Trucks & SUVs

Jeep is Only Producing 24 of These Rare Gladiators

As if the Jeep Gladiator wasn’t powerful enough, Hennessey Performance has seriously upped its game by combining it with the Hellcat V8 engine. It’s called the Maximus 1000 — a name taken from Ridley Scott’s film Gladiator, which stars Russell Crowe as a Roman general named Maximus. This incredible Jeep Gladiator isn’t meant for the entire world, though. According to Hot Cars, there are just 24 units planned for production — and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

What are the specs?

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator on display at the Annual Chicago Auto Show
2020 Jeep Gladiator | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The already-powerful Jeep Gladiator has gotten a serious makeover with its 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 engine, which gets 1,000 hp and 932 lb-ft of torque. As powerful as the Hellcat is, it can’t reach those numbers on its own — Hennessey gave it some serious upgrades. The engine for this Gladiator has a bespoke stainless steel exhaust system, and the wiring harnesses, engine control unit, radiator, and fuel system have all been customized. 

It is also worth noting that Hennessey has placed a slight caveat on its claims of 1,000 hp. While the Gladiator can achieve these results at the crank, the actual off-roading takes up quite a bit of power. At the wheels, it gets 692 hp and 693 lb-ft of torque — which is still pretty incredible, but it’s not quite as wildly powerful as the truck’s name might lead you to believe.

Regardless, the Gladiator is fully decked out and ready for some serious off-roading. It comes with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. To make it even more powerful when it travels off the tarmac, Hennessey fitted the truck with 20-inch aluminum wheels, BFG off-road tires, a six-inch lift, and heavy-duty axles. If you’re looking for a subtle pickup, this isn’t it — the Gladiator has a huge steel bumper with the word “Maximus” carved directly into it for maximum (no pun intended) effect.

About the Hellcat engine

The Hellcat engine was originally designed in 2015 to boost the horsepower of the Dodge Challenger, which was only at 470 hp at the time. The Hellcat was able to boost it up to 600 hp, enabling it to compete with other comparable muscle cars. Its price tag and nearly unusable power has been somewhat prohibitive ever since its inception — it is meant to make a statement, not to be practical. 

Beginning in 2017, Fiat Chrysler debuted the Hellcat as a crate engine that could be purchased for approximately $19,530 and installed into just about any vehicle. In fact, Jeep seriously considered permanently installing a Hellcat into the Gladiator, according to Digital Trends. However, there was a problem — the engine didn’t actually leave enough room for crush zones, which means that it wouldn’t pass federal crash tests. This is why the Hellcat-powered Gladiator isn’t being offered directly from the factory; the limited edition truck is technically a modification of an existing vehicle, meaning that it doesn’t need to earn the same crash-test certifications as a vehicle built from scratch. 

Hennessey is no stranger to this kind of wild project. It has also made six-wheeled pickup trucks, a supercar that can allegedly top 300 MPH, and the 1,000-hp Exorcist Chevy Camaro.

Price Point

The Maximus 1000 is powerful, but it isn’t cheap. Because of its limited edition status, it comes fully decked out with serial numbered engine bay and interior plaques. There will only ever be 24 units available, and they retail at $225,000 — although this price does include the price of a new 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Overall, even if you aren’t one of the 24 people who gets to buy the Hellcat-powered Gladiator, it can still be appreciated for what it is – a fun experiment to pique public interest and get people excited about just how powerful the Gladiator can really be.