Despite its continued status as America's top-selling hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius is objectively uncool. There's one surefire way to change that, however: As we highlighted back in July, the folks at American Racing Headers has spent the better part of a year swapping a 1,000-horsepower Hellcat motor into a 2005 Prius. The finished "PriuSRT8" build was finally unveiled at SEMA this week, and it's about as subtle as a roundhouse kick to the temple.
Just how does one turn a mild-mannered, front-wheel-drive hybrid hatch into a rip-roaring, quarter-mile monster? American Racing Headers teamed up with Farks Supercars to tear out the Prius's original running gear and carve up much of its unibody to make room for the V8 engine, a custom tube frame chassis, and the mechanical bits needed for a rear-wheel-drive conversion.
To extract a four-digit horsepower count from the Hellcat mill, ARH tacked on a gigantic 4.5-liter Whipple supercharger. That potent combination is connected to a Tremec Magnum six-speed manual transmission, sending power back to a custom Ford nine-inch rear axle through a carbon fiber driveshaft. Impressively, it all fits under the stock bodywork. Were it not for the massive drag slicks and hints of a roll cage visible through the windows, the PriuSRT8 would just look like the world's most ironically decorated hybrid from the outside.
Inside, the changes are a little more apparent. The custom-fabricated dash and long-throw stick shift are pretty obvious clues that things are not as they seem, and while backseat has been ditched to make room for the full cage, the rest of the interior is surprisingly well-appointed for a drag car. The dash is wrapped in leather, there's carpet on the floor, and the bucket seats look comfortable. The PriuSRT8's interior is basically like a mullet—business up front, party in the back.
Lest you think this is just another functionally-useless show build, keep in mind that this is a running, driving, street-legal vehicle. Car & Driver reports the ARH team plans to daily drive the 1,000-horsepower Toyota Prius whenever they can. Between the outlandish paint job and that potent Hellcat engine, you shouldn't have any trouble seeing or hearing it coming.