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Hellcat vs Type R: which crate engine to buy?

SEMA welcomes off-the-shelf Hellcat V8 and Civic Type R turbo motors

While ‘crate engines’ – off-the-shelf, manufacturer-approved engines ready to slot into whatever project you’re working on – are a rare curiosity here in the UK, they’re big business in the USA. And appropriately enough, two crate engines are being introduced at SEMA 2018. Question is, which to pick? Honda Civic Type R engine, or Hellcat V8?

Yep, stories like this make us wish crate engines were A Thing in Britain. Anyway, back to this particular ‘Murica vs Japan battle…

Sounds like an easy choice, really. The Hellcat V8, or ‘Hellcrate’, as it’s being dubiously dubbed, offers 6.2 litres of supercharged fury, developing 707bhp and 650lb ft. It’s the engine that made the Dodge Challenger Hellcat the baddest modern American muscle car of all, until it was outdone by its younger, angrier twin, the Dodge Demon. Don’t you just hate sibling rivalry?

Meanwhile, Honda is now offering the new Civic Type R’s engine as a crate deal. It’s a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder which puts out 306bhp and 295lb ft in US-spec – a 10bhp detune from what Europeans get in the 316bhp superhatch.

Okay, you want the Hellcat V8, don’t you? Well, bear in mind the V8 (which has been optimised to work best with good ol’ fashioned manual transmissions) plus the included ancillaries will set you back $19,530. The Civic Type R’s mega-turbo’ed four-pot, meanwhile, is a lot more reasonable. Honda’s asking $6,157.87 (plus shipping). Less than half the price of the Dodge Hemi engine then, but less than half the power, too…

Usually, we’d convert the prices into Her Majesty’s sterling, but we’re just too jealous. Forbidden fruit, these. Still, we can dream. 

Begs the question: should you be working on a project, whether it be a beach buggy, off-road crawler, track lightweight or perhaps just a really juiced-up lawnmower, which crate engine would you make a beeline for at SEMA?

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