The legendary engine is showcased in a fantastic 1968 Dodge Charger restomod at SEMA

When the teasers started dropping from Dodge and Mopar, we suspected something big was in the works. Dare we say, the return of the 426 Hemi engine was the elephant in the room (pun totally intended) because all the signs pointed in that direction. The real question was how much power it would make, and today that question is answered. Say hello to the Hellephant – a 1000bhp plug-and-play crate engine for the street. Yikes.

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As the name suggests, this is basically a larger Hellcat mill with a cylinder bore of 4.0 inches and a stroke of 4.125 inches. The block is all aluminium and there’s an improved supercharger on top to force-feed the big engine copious amounts of air. The crate package includes all the important bits as well as a wiring harness and PCM tuned to give the engine its full power potential. There is a catch however – the crate engine is designed to work in applications for street and off-road use on pre-1976 vehicles only.

1000bhp 'Hellephant' revival engine revealed at SEMA
1000bhp 'Hellephant' revival engine revealed at SEMA

To showcase the return of the legendary 426 Hemi, FCA dropped the Hellephant into the body of everyone’s favourite bad-guy vehicle, a 1968 Dodge Charger called the Super Charger Concept. Of course, the build involved more than just dropping in a 1000bhp engine; it’s a full-on restomod with a six-speed manual transmission, massive six-piston Brembo brakes behind Hellcat wheels measuring 20 inches in front and 21 inches in back, and an updated interior with all kinds of bits borrowed from a modern Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and the recently departed Viper.

1000bhp 'Hellephant' revival engine revealed at SEMA
1000bhp 'Hellephant' revival engine revealed at SEMA

It’s undergone significant plastic surgery as well. Fiberglass widebody wings front and rear further add to the Charger’s menacing stance, but it also allowed the wheelbase to stretch a couple inches. You’ll notice there’s less overhang in front, with more modern-day inspiration found in the front splitter borrowed from the Demon, and a rear spoiler modelled from the current Charger R/T. The classic pop-up headlights are removed in favour of permanently installed eyes from the new Challenger, and discriminating Mopar enthusiasts will identify the side mirrors not from something new, but a classic 1971 Duster.

1000bhp 'Hellephant' revival engine revealed at SEMA
1000bhp 'Hellephant' revival engine revealed at SEMA

“Our enthusiasts crave power and performance and our new ‘Hellephant’ Mopar Crate HEMI engine and kit deliver huge horsepower and torque in a plug-and-play package that is unique in the industry,” said Steve Beahm, FCA's head of parts and service for Mopar and passenger cars. “The 1968 Dodge Charger is one of the hottest classic cars, which is why we decided to use it as a starting point for the ‘Super Charger’ Concept. It’s an amazing vehicle and a great showcase for our ‘Hellephant’ engine.”