It’s a discussion we all have had: “Wouldn’t it be great to shove X engine in Y car and see what happens?!” Fire up Google and you’ll find thousands of pages and pics of engine swaps. There’s no denying the LSx is a popular swap, but for us Dodge fans, we want to stay brand loyal … and we want more power! And that’s how we get to this story…
Karr Crapps is quickly becoming the thing of internet legend. Scratch that, his car is. With nearly 35,000 subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, he’s got eyes on his SRT® Hellcat engine-powered project car and I HAD to know more about it.
Up first, the car itself. Karr says he “loved Carroll Shelby’s idea of the smallest car with the biggest engine” when Shelby developed the original Cobra all those years ago. Karr wanted to make a modern day version of that, so he started with the ubiquitous Mazda Miata. It’s become the best-selling roadster of all time, so finding one to cut up was easy and cheap.
Then, he needed a driveline and we get to thank his father for the Mopar® influence. “Dad was always hunting for Dodges,” said Karr. “I remember a ’70 Charger, Panther Pink. A ’70 440 Six Pack. Super Bees. There was a Superbird dad found in some random guy’s garage.” So when it came time to do an over the top engine swap, he was destined to do a Dodge. “The donor car was a wrecked Green Go [SRT] Hellcat, 6-speed car. I got the Mopar engine harness from the Hellcrate kit, did a custom drive shaft and an 8.8-inch rear end. A big radiator topped it off.”
Let’s be honest, that’s a lot of engine in a tiny car. How much cutting was needed to fit the SRT Hellcat in there? “I watched a lot of internet videos to see what others had done, then started cutting until it fit!” Karr said. He wound up doing more work than he needed to do and adds, “My advice to anyone trying this in the future is that if it fits, great, but if not, I’d recommend taking out the firewall, transmission tunnel and then rebuilding around that.”
I won’t go into too much detail on the build itself; he’s done a fantastic job highlighting it on his YouTube channel. Just know this wasn’t a bolt-in job; lots of custom fabrication was needed to make it fit. The exhaust is custom and sticks out of the front bumper cover. There was no way to keep the SRT Hellcat under the stock hood, so that’s been cut to allow clearance (and show off that amazing powerplant!). The donor car was in a wreck and even simple things like sensors had to be replaced … but the guys got it done and it works brilliantly!
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of weight to the car. “Even with the [SRT] Hellcat driveline in it, the car only weighs 2,580 pounds,” Karr said. That’s barely 100 pounds more than the car weighed with its original four-cylinder engine! But instead of 120 horsepower, it now has well over 700. In fact, while the SRT Hellcat is still running on its stock internals, it has a tune and some basic tweaks … and in 6th gear at 4,600 rpm on the dyno, IT SPUN THE TIRES! This thing is a BEAST!
Karr says the power delivery is wicked “and when you press the gas in any gear, it feels like you’re in first.”
With the flick of your right foot, “Hellkitty” liquifies tires in seconds, but would you believe he’s looking for more?! “Of course I’d like to make more horsepower. Why not?! Dodge and Mopar are pushing it these days; look at the 1,000-horsepower Hellephant!”
Karr isn’t the first person to do an SRT Hellcat swap; in fact, it’s becoming more popular due to the amount of horsepower available. The guys at Roadkill put one in their 1968 Charger “General Mayhem” a while back, and of course Gas Monkey Garage built the “Shart Cat.” Back in 2015, those two cars and the shows that built them came together at our first-ever Roadkill Nights Powered By Dodge … and they faced off on the dragstrip.
We talked about how you can buy a Hellcrate engine ready to go from Mopar, and a lot of projects will go that route, but Karr says, “I love that Dodge isn’t holding back, that the [SRT] Hellcat isn’t a limited production car.” That means there will be plenty of SRT Hellcat donor cars for builds like his.
And that begs the question: what would YOU put an SRT Hellcat engine in? Let us know in the comments below!