By on January 12, 2017

1971_dodge_demon (Wikimedia)

Here’s some sage advice: there’s no known way to use snippets of Metallica’s ‘Fuel’ in an automotive video without prompting audience eye-rolling. Scientists are working around the clock, but hopes remain dim.

The song appears towards the end of a teaser video produced by Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge division, featuring a snarling, caged beast that suddenly shape shifts into a fiery demon once released. There’s no new vehicle in sight — just a Ram Heavy Duty pulling the cage. More videos will follow, we’re told, but it’s the name that’s the focus here.

Demon.

Yes, Dodge has resurrected a nameplate last seen in 1972 and slapped it right after the words “Challenger SRT Hellcat” and “Charger SRT Hellcat.” While FCA hasn’t provided any specifications for these new beasts, we’re told to watch for clues about the vehicle’s true nature in the weeks leading up to the New York Auto Show in April.

Dodge Demon (FCA)

Of course, the expectation for these mysterious and sinister models is obvious. That is: to outrun existing Hellcats and top the two models’ already stratospheric 707 horsepower. A handling-focused performance or appearance package simply won’t do.

While FCA throws out new appearance packages like Halloween candy, special edition models don’t normally warrant their own teaser website (seen here), meaning there’s likely some steak to back up the name’s sizzle. If engineers managed to coax some extra horses from the supercharged 6.2-liter V8, it could help the automaker sustain interest in the aging LX-platform models. The current Challenger and Charger, after all, might stick around longer than anticipated.

FCA calls the Demon the “ultimate performance halo,” which lends credence to the theory that Dodge has conjured up more horsepower. But wait — here’s another clue.

“The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is conceived, designed and engineered for a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA’s passenger car brands, in a statement.

Track times, eh? Whatever this thing turns out to be, there’s no doubt that making it street legal would do more for PR than a track-only model.

1971_dodge_dart_demon_13459607435

The original Demon name bowed in 1971, signifying a compact muscle car with the body of a Plymouth Duster and the front clip of a Dodge Dart. That model, which lasted just two years due to complaints from Christian groups (or so the story goes), replaced the Dodge Swinger 340 as the hot compact in the Chrysler Corporation stable.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0); Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)]

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92 Comments on “Dodge Resurrects the Demon Name, Promises a Wilder Hellcat in New York...”


  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I think that was the dumbest promotional video I’ve ever seen.
    And that creature murdered mice!
    And it was all on the tablet of a tattooed hipster in ankle boots.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    And did the Christian Groups complain about “Swinger”?

    Lets have a Barracuda and Road Runner while we’re at it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Weird teaser video. And the logo looks like something a goth kid would sketch during history class.

    I’m guessing “Demon” is for AWD Hellcats. Although maybe it’s for 800hp AWD Hellcats.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I don’t think it’s for AWD. My understanding is because they shortened the car from the Charger, it left them without enough room on the v8s. So unless they move the motor mounts I doubt that will happen (who knows though, engineering magic).

      But the SRT guys did a talk way back when and said it was not hard to pull 800+hp but couldn’t make emissions when they did. If they figured emissions out, put together the factory widebody with Viper size rubber, and beefed up the drivetrain to handle the traction….

      Well that’s my bet anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        b534202

        There’s always the option using electric motors on the front wheels like NSX.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        I find it interesting that the spy photos of the “ADR” (which I assume this to be the result of) showed massive tires, but squared, not staggered.

        blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2018-Dodge-Challenger-ADR-SPY-105-626×383.jpg

        Not to mention, that looks like four drag radials to me.

        I dunno, just sayin’.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          Sorry, worth finding a working link:

          s.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/408/463/1/S4084631/slug/l/challengeradr-proto15-kgp-ed-1.jpg

          I’m still thinking about this thing.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        The issue with making an AWD Challenger (or Charger) HEMI is packaging. Notice that the AWD Charger HEMI disappeared for all except the Police Pursuit package with the switch from the 5-speed to the 8-speed transmission in 2014, and the Pursuit w/HEMI & AWD still has the 5-speed. Basically, HEMI + 8 speed + transfer case = too long to easily package. Not impossible, but difficult.

        That’s fine by me, I’d take a 300S AWD or a Challenger GT AWD with the Pentastar V6 any day. 300 horses is plenty of get up and go, and the styling package on the 300S looks damn close to the old SRT version.

    • 0 avatar
      DerrickMagnussen1

      I doubt it’ll be AWD. I wouldn’t be surprised if hp was high 800’s.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Also, what’s the white sedan back there in the last photo? AMC?

  • avatar
    vtnoah

    “Here’s some sage advice: there’s no known way to use snippets of Metallica’s ‘Fuel’ in an automotive video without prompting audience eye-rolling.”

    Thank you.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Uh-oh. Get BTSR some new pants, stat!

