By on February 1, 2017

2018 dodge srt hellcat demon

Things are getting downright kooky in Auburn Hills.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has become quite chatty in the past day, with company spokespersons confirming bizarre new details about the upcoming Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Apparently, the beastly LX-platform variant is a real stripper.

Yes, to shed as much weight as possible from the Challenger Hellcat’s considerable mass, the mysterious Demon with make do without many of the things we’ve come to associate with modern automobiles.

Including seats.

No, the driver won’t be required to bring his or her own milk crate, but they sure won’t find themselves engaged in stimulating discussion. That’s because they’ll be alone.

When Dodge finally brings its devilish creation to consumers, the model will boast a single seat. Gone are the front passenger seat and rear bench. This, along with other notable deletions (described in detail by Motor Authority), is FCA’s easy and fast route to shedding 215 pounds from the vehicle’s weight. The missing seats alone account for 113 pounds of weight loss.

When we say this vehicle is a stripper, we mean it in the real, junkyard sense of the word. The automaker plans to ditch all but two stereo speakers, leaving one in each door, while scrapping 18 pounds of sound insulation. Those speakers had better be loud. Also on the list of missing components are the spare tire and trunk liner.

While it seems that FCA engineers simply tore down the model French Connection-style, there’s also a few factory add-ons to help the model’s slim-fast regimen. Dodge has seen fit to add narrower, hollow sway bars (shaving 19 pounds), 18×11-inch aluminum wheels (16 pounds), and smaller-diameter, 2-piece, 4-piston aluminum Brembos (16 pounds).

In a way, it’s a lot like the desperate weight-saving program that spawned the 1979 Chrysler R-bodies, only this one is steeped in performance, not malaise. Wider rubber and less weight equals an acceleration and handling boost, even if the Hellcat’s 707-horsepower V8 remains unchanged. However, few expect that mill to stay stock in Demon guise.

Some have said that the removal of extraneous seats makes this Dodge the ultimate bad-ass driving machine, but there’s something dangerously antisocial about a 4,200-pound car with only one seat. It’s like flying a kite at night. No one fully trusts the person doing that.

Luckily, it sounds like performance-minded drivers who like mingling with other humans will have a choice. Autoblog reports that rear and front passenger seats will remain on the options list. For a fee, a warm, loving couple can drive straight to hell in their new Demon.

Expect to see the vehicle revealed in full at the New York Auto Show in April.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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55 Comments on “Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Promises All of the Power, One of the Seats...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    It’s refreshing to see that FCA is finally addressing its dismal fuel efficiency with new technology. While other automakers look to the future with advanced drivetrains, hybrids, EVs, hydrogen-based drivetrains, weight-saving materials and advanced aerodynamics, FCA can do them one better: Removing seats.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      @VoGo: I’m sure they asked their customers who nearly unanimously agreed that a 75% reduction is seat capacity is what Dodge products really need.

      Ditching the ancient cast iron block and the heavy suspension from the 90s? That’s crazy talk.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      This is obviously not a daily driver, but rather a stripped out (presumably) street legal factory race car. Kind of a modern version of the lightweight A990 Belvedere / Coronet from 50 years ago.

      Jack did a write up on these cars a while back: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/how-hemi-magic-made-it-to-the-iphone-and-its-competitors/

      If you want a vehicle with “advanced drivetrains, hybrids, EVs” *and* seats, FCA will cheerfully sell you a Pacifica PHEV.

      The Demon is basically a publicity gimmick that will win a few drag races. Many years from now, surviving examples may end up like this: https://www.mecum.com/lots/SC0511-107400/1965-plymouth-a990-belvedere-lightweight/

      I suppose you could criticize FCA for trying to milk its muscle car heritage with the Demon, but in a world of battery powered transportation modules and beige Camrys I’m glad it exists. It’s no worse than Porsche milking their heritage by offering a modern 911 R.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Agreed….this seems silly. Even the Viper ACR had dual front seats. But FCA can make a few more bucks by charging for extra seats…maybe it’s genius. In any event, considering that most of these will be squirreled away in a garage by middle aged guys and driven to the local Cars & Coffee every other weekend, I would expect the the extra seat option will be checked frequently by buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Maybe its the Porsche “less costs more” philosophy? It’s amazing how much Porsche charges to replace perfectly good door handles with plastic straps.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        True ‘dat! Like I said, maybe it’s genius on FCA’s part…maybe it’ll catch on and be a thing. “Pffft! Your sportscar has a front passenger seat? Poseur….”

