Kevin Hart’s new 1000-hp Charger raises hell in carbon fiber
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart has a new 1000-hp, carbon-fiber 1970 Dodge Charger thanks to the muscle car specialists at SpeedKore. This car, dubbed Hellraiser, is one of the first builds we’ve seen to use Mopar’s supercharged “Hellephant” crate engine, which takes the Hellcat and Demon Hemi V-8s to the next level by upping bore and stroke to reach that magical Hemi displacement of 426 cubic inches.
SpeedKore is known as much for restomod classic muscle-car builds as it is for carbon-fiber bodywork on late-model muscle. We got an invite in 2019 to see how those panels are made from pre-impregnated carbon-fiber weave. While at the facility in Grafton, Wisconsin, we caught a couple of Chargers in construction, but we’re not sure if any of them ended up as this Hellephant-powered beauty.
The car seems to be the replacement for Hart’s 40th birthday gift to himself, a SpeedKore 1970 Plymouth Cuda known as “Menace,” which appeared in the 2018 film The Fate of the Furious. Sadly, Hart was seriously injured in the car just two months later. He has since recovered from his injuries and was first spotted behind the wheel of a car—a 1969 Camaro—late in 2019.
The extensive carbon-fiber that SpeedKore uses for its Charger restomods means that each vehicle gets stripped nearly to cowl and floorboards. SpeedKore uses the teardown as an opportunity to fabricate a 14-point rollcage to provide rigidity for the chassis and increase safety for the occupants. In Hart’s build, that cage is tied into a custom chassis that uses a C6 Corvette front suspension configuration with additional components from muscle car handling specialists Detroit Speed. The rear suspension is a four-link setup of SpeedKore’s own design. Heavy-duty front and rear antisway bars keep the car planted through corners. Beefy Brembo brakes, six-piston front and four-piston rear, provide for far more stopping power than any ’70s Mopar could dream.
The 1968–70 Charger is already among the most beautiful coupes Mopar ever created, but SpeedKore honed the design just a bit, with carefully selected modifications that don’t disrupt the car’s original lines. The drip rails are gone, the windshield is flush-mounted, and the quarter-glass trim is now much slimmer. Of course, the trim has also been modernized, but even that touch remains subtle. The grille, along with every other bit of trim that would normally be chrome, is machined from aluminum and finished in gray titanium Cerakote.
Hart wanted to showcase his car’s construction, so there’s only a BASF Glasurit gloss clearcoat laid atop the carbon-fiber panels. In the same vein, a cutout in the hood shows off the Hellephant’s 3.0-liter supercharger. Still, with the subtle gray shades covering everything from the body to the wheels, this completely customized ride, while no sleeper, is rather understated.
We already mentioned the 1000-hp Hellephant crate engine, but the engine’s not much good if the power doesn’t make it to the pavement. SpeedKore chose the same ZF 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission that you’d normally find in a Demon, so the gearbox is sure to hold up to the 950-pound-feet of torque from the big-little Hemi. That transmission transfers power to a Ford 9-inch rear axle and on to a staggered set of HRE S201 three-piece wheels that measure 19×9 inches in the front and 20×12 in the rear. They’re wrapped in 245/35 and 345/30 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, respectively.
The interior is where the Charger’s design deviates the most from the factory appearance. Gabe’s Custom Interiors applied the finishing touches to the reimagined door panels, console, and dash and covered a set of Recaro GT Sportster seats in red and black leather. There’s also a matching set of rear seats, although the harness bars for the front seats’ four-point belts make them more finely upholstered shelves than actual chairs. Climbing back there would not be easy.
SpeedKore has built some of the most memorable ’68–70 Chargers of the last several years, and Hellraiser fits right in among them. With ample Hemi power, gorgeous lines, exquisite details, and a pro-touring chassis, this could be the best melding of modern performance and classic looks we’ve seen from SpeedKore yet.