i­nitely one of them

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - ROWAN HORNCASTLE

It’s of­fi­cially of­fi­cial: Dodge has gone mad, and we love it. We have now reached the crit­i­cal junc­tion in hu­man­ity where Dodge will sell you a 1,000bhp, 950 lb ft crate en­gine to lob in what­ever car you like. That, ladies and gents, is what we call progress. Bet­ter than that, Dodge has chris­tened this mon­strous en­gine of pre­pos­ter­ous power and tremen­dous torque “Helle­phant”. Yes, Helle­phant – note the De­mon-style logo. How sweet is that?

All that oomph comes from a su­per­charged, all-alu­minium HEMI block with a four-inch stroke and an in­creased bore of 4.125 inches. You can stop rub­bing your thighs now, suck, squeeze, bang, blow fans. The name is merely a nod to the in­fa­mous 426 HEMI en­gine that was first in­tro­duced in 1964 and nick­named the “ele­phant” due to its colos­sal power and size.

But in­stead of just un­veil­ing this en­gine on a stand and say­ing “Ta-dah!”, Dodge de­cided to show­case it in a 1968 Dodge Charger to cel­e­brate the iconic car’s 50th birth­day. God bless Amer­ica. It made its de­but at the SEMA show, and quite frankly is one of the coolest mus­cle cars we’ve seen this year. The chas­sis has been mod­i­fied to al­low for the re­verse-birth of that four-digit “Helle­phant” pow­er­plant, while a T-6060 man­ual six-speed ’box from a Dodge Chal­lenger SRT Hell­cat has been added to try its best at get­ting 1,000bhp to the road. This could be quite the rodeo.

Looks mean, too. That’s thanks to the front wheels be­ing nudged for­ward two inches com­pared to the orig­i­nal to ac­com­mo­date the flares and shorten the Charger’s over­hang. The wheel sizes are also suit­ably mod­ern, with 20 x 11in Devil’s rims pulled from the Hell­cat up front, and cus­tom 21 x 12in milled alu­minium wheels out back. The body has been dropped 2.5 inches at the rear and 3.5 inches up front, while six-pis­ton Brem­bos make sure they can stop 1,000bhp of go.

Fin­ished in a cus­tom ‘De Gri­gio’ Grey Metal­lic, the Chal­lenger has had a su­per­sized hood scoop in­flu­enced by the Dodge De­mon to make sure the en­gine can breathe. As you can see, the famed ’68 Charger’s hide­away head­light de­sign has been tweaked to in­clude the mod­ern Hell­cat head­lamps, which lurk be­hind the grille. Then the donor car’s doorhan­dles and drip rails have been shaved, cre­at­ing a slicker pro­file. To keep the stream­lined look rolling, the front door vent win­dows have been put in the bin and swapped for one piece of glass.

No price yet, but con­sid­er­ing the ‘Hell­crate’ 697bhp ver­sion is priced at $19,530 (£15,124) ex­pect to pay at least £20k. Still, not bad for an en­gine in a box that de­liv­ers Bu­gatti Vey­ron lev­els of fire­power. Re­ally there’s only one ques­tion that re­quires an­swer­ing… if you bought a 1,000bhp crate en­gine, what would you drop it into?

SEMA, fa­mous show­case of fu­tur­is­tic tech­nol­ogy gets a blast from the past...

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