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Great excuse to leave the moody temperamental perimenopausal navigation unit at home.
      Boomers will buy these in droves.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      We’ll know if FCA is genuinely serious about “performance” if it also removed the passenger side airbags; otherwise, it’s only a gimmick and, like you said, a ploy to charge extra for the right seat.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    feels like cheating, or a cop-out.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    In this context, the car having front tires that are just spare rear tires is plausible. Ridiculous and silly, but plausible.

    So I guess this is like a Cobra Jet Mustang or COPO Camaro, but registrable for street use? I don’t get it, but I’m obviously not the target audience.

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      Starting to look that way… Challenger Drag Pack you can hang plates on?

      Or Dodge is trolling, and it’s an acid-dipped body, van seats, and aluminum bumpers a la the Super Stock Dodges of yore?

      (that’d never fly in 2017).

      • 0 avatar

        The Drag Pack Challenger (like the COPO Camaro and Cobra Jet Mustang) is reengineered specifically for drag racing (actually the same guy developed all three packages). The independent rear suspension is replaced by a solid axle held in place by four links and a track bar. There is also significant reinforcement of the unibody, particularly where the rear suspension mounts are. There is a lot of stuff missing that you’d find on FMVSS street legal Challengers.

        The Demon will be nothing like that.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    When Dodge finally brings its devilish creation to consumers, the model will boast a single seat… The missing seats alone account for 113 pounds of weight loss.

    Well duh?

    Back in the 1980s Hot Rod Magazine got a V8 RWD Cadillac with full emissions equipment, and pitiful power numbers. They would strip things out of and off of it (like seats, spare tire, started removing body panels etc.) to illustrate for readers how weight reduction would improve quarter mile times more cheaply than adding horsepower.

    Good to know that a Chrysler engineer stumbled across a stack of 30-40 year old magazines.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Yeah. His uncle died and he was looking through his things for vintage Playboys, and found Hot Rod instead.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Nope, they had no idea that there were in fact TWO WAYS to improve power to weight ratio on a car. You should have seen the faces around the meeting room when that bomb dropped.

      Of course they had to struggle through the derivation to placate the skeptics, and I think some of them just caved because they couldn’t handle the advanced math. You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelete!

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Nobody’s going to buy this 1-seat vehicle for daily use. That limits the appeal seriously, and they’d have been better off just leaving it heavier with the same amount of power.

    I’ve not heard anything so ridiculous in automotive news recently.

    • 0 avatar
      WrittenDescription

      Having to pay extra for the passenger seat is not what limits this car’s appeal, and I don’t want to know the person who would buy a Demon for daily use.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “That’s because they’ll be alone”

    At least it matches my lifestyle. :(

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I would think something with this acceleration potential, the last place you would want to downsize would be brakes. When you start skirting the edge of street car vs race car, the compromises usually mean you have a car that isn’t good at being either one.

    Also, I’m surprised it has 18 inch wheels instead of the current 20 inchers. At this point you might as well go all in and offer a radio and heater delete with roll up windows. 1960’s all over again.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The wheels are 18″ because no one makes a good drag radial for wheels above 18″. It is a compromise to get the right rubber on the car.

      The smaller brakes are a strong indication this is setup for one thing only, the 1/4 mile drag strip. For regular street use this definitely falls into the, “what could possibly go wrong” category.

      4-piston Brembos are no slouch for getting groceries, picking up the kids in school where they hang on for dear life with no seat (who am I kidding). But in the hands of someone who has no clue what they are doing (most buyers) extreme power plus under braked, along with those hollow sway bars is just a bad combination.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      What APaGttH said on the tires is absolutely true. There are 20inch drag radials but they aren’t as good. Most of the people who take their drag racing seriously go all the way down to 17s.

