Video This 1968 Dodge Charger Has A 1000bhp ‘Hellephant’ Engine | Top Gear American Tuned ft. Rob Dahm

Video Dodge ✅ Stellantis chief designer Ralph Gilles is best known for icons like the Chrysler 300 and the fifth-gen SRT Viper. But a 1,000-horsepower, carbon-fiber-body Hellucination 1968 Dodge Charger built by SpeedKore is his pride and joy. What started life as a rusty barn find is now a completely custom restomod powered by a 7-litre ‘Hellephant’ V8 pumping out that headline horsepower figure and a staggering 950lb ft of torque. Yeesh… ✅ This 1968 Dodge Charger Has A 1000bhp ‘Hellephant’ Engine | Top Gear American Tuned ft. Rob Dahm

⏩ Video content: This 1968 Dodge Charger Has A 1000bhp ‘Hellephant’ Engine | Top Gear American Tuned ft. Rob Dahm

0:00
(engine revving)
0:01
(gears shifting)
0:07
(both laughing)
0:09
– Oh, this makes me feel alive.
0:11
(mellow music)
0:18
– [Rob] This is a 1968 Dodge Charger.
0:21
At least that’s what it says
0:22
on the registration.
0:23
But it’s name and iconic shape
0:25
are only the beginning of this story.
0:28
Although it looks like a Charger,
0:29
almost everything about it has been changed, upgraded.
0:33
The body is all carbon fiber,
0:35
right down to the floor.
0:36
It’s got a custom frame, a wider track,
0:39
and a limited production Mopar Hellaphant crate engine.
0:42
It’s a classic American muscle car
0:43
that’s also from the future.
0:45
It’s what you might call, a hallucination.
0:48
(engine revving)
0:50
– And I’ve had the opportunity to drive
0:51
a variety of older cars,
0:53
but I almost would say that this is not
0:57
an older car, at all.
0:59
(engine revving)
1:01
(mellow music)
1:04
– [Rob] The Hellucination Dodge Charger
1:05
was built by Speedkore,
1:06
but it comes from the mind of Ralph Gilles,
1:08
Chief Design Office of global auto-maker, Stellantis.
1:12
Ralph has been design-lead behind cars like
1:14
the Chrysler 300, and the fifth gen Dodge Viper,
1:17
and was the CEO of Chrysler’s
1:18
Street and Racing Technology division,
1:20
known as SRT.
1:22
Ralph invited me to his place outside of Detroit
1:24
to check out the Hellucination Charger up close,
1:27
and talk about what inspired him to build this car.
1:30
(mellow music)
1:32
– Ralph, it is an absolute honor to meet you.
1:34
– Pleasure to meet you too Rob.
1:36
(mellow music continues)
1:39
– I’m a little overwhelmed, in a good way. (laughs)
1:41
The ACR, or the Viper, that’s something that,
1:44
being from Detroit, I know you for,
1:46
but I wanted to learn a little bit more
1:48
about all these other unique cars.
1:52
– This is where I keep my favorite things.
1:53
You know, I grew up loving cars as a kid,
1:55
and one of the ones that started it off for me
1:57
is the GTB,
1:58
and the designer of this is Giugiaro,
2:00
so he’s one of the probably most famous designers
2:02
of our time,
2:03
and there’s a lot of lines and proportions
2:04
that we still use to this day.
2:06
So the long hood, short deck,
2:07
that wonderful Giugiaro shoulder, I call it,
2:09
is on the Challenger today.
2:11
Then there’s the Evo Lancia Delta,
2:12
this is more the racing influence
2:14
so these were all-wheel drive,
2:15
with 225 horse power turbo,
2:19
and won five rally championships.
2:21
This was also a rally car,
2:22
so a boss of mine,
2:23
when I interned in France, had one,
2:24
and I fell in love with the way it drove.
2:26
Then there’s the Viper.
2:26
So, this is the gen five Viper,
2:28
and this is a 2016 ACR.
2:30
I think the first one off the line.
2:32
And I took it right to the race track.
2:35
– [Rob] You started getting into actual project cars.
2:37
– Yeah, I’ve always basically just been a Bolton guy,
2:40
and then I saw what Alfaholics was doing
2:42
with these generations of Alfa.
2:44
My favorite year of Alfas is the GT.
2:46
This was my first real restore-mod.
2:48
– [Rob] Okay.
2:49
– Where I took a car I’ve loved,
2:50
and all the style of the Giugiaro design,
2:52
but again trying to make it drive
2:54
as modern as possible
2:55
while staying true to the historic shapes.
2:58
And I love this car, this is one of those things,
3:00
I will never sell it, you know?(laughs)
