Sealy, Texas – It was too much to ask that John Hennessey would leave the challenge posed by the upcoming 670kW Dodge Demon (“The fastest street-legal car in America”) unanswered and here, even before the reveal of the Demon at the New York motor show on 14 April, is his reply: the Exorcist.

It’s based on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, its supercharged 6.2-litre LT4 V8 radically upgraded with a bigger, higher-flowing blower running almost one bar of boost, high-flow induction and intercooler plumbing, ported factory cylinder heads, a hot cam and long-tube stainless-steel headers.

Maximum power is up from the standard 478kW and 883Nm to a claimed 735kW at 6400 revs and 1312Nm at 4400rpm – good enough, he says, for 0-100km/h in less than three seconds and a standing quarter mile (402 metres) in less than 10.

Yet he insists that this is not a thinly-veiled drag special but a genuine sports car that’ll perform equally well on the racetrack and can still be driven (legally!) on the street. And he’s happy to build you one with either the six-speed gearbox or GM’s 10-speed auto transmission – although he warns that the slushbox will need almost $10 000 worth of modifications to handle the extra power.

Hennessey is planning to build 100 examples a year to order, either as a new vehicle directly from Hennessey, from Chevrolet dealers in the United States or based on customers’ own cars.

How much does 735kW cost?

GM advertises the ZL1 for $63 435 (R867 000); Hennessey quotes $55 000 (R752 000) for the engine conversion, plus an extra $9950 (R136 000) if yours has an automatic transmission. Hec also offers a drag pack, consisting of 20 inch rear rims with 315/30 Nitto drag racing tyres, upgraded drive shaft, floor jack and tool kit, for $8995 (R123 000) or a track pack – four 20 inch lightweight rims and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres – for $6995 (R96 000).

Sadly, Chevrolet doesn’t build the Camaro in right-hand drive, so neither it nor the Exorcist are street-legal in South Africa – but a muscle-car fan can dream, can’t he?

IOL Motoring

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