SEMA Pranksters Swap Prius’ Hybrid Drivetrain For 1,000-HP Hellcat Engine


This would be the ultimate sleeper but those drag tires aren’t fooling anyone.

With cars like the Tesla Model S and Chevrolet Bolt roaming American roads, the Toyota Prius is no longer the most efficient car around. However, it’s status as the poster child for the green car revolution still comes packaged with its name. For gearheads, however, the Prius signifies something else entirely. With driving dynamics taking a backseat to fuel economy and daily usability, our people love to look at the Prius with scorn even if it really is a well-rounded car for city dwellers and Uber drivers.

That scorn can sometimes make Prius-based attempts at irony, like the Prius that was customized to look like a race car shown at 2012’s SEMA show or a V8-powered version of the car, come to fruition. The skilled funny guys responsible for the latter of the two Priuses (or is it Prii?) are none other than New York’s American Racing Headers, which we heard from this past July where they were busy stripping Toyota’s most popular hybrid and swapping its front-wheel drive gas-electric powertrain for a rear-wheel drive unit powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 from FCA’s Mopar division. Prius haters will be happy to learn that it’s the same engine used in the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat models.

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Better still is the fact that this unit had its 2.4-liter supercharger peeled off and replaced by a 4.5-liter Whipple blower so that the engine can breathe better and make 1,000 horsepower. And now ARH has taken the Stage at SEMA to unveil this beast, which it cleverly named “PriuSRT8.” If the bald eagle paint job, masses of stickers, or drag tires don’t give away this Toyota’s secrets, then maybe the roar of the engine will do. To stay true to the PriuSRT8’s drag racing aspirations, ARH made sure it was the real deal. That meant building an all-new platform, which includes a Ford 9-inch rear end and a custom double frame-rail chassis, and tying the power plant and rear wheels with a six-speed manual Tremec gearbox.

According to what ARH owner Nick Filippides told Road and Track, the PriuSRT8 will finish off a quarter mile in under ten seconds and with proper tuning, can get into the 8-second range. As much as we love the polar bears, this is the Prius we’d like to drive.

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