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Dropping a 707-horsepower Hellcrate motor into a ’68 Charger

Kamil Kaluski December 11, 2017 All Things Hoon 23 Comments

In case you need further confirmation that we live in amazing automotive times, the Hellcrate engine may just be it. Order it from Mopar, install it, and transform a vehicle of your choice into a tire-shredding 707-horsepower monster. Easy, right?

The real question is what vehicle to drop this monster engine into?

A customer of Ace Performance, in Tewksbury, MA decided to drop into what might be perfect candidate for it, a ’68 Dodge Charger R/T.

The project vehicle is a previously restored ’68 Dodge Charger R/T. It has a period-correct 440 under the hood and looks damn proper down to the vinyl roof, black steelies, white letters, and the almighty dog dish hubcaps. But it’s not a numbers-matching car or otherwise unique, besides being generally awesome. Chrysler made tens of thousands of these and this is just one of the refreshed survivors.

Hellcrate upboxing!

Our friends at ACE Performance “Advanced Concepts Engineering” have received a special crate with a motor in it.
A Hellcrate, if you will.
Here they are unboxing it.
Baer Connard

Posted by Hooniverse on Monday, December 11, 2017

The Hellcat engine was ordered directly from Mopar. Along with the engine came the optional Crate HEMI Engine Kit with powertrain control module (PCM), power distribution center, engine wiring harness, chassis harness, accelerator pedal, ground jumper, oxygen sensors, charge air temperature sensors and fuel pump control module.

Like making a baby, any idiot can drop a crate engine into a chassis, but making it work is a whole other story. Ace Performance is installing a Emtron ECU in place of the Dodge unit to make the whole thing run. It will help with possible future expansions, flexibility to add more power, and modern motorsport features such as traction control, launch control, and boost by gear. The engine will be connected to a Tremec T56 Magnum manual transmission. From there the power will travel to a Dana 60 differential equipped with a limited-slip rear gearing.

With this much power, chassis upgrades are a must. Magnum Force Transformer full-cradle with coil-over springs at all four corners and four-link rear will replace the leaf springs. Baer brakes will handle the stopping duties. Because of the size of these brakes, the wheels will be upgraded from 15-inch to 18-inch but will remain black painted steel. Proper rubber, to be determined, will do its best to keep Charger going where directed.

Otherwise, this Charger will remain looking pretty much as is seen in these photos. There is some talk to perhaps upgrading the seats for whiplash prevention purposes, but that’s really about it. It will look just any other black Charger with black wheels, chrome trim, and a vinyl roof. But it might sound and go a bit differently.

We will be following the progress of this project. 

  • robbydegraff

    Can we just call this car Hellcrates?

  • Wayne Moyer

    So do I drop this into my 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan or my 1986 Country Squire? Hellsquire has a nice ring to it.

    • njhoon

      CoyoteSquire perhaps?

      • Wayne Moyer

        Wouldn’t I have to dance on a bar in really tight fitting clothes for that? You wouldn’t want to see that. Ask Kamil.

    • 1slowvw

      It only makes sense to put it in the back of caravan…and have it powering the back wheels.
      Why not in the front ? Because only turbo 4 cylinder should be used to power fwd drag racing vans.

    • Alff

      Hellavan

    • 0A5599
  • njhoon

    This makes me all tingly and all smiley.

  • Krautwursten

    It’s alright. But people overrate power these days. 700 hp are good for absolutely nothing other than making lots of smoke and noise and being an attention grabber at car meets, and maybe going quick in a straight line (how original). I think I’d have more fun in a 90 hp British roadster.

    • Mike Caras

      I think you under estimate the abilities of the Emtron ECU to help put the power to the pavement. The traction control and boost by gear features allow you to hold the reigns and control the beast with relative ease.

  • Rover 1

    Is this the correct answer for the continuation build question?
    http://hooniverse.com/2017/12/11/hooniverse-asks-which-car-should-get-a-continuation-version/

  • Alff
  • Alff
  • dukeisduke

    It’s a lot simpler than when Aaron Kaufman and the crew did it in the Gas Monkey Garage, creating the Shartcat. They had to delete most of the donor wiring harness, and it took two different tuner companies to even get the thing to start, once installed in the Dart. They were the first to truly get a standalone Hellcat to run (the Roadkill guys just stuck all the Challenger stuff in their Charger).

    • cap’n fast

      the roadkill guys really polished that turd. next week they will wash it with bleach to bring out the patina. does not take much to entertain a hotroder.
      lets put one into a smart-for-two and see if the driver will get strained thru his “cool cushion”.

  • dukeisduke

    The Magnum Force guys are doing some great work, enabling modern Hemi installs in old E-Body and B-Body Mopars, with the various cradles they offer.

  • dukeisduke

    What’s up with that Escort up on the lift?

    • ACE Performance

      That is the ACEscort – its a 1977 MKII that is getting a 2.0 ecoboost, paddle shifted sequential, bosch motorsport ABS and a few other little tweaks.

      https://www.facebook.com/ACEMK2/