American Racing Headers’ Hemi Prius Part 2

Click Here to Begin Slideshow When we last left the American Racing Headers’ Prius, it had been completely stripped and was welded to the chassis jig at Farks Supercars. If you recall, the basic chassis was a round tube affair complete with a double rail from the four link mounts through the passenger compartment. Out back, the rear end housing is a narrow, folded sheet metal job designed and built by Midwest Chassis. Midwest Chassis back braced the housing and it was also bottom braced (tying in the lower four link brackets). Meanwhile, the back double adjustable shocks are coil over Vari-Shock jobs from Chris Alston Chassisworks. A lateral link is used to control side-to-side motion in the rear, and upstairs, Farid and crew welded in a tubular ARB (anti roll bar). We mentioned this in the last issue, but up front, the late model Hemi is bolted in place by way of fabricated side mounts (no motor plates). The way the chassis was built, the engine is positioned deep under the windshield cowl (think 1993-2002 Camaros and Firebirds). There’s no question that mounting the engine took some head scratching when you consider the overall height of the package with the big 4.5-liter Whipple supercharger coupled with the location of the driver. Basically, Nick didn’t really feel like driving this thing from the back seat! That’s not to say there was no setback – the driver and passenger seats are set back approximately 12-inches from stock. And if you look closely, you’ll see those seats are actually comfy jobs from a fourth generation WS6 Firebird. Up front, the front struts and lower control arms are from the folks at Chris Alston’s Chassisworks (Vari Shocks). The steering is handled by a narrow, front mount Flaming River rack and pinion. At this point, Farid and his crew had to build a street-car friendly but drag race 8.50-legal roll cage, and simultaneously fit various components such as the seats, steering column, pedals, dash, fuel tank (cell), radiator and air conditioning components. While they were at it, they also built a steel floor front to back and fabricated a set of steel tubs. Sure they could have saved some weight with aluminum “tin,” but this is a street car. In the big picture, Nick really wanted to drive it (a lot) and he didn’t want the rattles and maintenance issues associated with a full aluminum interior (as most know, rocks and road debris can really tear up an aluminum interior). With this setup, the back seat had to go, but in keeping with the Prius look, the car maintained four fully functional doors and a functioning hatch. The hatch area is pretty much filled with the fuel cell. The actual cell is a high capacity custom job from Fuel Safe. It’s laid out to incorporate an in-tank Aeromotive electric fuel pump. This is Aeromotive’s “Dual Phantom System” where one pump runs normally and a second system kicks in as boost increases. The bottom line here is, the fuel system is good for roughly 1400 horsepower, but it’s also fully streetable. You’ll note too that the fuel cell has been enclosed under a nifty sheet metal cover (by the Farks Supercars team). Aeromotive provided the balance of the fuel system components. The rack is hooked to a street steering column from Flaming River (complete with signal lights and horn). Meanwhile, Wilwood was called upon for a set of hanging pedals. This is a forward mount arrangement with the master cylinders for the brakes and clutch in the engine compartment. Due to the dense under hood packaging, Nick chose to use Wilwood’s “short” master cylinders. Next issue, we’ll dig deeper into the packaging. As we mentioned above, it’s all pretty darn “dense.” And that really means the PriuSRT8 is the definition of a small car with a big motor. For a closer look at how it was all put together, check out the accompanying photos. Stay tuned, too. We’ll be back with a bunch more on American Racing Headers’ “weapon of mass consumption!”

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

When we last left the American Racing Headers’ Prius, it had been completely stripped and was welded to the chassis jig at Farks Supercars. If you recall, the basic chassis was a round tube affair complete with a double rail from the four link mounts through the passenger compartment. Out back, the rear end housing is a narrow, folded sheet metal job designed and built by Midwest Chassis. Midwest Chassis back braced the housing and it was also bottom braced (tying in the lower four link brackets). Meanwhile, the back double adjustable shocks are coil over Vari-Shock jobs from Chris Alston Chassisworks. A lateral link is used to control side-to-side motion in the rear, and upstairs, Farid and crew welded in a tubular ARB (anti roll bar).