3:01
– Mm hm.
3:02
– No one can ever buy it from me.
3:03
– It’s iconic.
3:04
– And I built this thing in my living room.
3:05
I was building the wiring harnesses,
3:06
and just putting stuff together all over,
3:09
it took a long time, but.
3:10
– I wanna learn a lot more about this car.
3:11
– I had to bring in the reinforcements on this one.
3:13
This required going to the professionals.
3:15
(mellow music)
3:22
– So this is the Hellucination.
3:23
It’s a 1968 Charger,
3:25
which is one of my original love affairs.
3:26
I’ve always loved Mopar, I grew up watching TV shows
3:29
where this car was the hero.
3:30
It’s a mixture of things I like about modern day cars,
3:33
older cars, race cars, my whole life basically,
3:36
things that have really checked the boxes for me,
3:38
are all in this one build.
3:40
It was literally a rusty barn find.(laughs)
3:42
We kept the cowl, and Speedkore did the rest,
3:45
and really started from scratch, custom chassis,
3:47
and of course the all carbon fiber body,
3:49
built around one of a hundred Hellephant engines.
3:52
– [Rob] And you were saying that it even has
3:54
air conditioning and everything?
3:56
– [Ralph] Yeah, a sound system,
3:57
it’s got a crazy sound system, and air conditioning.
3:59
As a designer, I wanted the car to look like a sketch,
4:01
actually go down the road as if it was a sketch
4:03
that came alive, and that was the idea of the stance.
4:06
They nailed the stance to get as low as possible,
4:08
but it’s sketched after the famous turbines
4:10
that were on General Lee.
4:12
– You were saying that this is a carbon chassis?
4:14
– Yeah, so this is the first one
4:16
where they experimented with a tub,
4:17
so the whole underfloor is kinda made
4:20
like a super car.
4:20
You know, the entire tub is creating the transmission tunnel
4:23
to allow the entire drive train to live
4:25
way up inside the car,
4:26
which has the side effect of making the car very stiff.
4:29
It’s a mind freak when you drive the car
4:30
because it doesn’t feel at all like what it looks like.
4:33
It really drives like a racer.
4:35
(engine revving)
4:38
– [Rob] Ralph, aside from being an iconic designer
4:41
is also somebody who is capable of appreciating
4:44
what it takes to build a variety of aspects of the car.
4:47
So he not only wants it to look good.
4:50
He knows what a car should handle like,
4:52
and that influences his decisions
4:54
when he’s creating vehicles.
4:56
It shows.
4:57
It shows fully.
4:59
(engine revving)
5:01
(mellow music)
5:02
– One of the things I never do on any of my cars
5:04
is make the interior look good,
5:06
and that is quite the opposite here.(laughs)
5:08
This is a work of art, all by itself.
5:10
– [Ralph] You’re looking at an interior
5:11
loosely inspired by the ’68,
5:13
so the dash is still pretty much the same way
5:15
of the ’68 with the six dials.
5:17
I think they’re iconic, the big gauges.
5:19
We worked with Cape Customs out of California.
5:21
They did all the upholstery.
5:23
So those parts were built in Milwaukee,
5:24
then shipped to California,
5:25
a few times actually, to get it right.
5:27
These are sport bucket recaros,
5:29
which is again, part of a bit of the mind freak of the car.
5:32
– [Rob] Yeah.
5:32
– [Ralph] You sit in there,
5:33
you feel like you’re in a race car.
5:34
And the steering wheel, this was machined,
5:35
out of solid billet.
5:37
The diameter of the steering wheel
5:38
is the same diameter as the original wheel,
5:40
so it feels very sporty,
5:41
but also gives you that vintage hallucination.
5:44
That’s the whole point of it,
5:45
you’re hallucinating right?(laughs)
5:46
– Yeah.
5:47
– So it’s kinda like you’re vibrating back and forth
5:48
between the past and the future.
5:50
The console is all 3D printed controls and dials
5:53
that power the windows and the air conditioning.
5:55
We didn’t want a radio, so it’s all Bluetooth audio.
5:57
And, of course, you can recognize that shifter
6:00
out of a Redeye.
6:01
Probably the only thing I’m not crazy about,
6:03
that’s literally just coming out of
6:04
one of our production cars.
6:05
The pedals are also 3D printed centered aluminum.
