SEMA 2017 | Ten cars we want to ‘Hellcrate’ right now

The announcement that Mopar is offering a 707hp Hellcat engine ‘off the shelf’ has got us thinking. What better day than Halloween to come up with some Frankenstein-esque creation. 

If you can find $19,530 (£14,800) you too can add a 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI engine to pretty much whatever you want. This got us thinking about what should people be shoehorning the epic Hellcrate motor into, and we came up with these ten suggestions.

All of the ten cars here have Mopar family connections, avoiding any of those awkward brand-mixing moments. We’re taking a liberal approach in terms of technical possibility, with the attitude that with enough money and perseverance anything is possible.

1969 Dodge Polara HardtopHellcrate Hemi Ideas

We had already mentioned this one yesterday, and it’s naturally the first port of call on our list. Produced in various guises between 1960 and 1973, the Polara was a vast full-size land yacht offered in a range of bodystyles. However, it’s the 1969 model year with Dodge’s ‘Fuselage Look’ styling that really catches our attention, especially in two-door hardtop guise. A Hellcat engine would be a perfect swap for the 440-cubic inch (7.2-litre) V8, creating a subtle but terrifying cruiser.

1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘CudaHellcrate Hemi Ideas

Produced for just two years, the Hemi ‘Cuda was the high-performance version of the Plymouth Barracuda. Trying to pick between the 1970 or 1971 versions is tough, but we prefer the ’70 model due to the lack of gills behind the front wheel arches. The most impressive ‘Cudas featured a 426-cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 with 425hp, but an extra shot of nearly 300hp can only be a good thing, surely.

1972 Imperial LeBaronHellcrate Hemi Ideas

As some of the biggest production cars ever built, Chrysler’s Imperial LeBaron models were unashamedly huge. Measuring almost six metres in length, and tipping the scales at over 2,200kg, the LeBaron was a leviathan of the highway. Adding the Hellcrate engine could provide some much-needed propulsion for the LeBaron, and certainly couldn’t make the fuel economy any worse. (more…)

Hidden Desires #3 – Chrysler Crossfire

Sometimes there are cars you harbour a fondness for, despite all the sensible parts of your brain telling you it’s wrong. The Chrysler Crossfire is one of those vehicles featured here as part of our Hidden Desires series. 

2004 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe 001

Cast your mind back to 1998, and the merger between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation, forming the DaimlerChrysler company. What was dubbed a “merger or equals” turned out to be a marriage which was only equal in that it seemingly served no benefit to either party involved. The nine years of the DaimlerChrysler merger produced very little to show in terms of automotive synergy. Perhaps the only real legacy of that time is this one car; the Crossfire.

2004 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe 003

Built on the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK platform, the Crossfire shared almost 80% of its components with the Merc convertible. However, at its time of the Crossfire’s launch in 2003 the R170 chassis was already 7 years old, and due to be retired by Mercedes. The Crossfire was therefore hardly cutting edge, but that was at least in keeping with the retro-influenced styling.

2004 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe 002

Clarkson once described the rear as akin to a dog squatting to take a dump. Other commentators were slightly kinder, suggesting that the Crossfire was reminiscent of the American Motors Rambler Marlin with its fastback appearance. (more…)