  • avatar
    mleclerc19xx

    Keep digging Sergio, keep digging… FCA’s grave is almost ready.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      “EPA: Fiat Chrysler used software to cheat on emissions tests”

      They’re fitting the coffin right now…

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/01/12/epa-fiat-chrysler-used-software-to-cheat-on-emissions-tests/

    • 0 avatar
      DerrickMagnussen1

      And why pray tell would this have anything to do with there demise? It’ll probably be profitable.

  • avatar

    There is far more ‘explosive stuff’ awaiting FCA. Rumors have it that Fiat cheated on their emissions testing too. Shares fell 16%. Trade in FCA shares was halted at the Milan exchange.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As a Christian car guy, I’d buy the old Demon over the new one, and only drive it to church and on weekends.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Ideally, it would be a Hellcat with a slight bump in power and quite a bit of weight removed. From what I understand, the existing Hellcat’s weight and heft preclude it from being a good track car.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Without a real Dart it’s hardly the same. Another rehash of an old nameplate without any of the substance.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While I’m always happy to see more crazy engine options I don’t think that lack of power is really a major problem with any Hellcat products. However, more rubber and better traction would a significant upgrade.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    MMMMmmmm. Demon. Stupid video clip, but something that tells the HELLCAT to turn its signal on or face embarrassment is a sweet idea. I hope the emission fix for 800 HP wasn’t the same type of “fix” the EPA caught in the diesel Ram’s.

  • avatar
    cpu

    I owned a 1971 Demon. It had a 225 slant six and a fragile A904 transmission.

    I was poor and it broke often.

    I do not have fond memories of that car.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      What exactly would cause a /6 and A904 Torqueflite to “break often”?

      • 0 avatar
        BigOldChryslers

        In the 70’s they started reprogramming the valvebodies to have a mushy shift so you couldn’t feel it. This is very hard on the internals. If cpu had transmission problems, I’m guessing this is part of the cause.

        My mom had a /6 Duster of about the same vintage, which she bought new before my parent met. My dad was concerned about the way it shifted, so he took it to a trans shop to have it looked at. The owner told him all the new transmissions shifted like that. The shop either swapped the valvebody with one from an older A904, or put in a shift kit to reprogram it. It shifted to his satisfaction after that, and never caused them any problems.

        • 0 avatar
          PenguinBoy

          I did not know that – thanks! Sounds like another reason the ’70s were the malaise era…

          My /6 + A904 equiped Valiant was a 1966 model, it was still running and shifting perfectly when I got rid of it circa 1991. My parents bought the car new, so I knew the history of the car, and a wrench had never been in either the engine or transmission, and there had never been any problems with either.

          It’s been many years since I’ve owned a Mopar (or an automatic transmission equipped vehicle, for that matter), but my experience with the A904 was extremely positive.

    • 0 avatar
      DerrickMagnussen1

      Whuu? The slant six had a reputation for being bulletproof.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Scuttlebutt a few months back was Dodge was working on a “widebody” Challenger ADR. Since the current Hellcat suffers from extreme loss of grip under heavy right feet, we might assume this is the fruit of that labor?

    http://www.autoblog.com/2016/10/03/dodge-challenger-adr-prototypes-spy-shots/

    “The rear-wheel-drive ADR is expected to come with a wide-body kit, which is missing from the prototypes. The Hellcat-powered, wide-body Challenger ADR is expected to make an appearance later in 2017, with an all-wheel-drive model (sans Hellcat engine) known as the GT AWD following closely thereafter.”

  • avatar
    RHD

    FCA is reaching in to the barrel for old names to plaster on newer cars. Sergio isn’t familiar with tbe baggage that they carry, unfortunately.
    No, Sergio, “Omni” would not be a good replacement for the Dart, and a Caravan variant known as the “La Femme” is not recommended.
    What’s that, Sergio? The “30-35”? Well, no one alive today would remember that one, but you’re reaching the very bottom of the barrel now.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      On that note, I wouldn’t have thought that calling the new Chrysler minivan “Pacifica” would pose a problem, but something my FIL said at a Christmas party made me pause. I consider him a good gauge of a typical guy consumer who isn’t into cars at all.

      A few of us got talking about the Pacifica and he started saying they are junk because someone he knew had one and it needed new balljoints or bushings in the front end, and it was expensive etc. etc. I told him that was Chrysler’s old discontinued SUV and this is a completely different vehicle. He replied, “They shouldn’t have reused that name then.”

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I tend to agree with your FIL. I think Town & Country had some cachet too.

        • 0 avatar
          PenguinBoy

          I personally think the Town & Country name has loads of cachet, the only problem is it comes from things like this: http://hanabi.autoweek.com/sites/default/files/styles/gen-932-524/public/120609916.jpg?itok=CHvenA1r

          Or even maybe this:
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/coconv/5798087791

          Many Chrysler products, such as the Jeep and the Muscle cars, have an association with their storied past. I expect with the Pacifica they want people to look forward, not back – the PHEV model and the participation in the autonmous program are examples of that – so they are probably not well served by a heritage name. The Town & Country name resonates with me because I like old cars, but it doesn’t matter since I’m not in the market for a minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            That first one isn’t the problem, and to an extent the second one isn’t either. Many would do questionable things to own a T&C like that.