      As far as the smaller brakes vs bigger, they probably had to be a little smaller to fit the wheels. You can still have decent braking, it will just fade faster. No problem in normal driving or at the end of a strip. It’s going to be pretty rare that these show up on a road course.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    “Honey I would love to pick you up and drive you home from the club but I only got a one seater , maybe take a Uber” yeah that will work, really FCA please tell me this is a PR stunt, who needs a passenger door? take it off.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Shades of the ’57 Chevy 150 business coupe “Black Widow” albeit the Chevy’s were modified after shipping to another business. Stripped pretty bare with no rear seat from the factory before performance mods were added.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I refused to believe this is true. You can get carbon fibre single piece non reclinable racing seats that dont weigh much at all.

    You dont need the back seat (eg. Porsche 911GT3, Mustang 350R)… so for want of one seat???

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      So true. I called this option out with previous post about the weight savings. However I just assumed a rear seat delete with ultra light front bucket (no power/no leather)… but a passenger seat delete? Utter nonsense. Unless as someone above posted this is the old Porsche trick of charging for added “lightness”. Basically the 2nd seat is included but removing it costs extra so you can save that last .02 seconds at the track.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I love it, it’s an old school factory drag racing special. This is exactly the type of hard-edged car that people have been claiming we won’t ever see again, “because government.”

    Being hard-edged, very few will buy it, but that’s not the point. Very few people bought the Superbird either, and that’s why good ones now go for a quarter million or more.

  • avatar
    Feds

    Dodge has been selling stripper, single seat Challengers since 2011. This seems a lot like a street-legal extension of the Drag Pack program.

    http://www.hotrod.com/articles/exclusive-see-mopars-new-1000hp-challenger-drag-pak-get-bolted-together-with-video/

  • avatar
    philadlj

    If 113 pounds comes up one more time, I’m going to start to be afraid.

  • avatar
    Von

    Instead of putting seats on the options list, why not make them removable like minivan seats? Or at the very, very least, make it a no cost option. Otherwise it seems like gimmicky way to charge more for the car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Hollow sway bars and smaller brakes, this is not a canyon carver. This is a car built to do one thing well, the 1/4 mile.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Good news: it’s fast.

    Bad news: any woman who’s impressed by it is gonna have to ride Uber right behind you.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I bought a SVO with competition option. Saved me $1300, no radio, AC, electric windows, and some more. Guess those days are gone

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Remids me of the old SCC classic series where they started with a B15 Sentra and continually stripped it down until it was little more than a bare suspension platform with an engine on four donut spares.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I know plenty of people that go for a rear seat delete on a 911 for track purposes, but a single seat seems a bit extreme to me. I was shopping a Cayman R at one point that shed at most 150 lbs over a standard Cayman S, so I get that this is actually a good weight improvement.

    So the next question, is why make this beast street legal at all? Get the weight below 4000lbs?

    Quarter mile “demons” don’t really get me excited, so I really don’t get this car.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    Seems like it would kind of defeat the purpose of most buyers of this car if they can’t show off with their friends in it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Neat marketing trick. Take out the seats, get all the magazines to publish quarter-mile times without the seats, reap marketing benefit of the extra tenth or two. Then sell the passenger seat as an accessory, and profit as every single owner buys and installs it.

    Never stand between Sergio and a buck.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    If I want seating for one and a vehicle that goes like stink, a ZX14 does the job for considerably less.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    There’s a joke in here somewhere about the guy who buys one of these knowing it will never work to pick up a member of the opposite sex, so there’s no point in having a place for her to sit.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Seeing this, and all the effort that goes into it, I feel like taking Sergio aside and asking him “What exactly are you doing?” with the same tone I use with my 15 year old son on a Saturday afternoon when he’s spent the day in bed with a box of tissues and a tub of hand cream.

  • avatar
    A4kev

    Wow VoGo you’ve got to sit your boy down and get him into video games or something equally healthy ! Just joking, your post made me laugh.

  • avatar
    April S

    Another way to drop weight would be shrink the capacity of the fuel tank to maybe five gallons. Each additional gallon weights 6.183 pounds so if you go from a 15 gallon tank to 5 gallons you save almost 62 pounds. Plus a smaller tank would weigh less too. I”m guessing the total savings would be around 100 pounds.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    How much does side window glass weigh? Ditch it, as well as the door latch/locking mechanisms and handles. Weld the doors shut. The driver can go through the window, like the General Lee.

  • avatar
    baconator

    Silly, but fun. I’d imagine you can still bolt a Sparco or a Kirkey to the seat rails on the passenger side, a mod which is easy for an owner but probably a massive headache for a manufacturer to certify.

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