A California company is doing what we all knew was bound to happen one day. They’re swapping the Gladiator’s engine with a Hellcat’s.
So we’ve got a Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 Rebel is on the way, and a Hellcat-powered Wrangler has been made in concept form, although FCA says that it’s a little too tight a fit for it to ever see the light as a production car.
We’ve even seen an old-school Gladiator be heavily modified to accept a Hellcat engine for this year’s Easter Jeep Safari.
But a true Gladiator trim with a Hellcat engine seems to be outside the realm of possibility. While the Hellcat engine fits inside the engine bay of a Wrangler or Hellcat, it’s only just. Such a vehicle would never pass a collision test as there’s not enough space for crumple zones.
So while a Hellcat Gladiator will never be an official Jeep vehicle (at least, for now), it’s certainly not stopping enthusiasts from creating their own Hellcat Gladiators.
Really, it was just a matter of time before one popped up, and it looks like our first build comes courtesy of Dynatrac, purveyor of fine custom Jeeps and aftermarket parts. They call their project “Codex” for reasons that escape us, but the name really isn’t important. What’s important is that they’re putting a Hellcat engine inside a Gladiator.
Not only that, they’re also shortening the Gladiator by a good 2 feet and turning the crew cab into an extended cab. This requires some pretty hefty modifications that include (but are not limited to) cutting the chassis completely in half. The rear row is entirely removed until there’s just a bit of storage space behind the front seats.
Phase one of Dynatrac’s master plan involved a road trip out to see America’s Most Wanted 4x4 in Michigan where they helped with the frame cutting and bodywork. After getting all the really hard work done including swapping the 3.6-L Pentastar V6 with the 6.2-L supercharged Hellcat V8, Dynatrac drove their Frankensteined Gladiator all the way across the continent back to Southern California where they’ll complete the build.
The final product is expected to be a superpowered Baja buggy. Since, y’know, sand dunes need 707 hp.
(Source: Mopar Insiders)