By on June 22, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - Image: FCA

As Hollywood writes it, when you make a deal with Satan, he bestows onto you whatever you covet most in exchange for your soul. However, there is usually some dark twist that ruins the overall experience long before you can settle into hell’s never-ending torment. If you ask him for money, it’ll be stolen from the mob and they’ll hunt you down. If you ask him for power, he’ll make you the next Adolf Hitler. The devil’s bargain is a well-established trope — you get what you asked for but cannot fully enjoy it thanks to some twisted fine print.

Fiat Chrysler’s SRT Demon Customer Acknowledgment contract functions similarly. Perhaps it’s a necessary evil because it specifically prohibits the brainless activities which would absolutely result in your 800+ horsepower drag car killing you or a loved one. That said, you could ignore all of the rules FCA carefully chose to include within the contract. But, when you do, the manufacturer has itemized and initialed proof where it explicitly forbid you from doing so. 

Posted in-full on AllPar, the contract serves primarily to protect FCA from any legal problems when owners inevitably do something stupid in their Dodge Demon. While the first few stipulations are boilerplate standard, things start getting weird the further down you read.

Item four: “If the Vehicle is not factory equipped with a passenger seat, Customer shall never attempt to install a passenger seat because the passenger will not be properly protected.”

While a milk crate zip-tied to the floor is likely to offer inadequate levels of protection, “never” sounds pretty all-encompassing. You had better be absolutely certain before you opt for the seat delete option, because FCA says there is no going back.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The following rule is the one most owners will immediately ignore, potentially at the expense of their own lives.

Item five: “Customer shall never use any ‘Track-Use’ features, functions, equipment or parts on public roads or any other prohibited area. The intended use of ‘Track-Use’ features, functions, equipment or parts is for race vehicles on race tracks.”

Again, FCA is just covering its ass here because they have to know this one will literally go up in smoke the second someone uses the line-lock in service of the sickest burnout in recent memory. Likewise, some people are going to be curious as to the Demon’s full potential long before they get it onto a drag strip. Even if you can resist the urge initially, teenagers in modified Honda Civics are everywhere and one of them is going to convince you to hit the throttle eventually. Just remember that the odds of impressing him are roughly equal to you embarrassing/killing yourself — which is why the contract exists.

Realistically, Dodge could never sell the Demon without a waiver and this one possesses some useful information in addition to absolving FCA from any wrongdoing. For instance, there is a reminder that the car is equipped with drag radials and not normal tires. The manufacturer reminds new owners that the Nitto NT05Rs do not have the longevity required for highway usage or the tread pattern necessary to keep you from hydroplaning in the rain. FCA suggested owners not even move the vehicle in extremely cold weather in order to avoid warping the rear tires.

TTAC recommends you be a massive nerd about it: If you live in a cold climate, put the car on jack stands, deflate the tires, bring them indoors, and lay them on their side. C’mon, show us you are serious about tire maintenance.

demon drag

Dodge’s acknowledgment for the Demon wraps in an all-caps declaration that the purchaser assumes all risks and waives “any and all claims against FCA US LLC and/or Dealer.” That risk extends not only the driver but “their personal representatives and heirs and next of kin.” An ominous reminder that this is not the kind of car you want to screw around in.

At the very bottom is FCA’s final attempt to keep dealers from marking up the Demon’s final price to stratospheric levels. Signees have the option to indicate if they were screwed by the dealership or not by checking one of two boxes:

“___ Yes, the purchase price of this Vehicle is AT OR BELOW MSRP, thereby qualifying this Vehicle order for priority scheduling; provided, however, that Vehicles in the following colors: B5 Blue, Indigo Blue, Plum Crazy and F8 Green will not be available until 01 of 2018 (at the earliest (as set forth in Section 10 above)).

___ No, the purchase price of this Vehicle is NOT AT OR BELOW MSRP, and I acknowledge that this Vehicle order does not qualify for priority scheduling.”

We doubt many people will be checking the top box but it’s nice to see Dodge making a continued effort to keep dealerships from taking advantage.

dodge demon

[Image: FCA]

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40 Comments on “Owners Will Need to Sign Devilish Contract Prior to Demon Possession...”

  • avatar

    I don’t know that I’d put this on my list of the “top five cars I need to add to my collection”, but I’m proud to live in a country that makes it a possibility. #Murica!

  • avatar

    One of the stipulations is that the dealer may rip you off as much as he wants and as much as you’re willing to allow.

  • avatar

    You’re describing a “Faustian” bargain.

    Great Wishbone episode.

  • avatar

    Coming soon to a iPhone near you: “Dodge Demon wipeout” youtube videos. They should be far more entertaining than “buttcrack bottle rocket” videos.

  • avatar

    Product: We want to build a LX platform car with 840 standard horsepower.

    Engineers: We can build that kind of power.

    Marketing: Rock on! We can sell that.

    Dealers: Rock on! We can sell that.

    Beancounters: Rock on! We can pull from the parts bin for a number of items and the LX platform has already paid for itself anyway.

    Lawyers: Wait, what? 840 HP? This is a track only option right.

    Product: Ummm, no, this would be for the track but street legal.

    Marketing: Yes, needs to be on the street, we can market that.

    Dealers: We’ll sell it either way, but easier to sell on the street.

    Lawyers: Are you out of your minds? You want to sell an 840 HP street legal car to any MOPAR buying slob? Have you seen our customers?!?!

    Marketing/Products/Dealers: Ummm, d’uh – yes, they’ll buy it!

    Lawyers: If you’re going to sell these, then we need to protect ourselves. It won’t be hard to convince a jury in this country that selling 840 HP in a street car with drag radials to “regular folk” was just plain stupid. The first time someone says, “hold my beer and watch this,” in a Facebook live stream, we’ll be sued into oblivion.

