American muscle cars have become increasingly popular in Europe due to their larger engines and raw driving characteristics. Of course, they also offer more bang for the buck, but by the time you import a Dodge Hellcat, it’s not that cheap. Perhaps that’s why the owner of this Challenger SRT model decided to upgrade the interior to his European standards.
But he didn’t go to some boring German shop that puts Alcantara on everything. No, he went to Carlex Design. It’s a shop in Poland that I’ve been following since 2012, when they created a steampunk MINI Countryman. They’re known for thematic makeovers, and this appears to be the case with this Challenger Hellcat as well.
The footage below was shot by RoCars, a YouTube channel that specializes in glossy shots of European exotics. Obviously, the Dodge stood out, and I immediately realized something was off. It says “717 hp” in the description, but that’s got to be an old Hellcat, probably a 2016 model. There’s no widebody, and a few cosmetic details are off.
Indeed, the Hellcat project got its debut in 2016, but the footage Carlex released wasn’t as breathtaking as this, so it got attention… only for the wrong reason.
Yes, leather from a real elephant
Carlex’s press statements from 2016 showed this Hellcat had elephant hides used for its seats and dash. These were legally sourced, but people didn’t like the endangered animal aspect, so an apology was issued. There’s no mention of elephants anywhere on their website now, but the seats clearly look the same, with that unusual wrinkly pattern you don’t see on other animals.
Two more materials grab your attention. Real wood is used on the doors, carved to look like the bones of dinosaurs or some long-dead dragon. This appears to be engraved by a machine and then scorched. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Ghost Rider, which is a frequent theme in interior customization.
And the steering wheel is solid silver. It was engraved by hand out of clay and then cast in this shape. There’s a nice patina to it that carries over to all the switches, all the buttons, and the trim. Obviously, it’s not a practical configuration, but as you can probably tell, this Hellcat doesn’t get driven, so maintenance isn’t an issue.
Overall, this is the type of build nobody would want to own but everybody respects due to all the work that went into it. We’re talking carpenters and jewelers, not just leather workers.
But, getting past the use of elephant leather is impossible. Back in the day, the Russian shop Topcar got in trouble for using crocodile leather. But those were neither wild nor endangered animals.