Hellcat-Swapped '71 Impala Autocross Sleeper
By Drake Donovan
What happens when you cross a big 70s sedan with 2020s Mopar Muscle? You get an autocross monster known as the “Mopala”. It’s the brain-child of House of Mouse Racing Proprietor, Paul Terlosky of Twinsburg, OH.
“I had a ’74 impala as my first car and raced it. It had quarter mile times in the thirteens.” He goes on to tell me that he specialized in Impalas for a while before getting into Mopars, specifically, Hellcats. “The last six years or so, I’ve done a lot of Hellcat cars and we had an engine and wiring harness laying around.”
The 1971 two-door Impala had become his “White Whale”. Because of a multitude of factors: UAW strikes, the Oil Embargo, the 1971 model year was a low-production year compared to 1970 or ’72 so the volume of two-door Impalas was limited. He was able to find one that had been a bit used up.
“I wanted something to play with while my Cuda was being done and I had my sights set on competing in a Goodguys autocross event, but the only one left in the east was Columbus, so I had a timetable.” With only had 5 weeks to prepare the car for the event, he dropped the Hellcat engine from a Challenger it right into the ’71 Chevy.
The old white interior was quickly replaced with blue leather and the suspension redone with QA1 coilovers with Wilwood disc brakes and a Gearstar 4L85E transmission. “I finished the car the night before we left for Columbus.” And it workout well as he goes on to say, “I was out pro-touring F-bodies with this thing and no paddle shifters either!”
Yeah, it’s a full-size Chevy but 707 HP sure helps. And if he ever needs service, all of the on-board computer systems still think it’s a Hellcat challenger, so he could literally take it to any Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram dealer.
Lucky Gives Mopala Some Love at the 37-Second Mark