When Dodge announced the supercharged SRT Hellcat models back in late 2014, we knew folks would find a way to take that monster 6.2L supercharged Hemi and install it into a classic Mopar; as such was the case with the other Gen III Hemis such as the 5.7L, 6.1L and 6.4L Hemi engines.
Since its release, the Hellcat Hemi power plant has found its way into numerous engine bays of classic Mopars and heck, we can totally see why! These engines produce high horsepower, are reliable, relatively fuel efficient and have become practically plug and play for the most part now thanks to a huge aftermarket parts following behind them. On top of that, they’ve become pretty easy to find thanks to Mopar sticking them in practically everything with four wheels now-a-days as well as offering a crate engine version from the dealership parts departments.
The 6.2L Hellcat Hemi engine is an incredible work of art, both performance wise and visually speaking. With its Hemi Orange engine block, “Supercharged Hemi” scripted injector covers and giant bright silver supercharger on top, the engine looks truly wicked in any engine bay. The engine isn’t just a beauty queen though as you’ll quickly realize the second you fire it up. The instant you hear the exhaust note and that supercharger whine, it’ll have you hooked.
When it comes to sticking one of these engines in between the inner fenders of a classic Mopar, John Gaddy of Wisconsin is truly a wizard. Specializing in these installs, John has perfected the craft of Hellcat swapping B-Bodies as seen with his 1968 Plymouth GTX and a 1969 Dodge Coronet station wagon he used to own. Both cars are true pieces of rolling art thanks to John’s meticulous installs.
John’s most recent work is an absolutely gorgeous 1969 Dodge Super Bee owned by Wayne Shaddinger of Georgia. Wayne comes from a Mopar family through and through and is proud of it.
He told us, “My dad bled Mopar. Growing up in New Orleans, we always used to cruise around in his old Mopars. I remember when he had a ’70 AAR ‘Cuda parked in the garage and my mom would fold laundry on the trunk lid when I was a kid. When I got my license, I rebelled a bit and tried to run Chevrolets and Fords but he was always whooping me with some 440 powered Mopar. I got tired of being beaten so decided to switch back to Mopar and haven’t looked back.”
A while back, a fellow purchased this Super Bee and brought it to John to do a modern Hemi swap on it but decided to do a Charger instead. John listed the Super Bee up for sale for him and that’s when Wayne decided to buy it and get John to do a Hellcat swap to it. He shared, “It was fully restored as you basically see it now. It was a pretty standard Super Bee with a 383-4bbl automatic under the hood.”
He continued to say, “We tried our best to keep the car as stock looking as possible. It’s basically how it rolled out of the factory with its F8 Green paint, two-tone green bench seat interior and white bumblebee stripe. The only difference is I’ve always wanted a ’69 ½ A12 Super Bee so I decided to install a lift off A12 hood and black 15” steel wheels on it.”
A stock Hellcat Hemi engine was installed in the engine bay of the Super Bee with only minor modifications to the stock K-member. The engine was upgraded with Dodge Demon 700cc injectors and a 2.85” supercharger pulley kit. The install was made easy thanks to Holley’s line of Gen III Hemi swap parts including their aluminum oil pan and Hooker Blackheart stainless steel headers.
The Hemi breathes thru a 3-inch TTI exhaust system with Dynamax mufflers and it’s fueled by a Tanks Inc. fuel tank fitted with a Walbro 525 fuel pump. All of the wiring was pretty simple thanks to a plug and play wiring harness from Mopar that only required a few small splices in its entirety.
Backing the engine is a modern Hellcat 8-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission that’s controlled with a stand-alone controller from Sound German Automotive. Wayne shared, “Despite what many think, installing the modern automatic transmission really doesn’t require much modification at all. All John had to do was trim some of the tabs off the transmission that are needed to install it into a modern Mopar. None of them are needed to install it into a classic Mopar so once those were removed; it went in effortlessly and basically fell into place.”
Out back is a factory 8 ¾ rear end fitted with a Yukon center section and 2.76 gears. “With the gearing in the modern 8-speed automatic, we found that 2.76 gears work perfectly in sync with the transmission for neck-breaking acceleration while maintaining perfect cruising manners. It launches out of the hole but still gets 24 MPG cruising down the highway. I took it to the dragstrip and ran a 9.67 second ¼ mile at 143 mph with Mickey Thompson slicks. A lot of guys put too much gear in it and it ends up compromising drivability.”
A custom driveshaft connects the modern transmission to the classic rear end and Cal-Tracs provide a little bit of extra traction support. Underneath, John and Wayne installed a full US Car Tool Level 3 chassis stiffening kit to make sure the body could handle the Hellcat power. Up front, the Super Bee has been upgraded with QA1 lower tubular control arms and dynamic strut rods.
Front and rear feature Hotckis sway bars and Competition Engineering 3 way adjustable shocks. Braking is done with four-piston disc brakes on all four corners from Leer Brakes. A Wilwood master cylinder and power booster assist with the stopping power.
Wayne shared, “The great thing about putting a Hellcat engine into a B-Body in specific is the weight transfer. Being as these old cars weight almost 1,000 lbs less than a modern Hellcat, their weight transfer with the usual leaf spring and torsion bar set-up is fantastic. When you set one of these up properly, they put the power to the ground a lot better than a modern Hellcat. You literally just point and shoot and it goes.”
He continued to say, “The best thing about this car is how practical and drivable it is. I was sitting at the Mopar Nationals idling while talking to a bunch of people.
“I had the air conditioning from Vintage Air cranked as my 8-month old baby was in the back seat and everyone including the car stayed nice and cool. It never missed a beat.”
“John truly is a master. When he does something, you can tell by the result that there was thought and care behind everything. He installed a SRT Track mode button along with a dial knob shifter for the transmission hidden in the ashtray area.
“There honestly isn’t a single thing I think he could have done better. He hit it out of the park. My family has fallen in love with the car and won’t ever let me sell it and I never intend to. It truly is like a new Hellcat wrapped in old sheet metal.”