Today, surviving examples are prized collectors’ items that can be worth north of $100,000 in mint shape. Many celebrities own one of these iconic muscle cars. Vin Diesel, the actor who rose to fame thanks to the Fast & Furious series actually has two: a rare, 1969 Daytona version, as well as a modernized, 1970 monster called Tantrum, which was a birthday gift from the cast of the F9 movie.
Build by SpeedKore Performance in 2015, this Charger was completely redesigned, and instead of its stock HEMI, it was fitted with a humongous 1,650-hp Mercury Racing V8 taken from a competition speed boat.
The Wisconsin-based company founded by Jim Kacmarcik and lead builder Dave Salvaggio started out fabricating high-quality carbon fiber components, but in the mid-2010s, they added custom car building to their resume. Completed a few months before the Tantrum, the team’s first major project was a 1970s Plymouth Barracuda dubbed Menace that was powered by a modern supercharged HEMI. Like the Tantrum, this car made a cameo appearance in a Fast & Furious movie and several years later, it was purchased by none other than Kevin Hart.
Two months later, the one-off Cuda was unfortunately totaled in a major crash on Mulholland Highway in California. Although he wasn’t driving, Hart suffered serious injuries, which he thankfully recovered from, but the amazing car could not be repaired.
The actor contacted SpeedKore and commissioned them to build an even more outrageous HEMI-powered muscle car, and chose the second-generation Charger as the base for the project. Nicknamed Hellraiser, the car started life as a 1970s model that was completely disassembled, and then transformed into the Tantrum’s little brother.
The chassis was completely rebuilt and reinforced to cope with the audacious performance that the team was targeting. The new structure featured an integrated 14-point roll cage for added safety, a revamped suspension setup with C6 Corvette aftermarket components made by Detroit Speed in the front, and a custom, four-link rear setup, with cushioning provided by a set of Penske double-adjustable shocks.
The list of chassis upgrades also included a hydraulic power steering from Woodward, and a Brembo high-performance braking system with two-piece drilled rotors hugged by 6-piston calipers in the front and smaller, 4-piston variants for the rear wheels.
For the powerplant, Dave Salvaggio, the man behind the project, chose to use a supercharged 7.0-liter Hellephant 426 HEMI crate engine. Although it isn’t as insane as the Tantrum’s 9.0-liter (552ci) twin-turbocharged V8, it can spit out an incredible 1,000 hp and 950 lb-ft (1,292 Nm) of torque.
Engine temperature is kept at bay by a huge Saldana radiator, and it exhales through a custom stainless steel exhaust system with Magnaflow mufflers.
The only thing I don’t like about this build is the ZF 8HP90 eight-speed automatic. Sure, it’s easier to integrate and it simplifies the driving experience, but a 1,000-hp machine such as this isn’t a true muscle car without a manual, or at least a pair of paddle shifters.
While the gearbox choice is debatable, the work done on the Hellraiser’s body isn’t. Made almost entirely out of carbon fiber using molds created from the panels of the original charger, it retains the gorgeous design of the iconic car, with the team adding only a few modern upgrades like the aluminum grille, carbon fiber side mirrors or the custom hood that exposes the supercharger.
Inside, everything was fully redesigned, mixing vintage design with modern elements. The dashboard was adorned with Classic Instruments gauges, the coolest of which is the fiery-red tachometer.
A custom, leather-trimmed, aluminum steering wheel was made specifically for this car, along with a small console that houses the transmission, air conditioning, and power window controls.
For the seats, the team chose a pair of Recaro GT Sportsters with Simpson Racing four-point seatbelts. The buckets, as well as the rear seats, were reupholstered in a black and red leather combo by Gabe’s Custom Interiors in San Bernardino, California, a company that worked on many of SpeedKore’s projects, including the Tantrum.
The monstrous vehicle was finished in a glossy clear coat that exposes the carbon fiber texture of the custom-built panels. It was outfitted with a set of HRE S201 wheels that measure 19 inches in the front and 20 in the rear.
With this incredible build, SpeedKore Performance managed to flawlessly transform yet another iconic muscle car into a carbon fiber-bodied work of art that exceeded Kevin Hart’s expectations. We only hope that he doesn’t let any of his friends drive it.
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