The only thing this ’06 Charger ute needs is a Hellephant swap
Car-based pickups are marvels of practicality for many people but are nearly extinct in the eyes of automakers across the globe. In such a vacuum, companies like Smyth Kit Cars have filled the void with aftermarket conversions such as the pièce de résistance of this Bring a Trailer auction.
Born out of a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T, this spiritual successor to the Rampage arrives at the (virtual) auction block with the 340-hp 5.7-liter Hemi paired with the Mercedes-Benz sourced five-speed automatic. The combo would put the stock four-door sedan past 60 mph in the five-second range, and the meatier Hellcat-style wheels are sure to help this modified ute claw into the pavement much more effectively than the original 225-mm-wide donuts that came with the R/T from the factory.
The ute conversion kit from Smyth comprises the rear quarter panels, tail gate, and interior sheetmetal for the new truck bed. The unibody structure that remains after the chop-and-slice treatment is reinforced by the kit’s aluminum structures, which tie into the B-pillar, roof, and floor to return some rigidity to the chassis. The bed walls are 1/8-inch-thick aluminum, which keep weight in check while still providing a durable work surface for hauling junk. The original under-floor stowage for the spare tire has been retained beneath a clever access panel. Smyth also fit fiberglass fenders over this new internal structure, sealing the OEM appearance of the conversion with a pair of Dodge Caravan (or Chrysler Town & Country) tail lamps.
This appears to be a well-sorted conversion, and the ute has the right look thanks to the sinister combination of the black paint and chunky Hellcat wheel-and-tire package—but a naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter Hemi just doesn’t raise my pulse, as practical and durable as it is. A pistol-gripped TR6060 manual backing, say, a Hellephant could turn this into the ultimate do-all daily-driver. Though that gearbox may not be as quick as the machine-gun ZF eight-speed automatic found in the Hellcat and the Demon, the idea of a banging gears with 1000 hp and a pickup bed just seems like the natural course of action for something as outlandish as a Charger ute. (Chargute?)
Currently, bidding sits at $7777 with 6 days left to go. If you’ve been waiting to live Chargermino dream, this may be your moment.