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Muscle car goes to US military base

Nick Filippides loves two things: American muscle cars and the military.

So in January, Filippides, 54, and his 28-year-old son, Louie, undertook a daring mission to get their custom-built muscle car across the Kuwaiti border and onto U.S. Army Base Camp Arifjan to entertain the troops.

The car, a Toyota Prius with a HEMI-engine dubbed PriuSRT8, is a bit famous. In 2017, it was on the show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” raced in Road Kill Nights in Detroit in 2018, and displayed at the New York Auto Show last year. 

So creating the event, “A HEMI for Heroes,” to show the car to the troops seemed like a logical next step.

“I never served myself, but I’m a huge supporter of the troops,” said Filippides of Long Island. “There are a lot of military personnel who are car guys.”

But his timing couldn’t have been worse. Nick and Lou Filippides landed in Kuwait a day before the Iranians bombed a U.S. base in nearby Iraq in retaliation for a U.S. military strike that killed Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani.

The Hellcat powered PriuSRT8 creating some noise and speed on Patton Drive at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

“We showed up in the thick of it.” said Filippides. “Everything was on the highest of alerts. A lot of people thought we were crazy for going there at all. But there was no looking back. The car was already there. My son and I said, ‘We’re gonna go do this.’”

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