American Racing Headers’ Hemi Prius Part 1

Click Here to Begin Slideshow A little bit more than a year ago, Nick Filippides (co-owner of American Racing Headers in Deer Park, NY) was slowly treading tarmac in Long Island Expressway traffic. Now, in New York, you don’t need passengers to legally drive a hybrid car in the fast lane. Nick couldn’t help but notice the non-stop parade of Toyota Prius’ streaming by in the HOV lanes. Most were nondescript silver or white or different shades of gray. All were gently sipping gasoline. None were fast. All of them were boring. Nick tells us it was like a “conga line of Prius’ going by.” He continued: “One of these days, I'm going to get one of these cars, and put it in that lane.” Boing! That was the catalyst. The next thing you know, Nick had a huge, but slightly twisted inspiration, and it went like this: “Wouldn’t it be cool to jam a Hellcat motor into one of these things?” Hell ya! The more Nick thought about it, the more he smiled. Aside from the baby elephant motor, Nick couldn’t otherwise be seen in a Prius, even with a bag over his head. He was going to make a high performance statement. In fact, he figured it could be a rallying cry for the high performance industry. And the next thing you know, Filippides was checking out a Toyota with a tape measure in hand. The Prius is narrow. The hood is short. And Nick already had a pretty good idea of the blown Hemi dimensions (American Racing Headers offers pipes for them) – the hemi is pretty wide. But as it turns out, Nick figured he could get it all to fit. Following an über-short search, there was an innocuous four door second generation Prius sitting on his shop floor (it was silver in color to boot). Now what? Nick called up his old pal Farid Farkouh owner of Farks Super Cars (formerly in Brooklyn, NY but now in Keyport, NJ) and shared his little brainstorm. Farid bought into it lock, stock and barrel. Besides, he saw the twinkle in Nick’s eye and he saw the humor in it. Days later, a Prius, stripped of all of its FWD hybrid technology, was delivered to Farks and planted right next to the chassis table. Meanwhile, Nick was hanging out at the local Dodge dealership, banging out a deal on a brand spanking new Hellcat replacement motor. With the big pieces of the puzzle in place, Farid and crew set to work on the Prius. The basic layout consists of a chrome moly round tube frame with Chassisworks struts on the nose and an equal length four link out back. Needless to say, the complete floor pan came out along with the firewall. But before the build went much further, Nick upped the ante: He replaced the production line Hellcat blower with a huge-by-large 4.5-liter job from Whipple. Out back, the transmission of choice was a stick – this time a six speed Tremec blueprinted by the folks at RPM Transmissions. Those two pieces set the stage for the build, since they would ultimately dictate the position of the engine. Adding to the construction sweat was the fact both Nick and Farid wanted to keep the stock hood (no scoops or lumps on the hood). The other quandary was the dash: Nick had a desire to keep the basics of a stock-looking dash shape in place. And in the end that, along with the location of the engine and transmission, pretty much laid out where everything else had to go. As you can well imagine, packaging all of the required parts in the car wasn’t exactly easy. And did we tell you it’s also air conditioned? True. That mean there were even more parts to consider – sort of like stuffing 15 pounds of spuds into a 10-pound bag! But we digress. The pictures will help tell the story. We’ll dig deeper into the build next issue. In the meantime, check out the accompanying photos:

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 1

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

A little bit more than a year ago, Nick Filippides (co-owner of American Racing Headers in Deer Park, NY) was slowly treading tarmac in Long Island Expressway traffic. Now, in New York, you don’t need passengers to legally drive a hybrid car in the fast lane. Nick couldn’t help but notice the non-stop parade of Toyota Prius’ streaming by in the HOV lanes. Most were nondescript silver or white or different shades of gray. All were gently sipping gasoline. None were fast. All of them were boring. Nick tells us it was like a “conga line of Prius’ going by.” He continued: “One of these days, I'm going to get one of these cars, and put it in that lane.” Boing! That was the catalyst. The next thing you know, Nick had a huge, but slightly twisted inspiration, and it went like this: “Wouldn’t it be cool to jam a Hellcat motor into one of these things?” Hell ya!

The more Nick thought about it, the more he smiled. Aside from the baby elephant motor, Nick couldn’t otherwise be seen in a Prius, even with a bag over his head. He was going to make a high performance statement. In fact, he figured it could be a rallying cry for the high performance industry. And the next thing you know, Filippides was checking out a Toyota with a tape measure in hand. The Prius is narrow. The hood is short. And Nick already had a pretty good idea of the blown Hemi dimensions (American Racing Headers offers pipes for them) – the hemi is pretty wide. But as it turns out, Nick figured he could get it all to fit. Following an über-short search, there was an innocuous four door second generation Prius sitting on his shop floor (it was silver in color to boot). Now what?

Nick called up his old pal Farid Farkouh owner of Farks Super Cars (formerly in Brooklyn, NY but now in Keyport, NJ) and shared his little brainstorm. Farid bought into it lock, stock and barrel. Besides, he saw the twinkle in Nick’s eye and he saw the humor in it. Days later, a Prius, stripped of all of its FWD hybrid technology, was delivered to Farks and planted right next to the chassis table. Meanwhile, Nick was hanging out at the local Dodge dealership, banging out a deal on a brand spanking new Hellcat replacement motor.

With the big pieces of the puzzle in place, Farid and crew set to work on the Prius. The basic layout consists of a chrome moly round tube frame with Chassisworks struts on the nose and an equal length four link out back. Needless to say, the complete floor pan came out along with the firewall. But before the build went much further, Nick upped the ante: He replaced the production line Hellcat blower with a huge-by-large 4.5-liter job from Whipple. Out back, the transmission of choice was a stick – this time a six speed Tremec blueprinted by the folks at RPM Transmissions. Those two pieces set the stage for the build, since they would ultimately dictate the position of the engine. Adding to the construction sweat was the fact both Nick and Farid wanted to keep the stock hood (no scoops or lumps on the hood). The other quandary was the dash: Nick had a desire to keep the basics of a stock-looking dash shape in place. And in the end that, along with the location of the engine and transmission, pretty much laid out where everything else had to go.

As you can well imagine, packaging all of the required parts in the car wasn’t exactly easy. And did we tell you it’s also air conditioned? True. That mean there were even more parts to consider – sort of like stuffing 15 pounds of spuds into a 10-pound bag! But we digress. The pictures will help tell the story. We’ll dig deeper into the build next issue. In the meantime, check out the accompanying photos:

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 1 1

You have to start somewhere. This shows the array of hardware that had to come out for the build. Not much was used, save for the door panels.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 1 2

Here’s a look at the basic frame layout from roughly the firewall forward. Note how rocker bars have been incorporated into the build.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 1 3

This photo shows the car much further along. It also, however, shows how the front segment (ahead of the axle) was laid out as a double frame rail. Keep in mind, the Farks Supercars bunch had to leave room for an exhaust system too.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 1 4

Another photo from further along in the build shows the four-link arrangement (complete with a lateral link). These parts are from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 1 5

When it came to engine mounting, the decision was made to incorporate the stock style side mounts. As you can see, they’re tied directly into the forward hoop bars. More on stuffing the engine in next issue.

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