6:09
– Until I got into building cars more advanced
6:11
I don’t think people even appreciate
6:13
that, that pedal was man hours.
6:16
– Yes. (laughs)
6:17
– It was just one thing,
6:18
and it’s like, okay I finally got the pedal done.
6:20
– [Rob] Well and like, even something as simple and subtle
6:21
as the tach.
6:23
– [Ralph] Fun story there.
6:23
My daughter designed the tach.
6:24
– [Rob] Did she?
6:25
Yeah, she designed the gauges,
6:26
and the Hellephant,
6:27
which is very similar to the actual Hellephant
6:29
that we put on our production car,
6:30
but she stretched it to give it more velocity,
6:32
so it’s actually, the ears are pulled back
6:34
– [Rob] That is cool.
6:35
– [Ralph] So we had a lot,
6:36
bit of a family project.
6:37
– [Rob] Yeah.
6:38
– [Ralph] She helped me pick the colors as well,
6:40
and, of course, I wanted a pop of color,
6:41
so the anodized orange sets off the seats,
6:43
and all the stitching throughout.
6:45
And then the roll cage,
6:46
which is an extremely critical part of the build,
6:48
so that is totally functional,
6:50
the cages go back to the suspension load points.
6:53
– Okay.
6:54
It’s also basically the integrity of the vehicle,
6:56
makes it much, much safer
6:57
than the original car ever would be.
6:59
– And they have it tucked right-
7:01
– Yeah, yeah, you don’t kinda really see it’s there.
7:03
– I didn’t even realize they had a roll cage.
7:05
– Yeah, they did a nice job integrating it,
7:07
but it literally is part of the body of the car.
7:09
Gives it the firmness.
7:10
– I’d love to see the thing that powers this car.
7:12
– Yeah, lets, wanna take a look?
7:14
(mellow music)
7:19
– [Rob] Oh my God.
7:21
It’s a work of art.
7:22
– Same reaction a lot of people have.
7:24
(both laughing)
7:25
And I have it every time I open the hood,
7:26
I just get reminded of how much,
7:29
blood, sweat, and tears went into this project.
7:31
They made 100 Hellephant motors,
7:33
they are all aluminum 426 7.0 liter motor,
7:36
so it’s a full liter bigger than a Redeye engine.
7:39
And it’s a number that a lot of Moparians respect,
7:41
you know the 426.
7:42
– There’s so many different things
7:44
that your eyes can just fixate on,
7:46
and like for me, it’s as simple as like,
7:48
the headlight wires, I can’t see those.
7:50
– Yeah. (laughs)
7:51
– They’re there.
7:52
– [Ralph] And you know car culture better than anyone,
7:53
the first thing that happens at car meets,
7:54
is people want to see the engine, right?
7:56
So you open the hood, and Speedkore took that into account,
7:58
as we did, thinking about that event.
8:00
How do you present the engine.
8:02
One of my favorite cars is the Viper, as well,
8:04
so we made the hood open the same way,
8:06
the gen five, and the gen one and two Vipers open.
8:10
So that’s kinda cool-
8:11
– Yeah.
8:12
– So that’s a nice nod.
8:13
(mellow music)
8:15
(engine revving)
8:19
– [Rob] This already does not feel like,
8:21
what the car looks like.
8:23
– Yeah, yes, and it’s quiet,
8:24
– Like I wanted the exhaust. – Yeah.
8:26
– I mean, it’s loud when you get on it,
8:28
but it’s not bad.
8:29
– Which is like, the right combo.
8:31
– [Rob] ‘Cause you don’t wanna like neuter it,
8:32
when it’s under power,
8:34
but you want it to be good while you’re driving-
8:37
It’s just cruising.
8:39
– When I first drove around the track,
8:40
it was one thing,
8:41
but we took it down to the Power Tour,
8:43
and we went through the Smoky Mountains in it,
8:45
and it just got smaller and tighter as I-
8:48
The more I drove it, the more confident I got,
8:50
and all of the sudden I think,
8:52
we should take this to the Tail of the Dragon. (laughs)
8:54
– You actually did the Dragon with this?
8:55
– No, I wanted to. – Okay, yeah. (laughs)
8:57
– It’s that much fun to drive.
8:58
– [Rob] Yeah.
8:59
– [Ralph] Yeah, zero body lean,
9:01
it does exactly what you’d expect it to do, ya know?
9:03
– Yeah, I’m expecting the whole like sway.
9:05
– It doesn’t, ya know?
9:06
It’s like tight,
9:07
the steering wheel just,
9:08
you think about it, and it just goes, ya know?
9:10
(mellow music)
9:13
– [Rob] Aside from the design of a car,