            The really negative associations with the T&C name would be from something like this:

            http://www.julienslive.com/images/lot/4101/41019_0.jpg

            Or maybe this:

            https://i.ytimg.com/vi/OgHvckcdD1Y/maxresdefault.jpg

            Pacifica has much less history than Town & Country–but sometimes, that’s a good thing.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Really, the Demon did carry on until 1976 as the Dart Sport. Same car, just with more malaise.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Having bracket raced I have to question what will come from the factory to support these track times. Once you start getting under 11-1/2 seconds in the 1/4 mile, safety requirements start going up exponentially. If you can get into the 10s, among other requires you need a full roll cage.

    The other thing in the rules isn’t if you run in the 10s or 11s, it is if your vehicle is even capable of doing it. The first person that shows up with a Demon on the track and runs in the 10s, or God forbid hits under 10 in the quarter-mile, just killed it for everyone else.

    I’m quite content having a car that can run into the high 11s without serious modifications for this reason. Show up basically stock, have some fun, go home.

    Maybe FCA (and others) are doing something to get around these requirements.

    http://www.racingjunk.com/news/2015/04/08/safety-regulations-for-nhra-classes-and-brackets/

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      If this thing has ~700bhp+, all-wheel-drive, and a manual transmission, I’m just done. I’m done. We’re done here.

      EDIT: I meant this to be a standalone reply, but whatever. While I’m here, I wouldn’t be surprised if those rules loosen as more cars are able to approach a 10s 1/4 off of the showroom floor.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      That’s really only for sanctioned competition.

      I doubt drag strips doing open fun run nights will care unless the Demon is ridiculously faster than a Hellcat. No one is checking for roll cages on a 911 Turbo S or P90D right now.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Nope. You have to go through tech inspection and if you want your certifications as a track you have to follow those rules. At least that is the case in the multiple tracks around here in Puget Sound.

        I know folks who were sent home after blowing through the 11-1/2 second barrier because they don’t meet the tech inspection requirements.

        Never mind that if you’re running say 10.5 and something goes wrong, the risk goes beyond yourself and includes the car in the lane next to you, track workers, and if the failure is up at the lights, the crowd.

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    Or, you know, Chrysler could make a competitive something or other that isn’t a Charger/Challenger/300. Ford and Chevy can do it why can’t Chrysler?

    On the other hand I do want to see whatever this silly beast is.

    • 0 avatar
      DerrickMagnussen1

      I don’t think that’s fair, the new minivan is probably the best out there, the Jeep SUVs are easily competitive.

      True a lot of Chryslers are getting long in the tooth though.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      I would argue that the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, Ram Pickup, and minivans are competitive.

      In the case of the Wrangler, there isn’t currently anything else in direct competition with it, so it wins by default. But the others are competitive in crowded fields.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Yawn, Sergio is a one trick pony. A truly great CEO would have restyled the Dart and added a hi-po variant as the Demon to reach younger buyers. Instead FCA is just going after the same old, old boomers.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, the Dart’s predecessors – the Neon and the Caliber – both had SRT models, and both ended up failing in the marketplace.

      Why? Same reason the Dart failed – they weren’t fully class competitive. A SRT Dart would have failed too – no way anyone would choose that over, say, a WRX, or a GTI.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Even the Taliban Christians in Kentucky took offense to the State of Kentucky putting a horse logo on the license plate with “Unbridled Spirit” stating that it promotes gambling. Kentucky had to offer “In God We Trust” plates to placate these alleged Christians. Also the county clerk who objected to issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples based on religious freedom. Reading the New Testament I have not found anything that supports these extreme positions of the Christian Right but it is all in ones mind.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Unfortunately, there’s a subset of rabid believers that aren’t happy with living their faith – everyone else has to live it too.

      But I don’t think most Christians buy into this kind of legal-proselytizing nonsense either. The bad news is that the ones that do are well funded and vocal.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        They are quick to quote the bible to back their narrow backward views but they only quote the Old Testament. If one is supposed to be a Christian (believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings) then it logically follows that the the New Testament is what matters.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    True FreedMike but these zealots turn nonbelievers against Christianity. The extremist are empowered by dominating others. I don’t think the using the name “Demon” is going to help FCA as much as bringing back nostalgia but those that remember this name are probably not going to be buying most of the vehicles with the Demon name.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Without the Viper, they need a proper track day car. I suppose most people don’t give a rat’s pajamas but while they may not heat soak the engines the SRT cars aren’t nimble. Maybe when the move to the new platform with a 400hp V6 they will have something light and nimble.

    That said, I do like the Challengers a lot. Scat Pak would be fine.

  • avatar
    geo

    Now PC groups, who are offended at names like “Cherokee” and “Redskins”, are the new pearl-clutchers. Same mentality of scratching like hens looking for slights to make them feel righteous.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I think we probably need to start another Death Watch for Chrysler automobiles. It seems like all they are going to produce in the future are trucks, suvs, crossovers and minivans.

    Their last cars are going out with a bang, though.

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