We have to say, we were disappointed when we learned that Jeep wouldn’t put the Hellcat V-8 in the Gladiator’s engine bay. After all, a 707-hp droptop off-road crew-cab pickup would be one of the most entertaining (and hyphenated) vehicles imaginable. Adding to our anguish is the fact that there’s space for the Hellcat engine inside the Gladiator: Jeep chief Tim Kuniskis has said it “fits like a glove.” Problem is, it doesn’t leave any space up front for crash compliance, so a production version would never fly. Fortunately, the lunatics at Hennessey Performance Engineering are here to—once again—give enthusiasts what they want. For a price.
The Texas-based tuner just unveiled the Maximus 1000, a heavily modified Gladiator with the mighty Hellcat crate engine under its hood. As its name implies, Hennessey upped output to 1,000 horsepower and 933 lb-ft of torque. A custom exhaust, ECU tune, radiator, and fuel system were added to reach this hypercar-rivaling figure. Power is sent to all four wheels via Jeep’s eight-speed automatic transmission, while the truck also has a six-inch suspension lift and Hennessey-branded 20-inch wheels. As if a towering Jeep truck with deafening exhaust isn’t noticeable enough, LED light bars have been added to the roof and front skid plate.
In terms of driving experience, we know that standard Gladiators and Hellcats deliver stupendously in their respective—albeit disparate—arenas. Now Hennessey has brought the two together. Hennessey has exclusivity covered, as well. Maximus 1000 Gladiators are limited to 24 units, at a cost of $200,000 each (which includes the donor truck). Once production begins in July, the company says it will upgrade two Gladiators per month, with a claimed build time of about four months each.
Performance stats aren’t yet available for the Maximus 1000, but looking at the spec sheet we have a feeling they’ll be impressive. By combining one of the industry’s most capable platforms with one of its most powerful engines, Hennessey’s newest product might be the ultimate do-everything—and anything—vehicle. Whether tearing the knobs off its tires on a drag strip or on a rocky trail, the Maximus 1000 embodies automotive superlatives as few other vehicles can.
Except, perhaps, for Hennessey’s other insane modified trucks.
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