First 426 Hemi Hellephant-Powered Demon Hits The Track

Remember Mopar’s 1,000 horsepower “Hellephant” crate engine that rocked the 2018 SEMA Show? Well, we’re finally getting to see it strut all that power and torque on the dragstrip, and out of the box, it’s quite impressive.

FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) made headlines when it revealed the 426 cubic-inch crate engine, its most ambitious and powerful ever produced. Topped with a 3.0-liter supercharger funneling 15-pounds of boost into the Gen III hemispherical combustion chambers, the net result was 1,000 horsepower and 950 lb-ft of torque. 

The limited-run Hellephant was to be delivered with the supercharger and throttle body, flywheel, water pump, oil pan, coil packs, and fuel injectors, at a price of $29,995. But that lofty price tag didn’t deter consumers, as the entire run sold out in less than 48 hours when offered in early 2019. Actual production numbers have never been issued by FCA, but considering the engines are hand-built, the total number is believed to be low, at perhaps 100 or fewer. However, issues with the camshafts that resulted in breakage delayed delivery of the engines until late last year. 

Among those who made it in under the bell on pre-orders was AJ Berge, who already owned one of Dodge’s popular SRT Demon straight-line machines and had been pushing it to its limits. While some may view it as a bit sacrilegious to pull the engine from such a rare and mystified production car, Berge swapped out the 808-horsepower 6.2-liter Hemi from the Demon for the aluminum Hellephant, hell-bent (pun intended) on finding what it’s capable of.

Before flogging it on the racetrack, the modded Demon was put through its paces on a chassis dyno — there, it produced 944 horsepower and 877 lb-ft of torque to the wheels, at 6,500 rpm and running on a mix of E-40 fuel at 16.5-pounds. If we use the standard 15-percent efficiency loss formula (that number can vary widely, so we’re just being general here), that would calculate to 1,085 horsepower.

No matter the real number, it’s impressive horsepower direct from a manufacturer. But what can it do on the real-world uno that is the asphalt 1/4-mile?

Fine-tuned and ready, Demonology took its one-of-a-kind SRT Demon to New Jersey’s Atco Raceway and made a series of runs, including two passes in the 9-second zone and culminating in a best lap of 9.27 at 150.06 mph and a 1.462 60-foot time on VP Racing Fuels MS019 fuel and at 17.5-pounds of boodst. Given that run noticeably far from perfect, it’s a fair assumption this is an 8-second car with a little work on the launch and the shifting. Berge himself even admitted the car exceeded his expectations for its first time out, in which he made nine total runs. At one point the car went 1.31 to 60-feet, and he’s predicting — “mark my words” as he puts it — by this fall it will go 8.80 at 155 mph.

Berge noted that he’s “not pushing the engine at all,” utilizing a safe tune and an upper and lower pulley combination that keeps the supercharger in a “safe” zone. Berge adds, “it’s unreal….Dodge and Mopar really did their homework, and this engine is killer.

While you could get into the eights for for less than the $85,000 sticker on the Demon and the 30-grand for the Hellephant engine, this kind of style — style right from the factory — isn’t quite as attainable.

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About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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