9:16
what other aspects of a car really feed your soul now.
9:19
– [Ralph] What feeds my soul is when
9:22
guys set up car clubs and stuff like that,
9:25
over a car you designed.
9:26
– That’s cool.
9:27
When I go to Carlisle,
9:28
I go to a meet,
9:29
and I see a clump of people together
9:30
with all the m&m colored Challengers,
9:33
and they’re all friends because of the car.
9:35
– Yeah.
9:36
– That’s what inspires me, ya know?
9:38
It’s like, it’s not just a commodity,
9:40
it’s not just an a to b device,
9:42
it’s something that defines who they are,
9:43
it’s something they express themselves with.
9:46
– You were saying that the car was kinda built
9:48
around the engine.
9:49
That makes me wonder, what about the chassis?
9:51
How did you adapt?
9:52
– Yeah, it’s got some great Detroit Speed gear
9:55
that I’d love to show if you want to take a look at it.
9:57
– Yeah, I’d love to.
9:58
(Hood slams)
9:59
(machine whirring)
10:01
– [Rob] That is not what I would have expected
10:03
underneath a Charger.(laughs)
10:05
– Well, meet the underside of Hellucination.
10:07
Very few people, unfortunately, get to see this.
10:10
It, to me, is impressive underneath,
10:12
as it is on top,
10:13
just the amount of craftsmanship,
10:15
and thoughtfulness that went into the layout.
10:18
I really give those guys a lot of credit.
10:19
– Now this is the Detroit Speed setup.
10:22
It’s a double wishbone front suspension,
10:24
with the Penske shocks.
10:25
– The, almost, the downside to me
10:26
of something being so well-engineered like this
10:28
is that when you look at it, you forget
10:31
that there are all these other things going on.
10:33
– Yeah. (laughs)
10:33
– And it could be like, oh well that’s easy. (laughs)
10:35
It’s not easy.
10:36
It’s like, I wouldn’t even have noticed it.
10:39
– Yeah, when I first got it,
10:40
I put it on the hoist right away,
10:41
just to enjoy.
10:42
I was here for a long time
10:44
just appreciating every detail they put into it.
10:47
(engine revving)
10:53
(mellow music)
10:58
– [Rob] You know, at this point in my life
11:01
I’ve realized that it’s not just about power,
11:04
it’s not just about handling,
11:06
it’s, a car really is so many different systems
11:10
all working together in harmony.
11:12
You know, when you start, you have to pick something,
11:14
you have to pick handling, you have to pick power,
11:17
and so you start with one,
11:19
and then you end up,
11:20
your dream is to end up with something like this.
11:23
(gears shifting)
11:24
(engine revving)
11:25
– Nasty.
11:27
What a nasty car.(laughs)
11:30
(mellow music)
11:36
(Rob laughing)
11:36
– Oh my God.
11:37
– [Ralph] Well, Rob, what do you think, man?
11:40
– That’s deceiving.
11:41
That thing looks like one thing,
11:43
and drives like a completely different animal,
11:46
but still has like your roots, the DNA of it.
11:49
– Yeah, it’s kinda mixing my favorite things,
11:51
you know, track car, muscle car, you know,
11:53
retro-build, you get it.
11:56
– Yes, yeah.
11:57
Well I’ll tell you what,
11:59
one thing I have learned is that
11:59
cars often, when built this crazy,
12:01
take on their owner’s personality.
12:03
I know that when I, I felt a lot of personality in the car,
12:06
and I feel like,
12:07
you know this car far more than I do.
12:09
(Ralph laughing)
12:10
Obviously the car is designed
12:11
to do a lot of different things,
12:12
and, of course, road course is
12:13
one of the more technical, complex ones,
12:15
but I did notice where we are at right now. (laughs)
12:20
(indistinct)
12:20
– Yeah.
12:21
(both laughing)
12:22
– I will step away from the vehicle.
12:24
I mean, oh my God.
12:25
(tires screeching)
12:33
(mellow music)

Join Top Gear’s tuning correspondent Rob Dahm for a tour around Ralph’s car collection and a fist hand experience with the Hellucination

Subscribe to Top Gear for more videos: http://bit.ly/SubscribeToTopGear

Chapters
00:00 Intro
01:39 Ralph Gilles Car Collection
03:15 The Hellucination 1968 Dodge Charger
05:10 Interior
07:14 The 1000bhp Hellephant Engine
09:13 Drive
11:37 Outro

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