In the world of Mopar crate engines, you can’t go higher than the Hellephant. A tribute to the original 426 HEMI of the 1960s, this supercharged 7-liter modern-day monster packs 1,000 horsepower in standard form. And it can be used in tons of ways, including for turning an already ridiculously cool Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk into the Hellehawk, a build that’s as memorable as they get.
Why do you need 1,000 hp when the Trackhawk already comes with 707 ponies straight from the factory? we hear you asking. For starters, such projects are all about the build-not-bought philosophy, and having the Mopar king under the hood naturally makes this GC stand out.
In addition, Arizona-based SRT Autoworks, the shop that whipped up the Jeep, was well aware of the fact that the factory Hellcat motor of the Trackhawk has no problem with being modded into four-figure territory. So, to ensure the swap was worth it, the company decided to work on the new 426 ci heart of the SUV.
As described in the second YouTube video below, which was released back in November 2021, claiming the Hellehawk is the first of its kind, the motor has been further massaged, while running on E85 and using ECU software from Barth Tuning.
In other videos the shop brought to YouTube, we are being told that the engine delivers 1,200 horsepower and that the Jeep wrapped around it now only needs 2.0 seconds to cover the 0 to 60 mph sprint.
Hellephant-swapped Jeep Grand Cherokee vs. Big Turbo LS-powered Datsun 280Z
Thanks to a YouTube clip released twelve hours ago, we can see the Hellehawk being asked to prove its mettle against an opponent that seems equally ferocious.
The classic Nissan we have here appears to be a Datsun 280Z, the final iteration of the original Z car, which was offered in the U.S. between 1975 and 1978. And this one has gone deep down the rabbit hole. The JDM delight, which only weighs up to 2,875 lbs (1,300 kg) in factory trim, has left its standard straight-six motor behind in favor of an unspecified LS unit. And the American V8 works with a super-sized turbo, which we can clearly see in the clip.
Note that while we’ve added a YouTube video of the race below, the screenshots come from a Facebook video portraying the same battle—while the latter can’t be embedded, it provides better angles of the standing start battle.
Speaking of which, please don’t use this street brawl as an example, and make sure to hit the drag strip when you’re feeling competitive (we heard they’ve got cookies and street cars with up to 4,500 hp waiting for you at the track!).
While the Hellehawk may or may not have kept its AWD setup (the driveline was certainly reinforced), we can see it sports beablock wheels that keep the drag radial rear tires in place. As for the Datsun, the RWD toy seems to pack massive Hoosier slicks at the back.
You can still buy a new Hellephant V8 crate engine in 2022
Released in November 2018 at the SEMA show, the Hellephant went on sale the following year for a price of $29,995, plus a $2,265 installation kit. The original batch, which is rumored to have sat at just 100 units, was sold out in just two hours.
Naturally, this led to secondary market prices skyrocketing, but that should no longer be an issue. You see, Dodge took notice and recently reintroduced the 1,000 hp crate engine. As such, you can order the Hellephant via the Dodge Direct Connection Performance program released for 2022, with the motor coming in the second quarter of the year. So maybe stick it in a Ferrari?