You can’t order it in your 2019 Ram or 2018 Charger, and it’s too powerful to have a recommended transmission, but it’s still big news that will reverberate across racing tracks, car shows, and country lanes around the world. It’s the new supecharged 426 Hemi “Hellephant” — named after the 6.2 Hellcat Hemi, a modern up-to-840-hp monster motor, and the “Elephant V8,” the 1960s-1970s 426 cubic inch Hemi V8. (What does this mean for production cars? See our last paragraph.)
How does an even thousand horsepower sound? We’ll find out today when they start it up. It’s not just a revver; the 1,000 hp motor is rated at 950 pound-feet of torque (both are measured at the crank). The engine’s stroke is 4.0 inches, and the bore is 4.125 inches (the original’s bore was 4.25 inches, with a 3.75 inch stroke).
This is the first thousand horsepower crate engine sold by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). It will be launched alongside (and inside) the 1968 Dodge Super Charger concept car.
Mopar already had a 426 cubic inch create engine, but not one quite like this. It has an “improved” supercharger, with a high-efficiency rotor, and the aluminum block of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak race cars that dominated the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class. The package was reconfigured for the street.
The “Hellephant” logo and name call out the legendary 426 Hemi engine, launched in 1964; it was nicknamed the “elephant engine” for its power and size, the latter made massive by the unusual heads and valvegear. The Hell part comes from the 707-horsepower Mopar “Hellcrate” Engine Kit, revealed last year at the 2017 SEMA Show, or the 6.2 Hellcat production engines — your choice.
The complete engine assembly includes a water pump, flywheel, front sump oil pan, supercharger with throttle body, fuel injectors, and coil packs. It can be paired with a kit for relatively simple plug-and-play installation by experienced installers. The engine assembly and kit are designed for pre-1976 street and off-road vehicles only.
The “Hellephant” 426 Supercharged Mopar Crate HEMI engine includes valve covers from the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye; and the valve train, including valves, locks, and retainers, from the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The build includes a special high-lift cam and custom-forged pistons.
The kit includes a powertrain control module (PCM) — that’s “the computer” — with a power distribution center, engine wiring harness, chassis harness, accelerator pedal, ground jumper, oxygen sensors, charge air temperature sensors, fuel pump control module, and cam bus interface device. The PCM is unlocked and tuned to pump out 1,000 horsepower and 950 lb.-ft. torque.
As with the “Hellcrate” engine, Mopar will sell a Front End Accessory Drive (FEAD) Kit, with an alternator, power-steering pump, belts, pulleys, and such. The kit includes in-depth information sheets with helpful installation tips and requirements.
Does this imply that we will find a 426 Hemi production engine under our hoods someday, as MoparInsiders predicted? It might, and it might not. The sensible money would predict that this is the rumored new 426 Hemi, and not a future production engine. On the other hand, while a 426 Hemi would be an insane waste of money if it was just a high-end motor for Challengers and Chargers, high-powered Rams and Jeep Grand Cherokees might justify the cost of a new 7-liter motor. Sure, it goes against the current trend of smaller engines plus electric motors or supercharging, but … this is Ma Mopar we’re talking about. They have never danced to the same beat as everyone else.
Maybe, just maybe, the next-gen Ram 2500 will have a 7-liter, naturally aspirated Hemi V8 with 426 cubes. Maybe, just maybe, the Wagoneer will get a tuned-down, 850-horsepower Hellephant. Who knows?
The author of Dodge Viper, Jeep’s Go-Anywhere Vehicles, and The Rise and Reinvention of Chrysler Minivans, David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.info and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form (preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304.