4 cars that really need a Hellephant swap
In one of those historic “remember where you were” moments, on Tuesday, October 30 at 4:26 p.m. Pacific time, Mopar unveiled a 7.0-liter supercharged V-8 crate engine that it dubbed the Hellephant. The newest 426 HEMI produces an otherworldly 1000 horsepower and somehow manages to throw down 950 lb-ft of torque without violating some sort of international treaty.
In addition to producing an engine that could feasibly reanimate an elephant, Mopar also announced that it will be producing a kit to allow a fairly easy Hellephant swap into any pre-1976 Mopar vehicle. Superbirds, Coronets, Chargers, and Challengers are already fast enough and would certainly benefit from a Hellephant swap, but some vehicles need a little bit of extra help.
Here are four vehicles that really need a Hellephant:
Chrysler’s family hauler from late-1960s had everything you would want from a station wagon that was roughly the length and weight of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. It had wood paneling, room for an entire apartment building, and a giant 440-cubic-inch V-8 under the hood. The 440 is a fine engine and produced enough power to adequately move this land-yacht of a wagon, but the Town and Country could benefit from more horsepower. That’s why it’s a perfect candidate for the Hellephant. I can’t think of anything better than watching a wood-paneled barge destroy just about any production car at a drag race. It’s a sleeper car that you can actually sleep in.
1974 Dodge Sportsman Wagon
A Lamborghini Aventador in the highest trim produces 740 horsepower from a 6.5-liter V-12 and is a work of art produced only by the finest engineers in all of Italy. A 1974 Dodge Sportsman with a Hellephant swap produces 1000 hp and can be thrown together in an afternoon with plenty of time left over to airbrush a wizard holding an orb on the side. The choice is easy. It’s Van Time, dammit.
The Duster has two strikes against it: It was not an attractive car, and by the time 1973 rolled around, emissions controls sapped the life out of any “performance” engine around. The 340-cubic-inch V-8 wasn’t helping things much. Sure it was big, but it was really too little, too late. Throwing a 7.0-liter V-8 Hellephant into this sad little car is really a charitable act if you think about it. It’s giving the poor Duster a new lease on life. Some frame reinforcement may need to happen so the new engine doesn’t rip the car in half and scare every dog on the block, but I’m sure it’ll work out in the long run.
1974 Chrysler Limousine
A limousine is too long of a car for any real practical purpose, but if you think about it, a stretched-out sedan is a perfect blank canvas for a drag car. It’s already almost a quarter-mile long, so it really just needs that extra push. A Hellephant in a limousine would not only break new ground in ill-advised engine swaps but would probably require a NHRA to draft new rules forbidding anyone from propelling a several-thousand-pound car with enough velocity to wake Walter P. Chrysler from the dead.