We hesitate to call this Toyota Prius a sleeper. Perhaps sitting still, at some distance away, angled so you can’t see the massive rubber stuffed into the tubbed rear wheel arches, this would pass for a normal eco-friendly hybrid. Under any other circumstances, this normally whisper-quiet Prius will, at the very least, announce its presence via the 1,000-horsepower 6.2-liter Dodge Hellcat V8 wedged under the hood like the last spoonful of baked beans you try to stuff into a full Tupperware container after a summer barbecue.
Such is life for the lads at American Racing Headers, a New York-based company that, as the name suggests, specializes in headers and exhaust systems for a number of performance models. ARH also occasionally builds monsters, with the aforementioned Prius (affectionately named PriuSRT8) being a very curious machine among them.
As you’d expect, one simply doesn’t drop a Hellcat engine into a front-wheel drive Toyota and call it good. ARH has basically created a full-on tube frame within the confines of the stock Prius unibody. A fuel cell sits where you’d normally find tofu and yogurt in recycled paper bags. Battery space is filled with a six-speed manual transmission and drive shaft that connects to a Ford 9-inch solid rear axle, turning a pair of rear tires that are approximately the size of the Titanic’s propellers. Up front, the supercharged Hellcat is tweaked to make 1,000 horsepower, and with a little bit of help from Mr. angle grinder, it fits neatly underneath the stock Prius hood.
No doubt the burning question at this point is why anyone with an inkling of automotive passion would want to invest such time and work into a Prius. According to ARH’s blog, it’s because they can, but we suspect the team also knows a thing or two about marketing and publicity. Crazy builds gets attention, and if this was another bonkers Mustang or Camaro project, it would probably go under the radar. But a Hellcat-powered Prius? That’s what you call an attention-getter. It may cost more to build, but we suspect the free publicity for the company will pay off in the long run.
The crazy adventure began back in January and it’s still a work-in-progress, with the most recent video update happening just a few weeks ago with the car still very much in pieces. It looks like the build is coming along well, and when it's done we can't wait to see the Prius in action.
Source: American Racing Headers