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by David Zatz
Even before the official release of the Hellcat engine — a 707-horsepower supercharged Hemi V8 — thousands of enthusiasts were asking how they could get one to retrofit into their project cars. Junkyards were seemingly haunted by people hoping for a wrecked Charger or Challenger to show up (it’s still too early for a Trackhawk).
Mopar was ahead of the game, this time, with the Hellcrate — basically, the same engine you get in your 200+ mph Hellcat Charger, or your all wheel drive Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, or the vintage-like-muscle Hellcat Challenger. It has the same 707 horsepower and 650 pound-foot rating, and it officially debuts at SEMA on October 31, 2017. The Hellcrate, intended for pre-1976 street and off-road vehicles, ships in unique packaging, with information and tips.
This is the first supercharged, factory-direct 707-horsepower crate engine kit ever sold, according to the leader of Mopar, Pietro Gorlier. It’s also “plug and play” when the optional Hellcrate Engine Kit is ordered: that includes a powertrain computer (PCM), a power distribution center, engine and chassis wiring harnesses, accelerator pedal, ground jumper, oxygen sensors, charge air temperature sensors and fuel pump control module.
Why do they include a gas pedal, you ask? Because the Hellcat engines are “throttle by wire” designs, for total microsecond by microsecond control, which means that they won’t work with your 1941 Plymouth’s mechanical linkage.
The PCM is unlocked, in this case; the default is the factory’s 707-horsepower calibration. The Mopar “Hellcrate” kit is optimized for use with manual transmissions, such as the Tremec Magnum transmission kit.
Another helpful item is the Essential Front End Accessory Drive (FEAD) Kit, which includes an alternator, power steering pump, belts, pulleys, and other hardware.
The part numbers and list prices (on the launch date) are:
At least one discounter is already selling the engine at 23% off — $14,996, a savings of around $4,534.
When ordered and installed together, the assembly and kit have a Mopar three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. The official web site is MoparHemiCrate.com.
Joining Mopar-modified vehicles on the show floor will be an 840-horsepower 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the world’s fastest quarter-mile production car; there will be 13 vehicles at the Mopar display.
Mark Worman of Velocity’s Graveyard Carz television show, who helped Mopar launch 345 and 392 crates at SEMA last year, has returned with a 1970 Plymouth Superbird Tribute. The exterior is a faithful clone in limelight green, using a Hellcrate, the engine and front accessory kits, and a Tremec Magnum manual transmission. Restoration parts were sourcved from Classic Industries, which works in partnership with Mopar.
Mark Worman also rejuvenated a 1968 Plymouth GTX owned by Chris Jacobs, which had a small fire in the engine bay; the vehicle had been built by Chip Foose. Worman swapped out the original 440 engine with a Mopar 392 Crate Hemi Engine Kit, which puts 485 horsepower and 472 lb.-ft. of torque at the pedal. It was installed using Mopar helper kits, and will be auctioned off at the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction in January, with the Mopar engine swap to be documented on the Graveyard Carz TV show.
This 1937 Dodge pickup was brought to life as part of the Mopar’s partnership with Pennzoil Shell. The Mopar Blue truck was built by Tommy Pike Customs, and is powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI engine packed with 383 horsepower and 425 lb.-ft. of torque. A custom chassis mates to the modified truck body, with the door handles shaved off, bumper deleted and tubbed fenders to add clearance for the custom wheels, which are accented with large Dodge center caps. The bed has wood slats.
Mopar’s SEMA exhibit will have no fewer than thirteen FCA US LLC vehicles, most Mopar-modified, including a Dodge Durango SRT with custom Mopar touches. This one is a 2018 Dodge Durango SRT with octane red paint, a non-metallic gloss black stripe covering the hood, going over teh roof, and ending at the rear spoiler, and dropped using Mopar lowering springs. This one has its standard powertrain.
Chrysler 1904-2018 •
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