Recently, we at Mopar Connection Magazine were introduced to an entrepreneur and fabricator named John O’Malley. O’Malley is the owner of Boosted Motorsports, and he has built several supercharged and turbocharged vehicles, including numerous Mopars. He is currently deep into a 2019 Dodge Charger Hellcat 6.2L Hemi engine swap into a Dodge Dakota R/T pickup truck.
The project has been branded the “HellKota.” O’Malley has a YouTube channel where he has posted over thirty (thus far) detailed videos on the build. The progress on the project has been first-rate. For more information about the HellKota, the magazine caught up with O’Malley and found a few minutes in his busy schedule to ask him about his thoughts on the project, his background, and plans.
Mopar Connection Magazine: How did you develop the idea for the HellKota build?
John O’Malley: I was disappointed with the lack of performance and aftermarket support for the 5.9L Magnum originally in the truck. The engine was inefficient for such a large displacement. The GEN 3 Hemi aftermarket support has been booming, and I wanted to get a more efficient Mopar engine under the hood. I could have done a 5.7L or 6.4L and ended up with a modest 400-500hp naturally aspirated. Still, I figured I would have probably ended up supercharging one of those platforms and ultimately amounting to what it would have cost to just Hellcat swap the truck from the start.
Above Left: John O’Malley’s Boosted Motorsports Dodge Dakota R/T was selected for the 6.2L Hemi swap. Above Right: A totalled 2019 Hellcat Charger provided the parts necessary to upgrade the Dakota. O’Malley picked the Charger clean leaving only a bent up bare shell to junk.
MCM: You have taken on quite a project. What is your background?
O’Malley: I grew up racing Motocross and Snocross at the professional level and competed at Winter X Games in 2008. Naturally, I was always doing maintenance on my dirt bikes and snowmobiles to compete, leading to modifying and building cars and trucks once I was old enough to drive. I created a 607whp single-turbo 2.2L Honda S2000 at the age of 18, running on pump gas and spraying methanol, so I got used to high horsepower at a young age.
MCM: As stated in your videos, you had no welding experience. What gave you the confidence to jump at a project like this?
O’Malley: I had always wanted to weld, and my mom bought me a flux core MIG (welder) when I was young. It was nearly impossible to try to make it work [Laughs]. I researched some affordable welders that could produce a quality weld and came across someone unloading a used Eastwood MIG 135 setup complete with the bottle for $400. I couldn’t pass up that deal and opportunity to start learning, and so far, it’s been a reliable little welder.
MCM: Thus far, it appears you have been surprised at the relative ease the Hellcat and Dakota components have melded together with each other. Is this an accurate statement?
O’Malley: I think that is more of a feeling that the viewers have as they watch the content. I regularly get comments that everything “fits so easy,” but that is not the case. I’m very meticulous. Behind the scenes are countless hours spent looking at various tasks/problems to develop the best solution for getting that part or component to fit the Dakota’s chassis. Some things are oddly similar; for example, the brake booster to pedal is the same post, but I must modify everything to fit for the most part.
Above Left: The entire wiring harness, dash, HVAC components, fuel system, center console, navigation, keyless start, and PCM were stripped from the 2019 Charger. Above Right: The heart of the swap, the 6.2L Hemi. Included with the Hemi was the factory automatic transmission.
MCM: How many hours a week do you devote to the HellKota?
O’Malley: Working on such a large project, there are many hours spent on it. I usually spend at least 4-6 hours per day on the truck, and sometimes, that can be devoted to just planning and mapping out the next component before physically getting to work on that task.
MCM: How many hours are in the HellKota up to this time?
O’Malley: [Laughs] I’ve lost track of the hours, but it’s way too many to count. I’ve been working on this project almost nonstop since October, so about five months of work so far.
MCM: What is the expected completion date for the project?
O’Malley: We should have the truck running by the end of this month (March), but there are still many small items I want to get operating, such as passive entry and the door electronics. Custom door panels must be designed and fitted. That may take some added time but won’t prevent the truck from being operable.
Above Left: The 6.2L settled nicely into the truck’s chassis. Quality components from Hooker Blackheart, Flowmaster, and Holley made the engine and transmission placement less difficult. Above Right: The Charger’s dash structure and cover fit into the Dakota with a minimum amount of cutting.
MCM: What are the plans for the HellKota once it is completed?
O’Malley: I’m going to enjoy all this hard work [Laughs]. It isn’t going to be a garage queen. We will be frequenting the drag strip and car shows with it. We’ll first see what kind of times we can set with the stock drivetrain before turning up the boost and tuning it. Then we will see what we can do with it. A cage is going to be in the plans for the truck soon.
MCM: Do you have any other Mopar projects on the horizon?
O’Malley: Yes, we just finished our supercharged 2000 Dodge Viper ACR build, but I want to do more to that in the future and hopefully twin turbo it. We also have a 2005 RAM SRT-10 Commemorative Edition with some small, tasteful mods that we will be revisiting once the Dakota is finished. We also have a large following on the lifted 2014 RAM 1500 Hemi on the channel.
Above: The supercharged 6.2L Hemi fits into the Dakota’s engine bay well. The fusebox, supercharger reservoir, coolant degassing tank, and the master cylinder and booster are all from the Charger. If you did not know that, you would think this was a factory installation.
MCM: Tell us a little about your YouTube channel.
O’Malley: Well, I started my channel back in 2008, long before anyone knew what YouTube would become. I previously used to document my builds on internet forums. In about 2016, I noticed the shift and brought my passion to YouTube by documenting my build at the time, my 2000 Dodge Viper ACR. That build surprisingly didn’t get too much attention until I traveled for work with my 2014 RAM 1500 and stayed in an Airbnb.
Bored, I started ordering LED bulbs from Amazon to find ones that would work without showing a “bulb out error” on the dash. Those silly videos went crazy, and apparently, many other people were trying to do the same thing. One thing led to another, and the 4th gen RAM content built this channel to where it is today. We Procharged that crew cab 5.7 and ran 12.1s in the quarter with a fully loaded 1500.
MCM: How can our readers subscribe to your channel?
O’Malley: We are on all social media platforms, and the magazine readers can find us on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook with the same name @BoostedMotorsports.
As O’Malley comes to the completion of the HellKota, we will continue to cover the truck’s operation and performance with its HPTuners fuel and ignition management system and the function of the Hooker Blackheart, Flowmaster, and other various Holley/MSD products. But not to get ahead of ourselves, check out the Boosted Motorsports YouTube videos, starting with Dodge Dakota Hellcat Engine Swap Episode one.