SEMA is a venue where you’d walk in prepared well in advanced to be surprised. Some of the most outrageous cars (or automotive creations, generally) to find existence this year lie beyond its doors and has done so for some time now.
This year’s crown for the most epic object on four wheels goes to Mopar and their Super Charger concept. Apparently, Dodge is well aware how many people miss the early 1970s shape and don’t quite see the four-door modern day interpretation to be a worthy successor.
As such, very little of the classic shape has been altered atop its vintage chassis, with select panels being replaced for effect and to further accentuate its aggressively thuggish nature. You can tell the widebody conversion, 20-inch, and specialised low suspension are all done with great care and consideration toward the iconic Charger.
The blend of present-day styling and undeniably cool retro-factor make this a stylistic win, for sure, but the real story is what lies under its bonnet.
See, the Super Charger is a one-off, which is a shame, but Mopar are more excited about their new and massive ‘Hellephant’ crate engine that it is debuting, harking back to the 1960s and the nickname given to the Dodge’s first run of 7.0-litre HEMI V8 motors. Truly, in their eyes, there’s no replacement for displacement.
Brute force is the new Hellephant engine’s signature feature, with 426 cubic inch supercharged V8 producing 1,000hp (746kW) and 1,288Nm of torque. The fact that an automaker in 2018 - or even its high performance supplier - is willing to let anyone buy an engine that bonkers powerful off the shelf is cause for celebration in itself.
Dodge and Mopar are targeting these flagship crate motors at current owners and collectors of classic pre-1976 muscle cars to replace the ageing motors that must now be decades old and, while still characterful, lack the performance to match today’s standards. Specifically, they’re hoping the Hellephant will find a home in cars such as the 2nd and 3rd-generation Chargers and the very rare Plymouth Road Runner.
This being a self-contained kit, the engine will come supplied with the necessary fluid and electronic accoutrements to make it fully functional. Even better, it also comes with modern amenities often lacking in classic muscle, things like high-pressure hydraulic power steering and a heavy duty alternator.