We mentioned this in the last issue, but up front, the late model Hemi is bolted in place by way of fabricated side mounts (no motor plates). The way the chassis was built, the engine is positioned deep under the windshield cowl (think 1993-2002 Camaros and Firebirds). There’s no question that mounting the engine took some head scratching when you consider the overall height of the package with the big 4.5-liter Whipple supercharger coupled with the location of the driver. Basically, Nick didn’t really feel like driving this thing from the back seat! That’s not to say there was no setback – the driver and passenger seats are set back approximately 12-inches from stock. And if you look closely, you’ll see those seats are actually comfy jobs from a fourth generation WS6 Firebird. Up front, the front struts and lower control arms are from the folks at Chris Alston’s Chassisworks (Vari Shocks). The steering is handled by a narrow, front mount Flaming River rack and pinion.

At this point, Farid and his crew had to build a street-car friendly but drag race 8.50-legal roll cage, and simultaneously fit various components such as the seats, steering column, pedals, dash, fuel tank (cell), radiator and air conditioning components. While they were at it, they also built a steel floor front to back and fabricated a set of steel tubs. Sure they could have saved some weight with aluminum “tin,” but this is a street car. In the big picture, Nick really wanted to drive it (a lot) and he didn’t want the rattles and maintenance issues associated with a full aluminum interior (as most know, rocks and road debris can really tear up an aluminum interior). With this setup, the back seat had to go, but in keeping with the Prius look, the car maintained four fully functional doors and a functioning hatch.

The hatch area is pretty much filled with the fuel cell. The actual cell is a high capacity custom job from Fuel Safe. It’s laid out to incorporate an in-tank Aeromotive electric fuel pump. This is Aeromotive’s “Dual Phantom System” where one pump runs normally and a second system kicks in as boost increases. The bottom line here is, the fuel system is good for roughly 1400 horsepower, but it’s also fully streetable. You’ll note too that the fuel cell has been enclosed under a nifty sheet metal cover (by the Farks Supercars team). Aeromotive provided the balance of the fuel system components.

The rack is hooked to a street steering column from Flaming River (complete with signal lights and horn). Meanwhile, Wilwood was called upon for a set of hanging pedals. This is a forward mount arrangement with the master cylinders for the brakes and clutch in the engine compartment. Due to the dense under hood packaging, Nick chose to use Wilwood’s “short” master cylinders.

Next issue, we’ll dig deeper into the packaging. As we mentioned above, it’s all pretty darn “dense.” And that really means the PriuSRT8 is the definition of a small car with a big motor. For a closer look at how it was all put together, check out the accompanying photos. Stay tuned, too. We’ll be back with a bunch more on American Racing Headers’ “weapon of mass consumption!”

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2 1

Here’s one good reason why the packaging on the Prius was difficult. When fit with a big Whipple 4.5-liter blower, the late model Hemi proves to be a tall package.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2 2

Another big packaging issue is the transmission. The Tremec 6-speed isn’t small. Keep in mind that the location of the shifter (as installed) dictated where the seats, pedals and steering column would eventually go.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2 3

Out back, the rear end housing is a completely fabricated folded metal job from Midwest Chassis. As you can see, it has been back braced and is also bottom braced. Shocks and springs are from Chris Alston’s Vari Shocks. The text offers more info.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2 4

In this photo, you can see the engine and transmission mocked up in the car. At this point, a safety bellhousing was not installed. You can also see the beginnings of the steel tinwork from Farks Supercars.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2 5

With this view, you can see how the dual frame rails extend from the firewall back to the rear suspension. At this point, the steel firewall has been installed.

American Racing Headers' Hemi Prius Part 2 6

With the firewall done, attention turned toward the hanging pedals along with the steering column. The gas pedal is a stock Hellcat electronic setup, while the brake and clutch pedals are from Wilwood. The street steering column is a Flaming River Industries piece.

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