Watch Jay Leno try to tame Speedkore’s 966-hp Charger Evolution
Each year at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, you can be certain there will be something new from Speedkore. Last time around it was a 1970 Dodge Charger christened “Evolution,” and Speedkore Vice President Dave Salvaggio brought the carbon-fiber bruiser to Jay Leno’s Garage so Jay could get some wheel time in the 966-horsepower machine.
Jay usually talks about a car before he drives it, but this time around the format was flipped, and considering the rare southern California rain that interrupted the drive, it was a good call. Despite the raindrops, Jay had the opportunity to open up the throttle on the Charger and enjoy the exhaust note through the custom headers and exhaust. Evolution is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi, just like the Dodge Demon, but it’s backed by a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed manual. The Demon only comes with electric power steering, so the dry-sump engine uses the front accessory drive from a Hellcat to add hydraulic power steering, necessary when turning the 245/35R20 front tires.
Speedkore has made a name for itself building muscle cars to exacting standards and with incredible attention to detail. Its cars make extensive use of carbon fiber and the company’s craftsmen have mastered the art and science of building with the strong, lightweight composite so they can show off the flawless panels without burying them under paint.
The carbon fiber isn’t just for looks; replacing much of the steel body with carbon fiber and using aluminum for the floors and dash helped keep the curb weight to around 3400 pounds—a significant weight saving, even compared to a stock Charger without a supercharger and roll cage. The body, totally reproduced in carbon fiber, is a faithful replica of Dodge’s design, but the front wheels were pushed forward 1.5 inches.
Jay has lots of praise for the way the car drives, noting that it doesn’t have the quirks he’s accustomed to encountering in a typical restomod. Speedkore also kept the timeless Coke-bottle Charger styling. The “Evolution” implied when Speedkore gave the Charger its name is all about the construction methods used, and not about drastically changing the look that Dodge got so right. Still, it’s in the details that the car shines.