This Hemi-Powered 1953 Studebaker Makes 10,000 Horsepower

The Hemi-engine sits at the top of every muscle car obsessive’s Christmas list. For those who don’t know, the engine uses a hemispherical cylinder head to reduce the volume of fuel that makes contact with the cylinder walls. With less heat loss the cylinders have higher pressure. Before forced induction was king this creative design pushed some of the largest horsepower figures. With some limitations such as only supporting two valves per cylinder, the Hemi lost its title as the sports car’s engine of choice. Chrysler, Toyota, and Ford all made versions of the design with Dodge’s entries the most memorable. With the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Demon, the Hemi engine clearly has potential on the drag strip. However, it has untapped potential as the “Studezilla” shows.


Now pushing 10,000 horsepower, this engine powers an insane dragster.

What’s A 10,000-Horsepower Dragster Like?

According to YouTube channel Nobody’s Show, Scott Palmer’s 1953 Studebaker has 10,000 horsepower. The hood sits off of the dragster. Painted with a flame livery and the label, Chrysler Firepower. This run of engines is the grandfather of all Hemi-engines like those found in the current crop of Hellcat models. In production between 1951 and 1958, these engines precede the Golden Lion power unit that came in 1959.

However, the Hemi V8 in this modified Studebaker, the Studezilla, is nowhere near stock. According to Curbside Classic, a curator of automotive histories, Studebaker’s V8 launched in 1951 and quickly “earned a reputation for durability and developed a loyal following among Studebaker fans.” However, for professional drag racer Scott Palmer, this engine does not do enough. Lifting the drivetrain from a NHRA Top Fuel Dragster, Palmer changed the nature of this classic car. Palmer refers to the engine as a “Hemi-style, aluminum top fuel engine which is pretty stupid.” Just like a dragster, the car uses a 44 amp ignition system.


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These ridiculous changes continue in the interior. All the niceties of the Studebaker are gone, replaced with the interior of a high-caliber dragster. Complete with roll cage and exposed steering column. Different from a dragster as the conventional driving position remains the same. Not central to the cabin, keeping this 10,000-horsepower classic in a straight line is no easy task.

What Will This Dragster Achieve?

Built on a Studebaker Commander, a classically beautiful coupe, the Studezilla is certainly eye-catching with the nose riding low close to the floor. The coupe now looks more like a wedge-shaped dragster than a luxury coupe that rivaled the Lincoln Continental and Ford Thunderbird.


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Palmer claims that the Studebaker has only gone “300 feet four times, but it’s the meanest 300 feet I’ve ever been on.” Looking incredibly menacing, the dragster has four side exit tailpipes on each side, one for each cylinder. Protruding high from the hood, the Baron Supercharger makes this Studebaker look at home on the drag strip. Palmer sets his sights high. Striving to break the 300-mph barrier on the quarter-mile is something no other “regular” car has done. The owner knows his car can do it, but only if it makes it to the strip.


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