You’d be excused if you mistook a Hellephant Engine for Snuffleupagus, the charming but fictional pseudo-woolly mammoth from Sesame Street. The Hellephant, like Snuffleupagus, has never been sighted in the wild, leading many to believe it never existed. Of course, “Hellephant” refers to Mopar Performance’s all-aluminum 426-cubic-inch 1,000-hp Hemi crate engine.
The Hellephant Hemi crate engine, based on the Hellcat Hemi found in the ground-breaking 2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat Challenger, was unveiled to the public at the 2018 SEMA show, but unlike the Hellcat’s 707-hp Hemi (discussed in full here), it will not be offered in a production car.
Hellephant engine for a Supercharger
Mopar produced the Super Charger, a modified 1968 Dodge Charger with updated styling, wide Demon-inspired fender flares, Demon “Devil’s Pitchfork” wheels, and a roaring Hellephant crate engine, to show off their new creation.
If you look closely, you can see that the general proportions have been tweaked—very seductive, indeed. That car would eventually make a cameo appearance alongside the mayor of Muscleville, Bill Goldberg, at SoCalLX Spring Festival of LXs in Pomona in the spring of 2019. (See the gallery for examples.) The Super Charger concept is still one of Mopar’s most recognizable concepts, complete with an engine to match.
The Name of the Hellephant
The Hellephant is a mashup of the words “Hellcat” and “elephant” from Mopar history. We’re all familiar with the current Hellcat as the SRT production car with the 707-hp Hellcat Hemi, but what about the “elephant” part? The moniker for the second-generation Hemi was released in race-only form in 1964 and then as the Street Hemi in 1966. It was given the term “elephant engine” because of its enormous size, weight, and ground-pounding force. The “Hellephant” seemed logical for the finest crate engine ever created. Where did they all go, though?
Where Have All The Hellephants Gone?
In over two years, we haven’t heard anything about the Hellephant from Mopar Performance. During that time, FCA was renamed Stellantis, and Mopar Performance was renamed Direct Connection, but the shift was put on hold when a global pandemic halted life in general. Instead of ramping up production on the Hellephant, Mopar Performance introduced the Hellcrate Redeye crate, a quick grab from the SRT Redeye passenger-car assembly line with “only” 807 horsepower.
On your marks, get set, and place your order!
We jumped at the bait, and who wouldn’t? The Hellcrate Redeye (except the Hellephant) has 807 horsepower, making it the world’s most powerful pump-gas crate engine. (I’ll get to that later.) So, what went wrong? According to Motor1, too much tension in the timing chain assembly caused a malfunction, which required a manufacturing delay over a year after the crate engine’s debut.
The 1,000-hp crate engine, on the other hand, could only be specifically ordered starting April 26, 2019 (Hemi day, get it? ), and order banks were closed within 48 hours. To get one, you had to be aware of it ahead of time, have $30 grand in your pocket, and hit the “buy it now” button rapidly before they all sold out. Then you had to wait 14 months for it.
Hellephants have been spotted, On YouTube,
The trail then stayed quiet until the summer of 2020, when recordings of real Hellephant crate engines began to appear on YouTube. The shop vloggers at Demonology fitted and dynoed a Hellephant crate engine in a 2018 Dodge Demon (944 rear-wheel hp), and then the irrepressible Dennis Collins of Fast ‘n’ Loud fame offered a pair of Hellephant crate engines for sale to the highest bidder here. Demonology’s initial quarter-mile test, which generated the best e.t. of 9.27 / 150 at New Jersey’s Atco Raceway, stood out among the usual crop of Hellephant unboxing videos.
The Power Of 1,000 HP And Then Some
The Hellephant crate engine, based on what we’re seeing on the Demonology dyno and quarter-mile drag testing, is closer to 1,200hp, a number that we’re sure will excite Mopar fans but not so much Chevy and Ford fans. We can praise Mopar Performance for some clever design work on the all-aluminum crate Hemi.
Still, some of the credit goes to Tool Engineering International (TEI), a company we haven’t mentioned previously. The engine block for the Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye crate engines is cast iron, but the 426ci Hellephant’s TEI-sourced aluminum block is shared with the new limited-edition 2021 Drag Pak Challenger we told you about here.
We’d like to see more Hellephant crate engines appear on a more regular basis, and there are reports that a second production run is in the works. Everyone understands that a Hellephant engine isn’t a commodity like a 5.7L or 392 Hemi; it’s a halo product for a halo brand. More goods on the street are required for that marketing strategy to work as intended.
With only roughly 100 Hellephants left, each one is a one-of-a-kind brand ambassador, and with a global epidemic in the works, more production volume may be required to get the word out.
Don’t you think so? (We’d love to hear from you if you already have a Hellephant crate engine installed.) Send a couple of nice images to john email@example.com with the subject line “Hellephant Crate Engine.”