In case you’re unacquainted, the PriuSRT8 is what happens when a group of speed freaks with time, resources, and a wicked sense of humor decide to remake the second-generation Toyota Prius into a gas-chugging, fire-breathing monster. Underneath its eco-friendly veneer lurks an NHRA-approved tubular chassis, and a Dodge SRT Hellcat crate motor fitted with a 4.5-liter Whipple supercharger, which sends torque to a 9-inch Ford rear through a Tremec six-speed.
The PriuSRT8 popped up in an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage recently, along with American Racing Headers co-owner Nick Filippides, who says he got the idea to build such a car after sitting in traffic and seeing a “conga line” of Prii making use of the HOV lane to pass by unimpeded. “I said: ‘You know what? One of these days, I’m gonna get one of these cars, and I’m gonna put it on that lane,'” he told Jay, before joking: “It’s a commuter car.”
ARH’s Hellcat-powered PriuSRT8 turned up at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association Show last year, where it drew quite the crowd with its originality and off-the-wall zaniness. Yet surprisingly, the PriuSRT8 appears to be significantly more tame than it looks; upon driving it, Jay Leno remarked that it was surprisingly “civil” and “manageable”.
“You know, when I was a kid, a nine-second car was not even streetable,” Leno said. “It was so out of control.” You might think the Prius’s relatively short wheelbase would make it a handful with so much power under the hood, but according to Jay, that’s not the case.
Watch the video above to see American Racing Headers’ utterly unique PriuSRT8 stop by Jay Leno’s Garage.