Ralph Gilles has a 1,000-hp Hellucination thanks to Speedkore
Remember when Dodge’s Hellephant 7.0-liter V8 crate engine sold out in 48 hours, thanks to a rumored production run of just 100 units? So far that we know of, two have ended up at Wisconsin carbon fiber and tuning shop Speedkore. The first we got wind of made an appearance in 2020 in a 1970 Dodge Charger that Speedkore was flogging on the dyno. It would become the Hellraiser, built for Kevin Hart. The second is this, a custom job based on the 1968 Charger that’s been dubbed the “Hellucination,” built for none other than Stellantis’ design boss Ralph Gilles. The man who joined Chrysler 30 years ago and has his name on several of its icons said his love for cars came from “growing up watching a certain orange car doing amazing things on TV as a kid.” Hence this modern take on the Charger the Duke boys flogged and flew all over Hazzard County.
Despite the aggro looks, Gilles said the aim with the Hellucination was to “reduce the weight yet keep it comfortable enough to drive cross country.” The weight loss and stance helped make this what Speedkore called its most intense build. The firm created a custom perimeter frame with an integrated roll cage, endowing the Charger with a wider stance than stock. Putting the company’s composite expertise to use, Speedkore added a custom carbon floor, wheel wells, and carbon fiber body panels with carbon valances front and rear. That’s only the beginning of the weight loss, which continues with a custom carbon dash inside, carbon-backed front seats, deleted rear seats, and carbon door panels. The custom Classic Instruments gauges pair with the custom center console and 2,000-watt, six-speaker Kicker audio system. Dapper Lighting provided the one-off illumination.
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We’re on-board with Gilles’ idea of a cross-country steed, although passengers won’t have to be told to be still thanks to the Race-Quip four-point harness. The Hellephant’s still rated at 1,000 horsepower, breathing through custom Speedkore four-into-one headers that bellow through Magnaflow mufflers. The battery and fuel cell live in the back, along with an oil reservoir for the dry-sump lubrication system. Ride quality has been assigned to a custom suspension all around, braking quality is outsourced to 20 pistons worth of Brembos all round. The rolling stock is a pair of custom 19-inch HRE wheels in front, 20 inches in back, on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.
The build took two years. SpeedKore said it’s the first time it has worked with a client on the design of a project, the client’s intent being “fusing the best of modern muscle tech as faithfully as possible in an all-carbon-fiber body that honors a legend that still looks great 54 years later.” And we can imagine the Hellucination doing the same, starring in some car show somewhere in 2076.