Words and photos by: Jonathan Salmi
I’m a huge fan of cars that are modified with purpose. It’s easy to get lost in the world of modifying for its own sake, adding a part here and a part there just because you can. Jason, who prefers to go by his nickname Hollywood, didn’t take that approach. When he bought his 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, he wanted to make the 707-hp muscle car into something all his own. His vision was to build something that was clearly not stock, but also not over the top. Something modern and sleek but also timeless, fitting in with the retro theme of the Challenger. Hollywood wanted a car that would catch your eye as he cruises (ok, flies) past, but that might also escape notice when it needs to. Each of his relatively few mods has purpose and builds toward his ultimate vision.
To that end, he started off with a Granite Crystal Metallic coupe. He chose the color specifically because it has what he calls that “classic sleeper look.” This is a car that won’t necessarily catch the attention of every traffic cop in the Chicago suburbs. Well, as long as he can keep his right foot out of it. Forgoing a full exhaust system for now, the mid-muffler delete has certainly woken up the V8 sound while retaining a stock appearance.
He also decided to row his own gears and ordered the car with the six-speed manual. A new Barton shifter dresses up the interior of the car and makes driving that much more engaging. Much more obvious to the casual observer are the Vossen VWS3 20-inch wheels running 275 series rubber up front and wide 305s out back. The matte black wheels with a stunning bronze-colored lip are tucked in tight when the AccuAir E-level suspension drops the body to the ground. The APR Performance front splitter and a subdued pair of stripes further set the car off from the crowd.
Under the hood, Hollywood has taken the same basic approach that he has externally. Sticking close to his original plan of building a car that’s more boulevard cruiser than drag strip monster, the performance modifications have been few but a focus on quality parts is paramount. BWoody makes some of the best intakes available for Hellcats and again we see a considered decision to go with red parts under the hood, tying in the Brembos hiding behind those Vossen wheels.
Not surprisingly, Hollywood’s plans for the car in the future will continue along these lines. His next focus will be on adding more horsepower. After that, an upgraded interior and possibly a wrap will be in line. He’s not saying right now what that will look like.
Sometimes a car is more than the sum of its parts. The Hollywood Hellcat we see today is the result of a planned approach to modification that puts the driver’s vision ahead of just keeping up with the Jones’s at Sunday cars & coffee. Although I do love to see quadruple-digit horsepower and insane SEMA builds, there’s something comforting about this restrained and classy coupe. That is if you can call anything capable of low 11s and 200mph comforting.
You can find Hollywood on Instagram @hollywoodhellcat. While you’re there, make sure to stay up to date with everything Midwest Automotive does @midwestautomotive and find more of my work @jsalmiphoto.