Currently, the Specialty Equipment Market Association is still taking place in early November, although virtually all major automotive events have been canceled so far this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the cars we will be watching in Las Vegas will be this spectacular Highway Star developed by Hemi Autoworks and Ellsworth Racing. Named after a Deep Purple song from 1972, the unique construction is what happens when a couple of muscular cars give away what was worth saving to give life to a truly special vehicle.
Just like the mythical Phoenix Bird rises from its own ashes, the frame of the Highway Star comes from a Dodge Viper devoured by fire. The chassis is extended by about 13 inches (33 centimeters) to be compatible with the bodywork of a 1970 Challenger. Poorly rusted and poorly restored, the body is rejuvenated and enlarged by more than 1.5 inches (3, 8 cm) with sturdier wings to increase the total width added by almost 4 inches (10.1 cm).
The custom body undergoes additional changes as it will use an adaptation of an R / T hood to make room in the engine compartment for the new heart of the car. Speaking of which, the Highway Star will be powered by a 6.2-liter HEMI V8 Hellcat engine “mostly in stock” with a compressor carried by Kong Performance and heat shield spacers from FI Interchillers. Power will be routed to the road via a Viper type transmission with a triple Mantic Clutch disc and a billet flywheel.
The team behind this ambitious project is borrowing additional tunes from the Viper, including suspension, and will improve coilovers, brakes and cooling with the help of Complete Performance Motorsports. They will also work on the aero by implementing a functional separator, spoiler and diffuser. The car will run on 19 inch Viper wheels with very greasy tires.
As for the interior, you need less approach. The stripped cabin will only include a full safety cage, six-point harnesses from St Louis Race Gear and a factory dashboard with Stewart Warner gauges. Although there is no air conditioning as this would have added weight, the cabin is insulated against heat and noise by Cool It Thermo-Tec.
To achieve this, Hemi Autoworks and Ellsworth Racing have also teamed up with Ron Francis Wiring for the wire harness as well as with Pareto Point Inc to provide the additional oil filtration system. Other companies involved in the Highway Star project include the Hot Rod fuel hose for all fuel, power steering and compressor coolant hoses and lines, while the lightweight glass comes from Racing Shields. Inside, the pistol grip shifter, vinyl trim and several other OEM style parts were supplied by YearOne.
The people behind Highway Star want to emphasize that it is much more than a car for SEMA that will never be seen again because it is designed as a “real street racing car”. To prove it, the completed car will race nationally in various events across the country.