    Everyone at the same time: LAWYERS ARE BUZZ KILLS.

    • 0 avatar

      Would you not use one without this after you try to impress the neighborhood kids who have gathered to see your damn-near-supercar-by-FCA-standards, and end up taking out half of them, including your own?

      Your stereotypes are inconsiderate of the MSRP, much less the actual amount of money it would take to secure one right now.

    • 0 avatar

      I had to sign a form almost as bad as this to buy my mountain bike.

      Most of that form is just ‘buy real street tires if you’re going to drive on the street’.

  • avatar

    Bugatti, street legal and 1000+ hp.

    • 0 avatar

      And not attainable by the average slob willing to sign an 84-month loan with 10% down.

      Further the average Bugatti owner is going to almost certainly have a deep umbrella insurance policy, an attorney on retainer, assets in LLCs and trusts, and will bury in court anyone trying to sue them.

      • 0 avatar

        At an MSRP of some $86k, I don’t see how the Demon is really any more “attainable by the average slob willing to sign an 84-month loan with 10% down” than the Bugatti. I’d also be surprised if Chrysler would finance one for an 84 month term or even consider anyone with less than outstanding credit for a loan for that matter; marginal buyers will be politely redirected to the $28k Pentastar trim level.

        I’d bet that the vast majority of these cars are destined to be low-mileage garage queens anyway. (I don’t seem to recall hearing about a widespread epidemic of people stuffing their Hellcats, which aren’t THAT much slower than the Demon – this isn’t the Mustang GT we are talking about after all!)

        • 0 avatar

          We are in a world where a “cheap” Ford Expedition or “cheap” Suburban is over $50K new.

          You really under-estimate the stupidity of the American car buyer. If a buyer meets the finance requirements, Chrysler is going to sell it to them. Over 30% of new car loans are sub-prime, average car loans are going past 32 months now. 84 months – heck they’ll let you finance one for 96 months.

          It is simple math – does DTI mean the buyer can afford the payment? If yes does their FICO score support the believe they can pay back the loan. That’s it. They aren’t going to go, well this person with a 670 FICO score (which is sub-prime) can’t buy a Demon even though they are a computer programmer bringing down $150K a year with no mortgage or credit card debt.

          A $75,000 loan at 5.9% on a 96 month term has a car payment under $1000 a month. Average American car payment right now is $503 a month, you’re not even 2X from the norm.

          The cheapest Veyron I could find on the internet for sale was this 2006 model for the bargain basement price of $1.3 million.

          Now please explain to me how $86,000 MSRP new is every bit of unobtainable as $1.3 million MSRP used…

          • 0 avatar

            “You really under-estimate the stupidity of the American car buyer.”

            OK, I suppose I can accept that! I have come to realize that maybe I am naïve in this regard, based upon your comment and a recent buying experience.

            I recognize that in absolute terms, a car which is 25X less expensive is more attainable, but the difference is functionally negligible when a person has marginal credit and/or a low or even median income. I assumed that the average Demon buyer will have at least $250-300k annual income, and that the average Veyron buyer is well into the 8-figure range – both of which are way out of range for the “average slob”.

            Still, I don’t see why Chrysler couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be selective about who can buy such a limited-production vehicle; if they want to reduce the risk of being sued I’d think this would be very much in their best interest. Of course financial qualification does not necessarily equate to responsible driving, but I would think the odds would be at least a little higher with someone diligent enough to maintain good credit or the funds to buy outright. We pull credit reports on people we hire, and in my experience there is in fact some positive correlation (before the pitchforks come out, please note that we fully comply with the pertinent FCRA regulations and make no decisions based solely upon the credit report).

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe the insurance companies will be the moderating force for the buyers.

            Sure you can afford the car but can you afford the insurance payments as well? The financing bank will require insurance after all.

        • 0 avatar

          A Bugatti costs over $ 1.7 million bucks. Requires an annual routine maintenance of over $21,000.00 Tires? $33,000.00 a set every 2500 miles and $50,000.00 + every 10,000 miles for a new set of wheels on top of the tire costs. So there is no comparison, As to the Demon, buy one soon, because they will not be making them in the future. FCA will be sued and lose despite the waiver.

      • 0 avatar

        “And not attainable by the average slob willing to sign an 84-month loan with 10% down.”

        I just flashed to Bubba in the F&I office with his wife, pen in hand, ready to sign paperwork, and he says to her, “Here, hold my beer, watch this” as he starts putting Xs on the dotted lines.

        • 0 avatar

          Beer swilling dude rolling off in a Demon…there’s a comforting idea.

        • 0 avatar

          I literally stood behind that guy at a motel recently on a business trip. Was some sort of biker fellow part of a high end custom bike crowd, could neither read nor write apparently. I wonder how a person passes a driving test in that condition?

    • 0 avatar

      The Veron might be street legal, but it isn’t street drivable. Try buying your kids matching Mustang GTs every few weeks, that’s just the tires.

      Then there would be the inevitable body damage, hope you have insurance, or can $#¡t out about 8 Sequoias to fix damage done by a minor pothole you wouldn’t have even noticed in a Chevy Prizm and couldn’t see though the grounded space shuttle you’re piloting. Actually that might be cheaper and easier.

      From my understanding, the Demon can be driven to Walmart, likely using a feather on the throttle. It would be a huge ordeal to take a Veron on the same trip, and you could pay the entire employee’s salary with your maintenance costs if you attempted to drive it everywhere this thing can go. In some parts of the country, I bet this could be driven maybe weekly year-round (place with a breezy day in the 60s for a “winter”) although that in itself would be expensive and not nearly as easy as in a Mustang GT or even a mild version of a Corvette.

      The Veron is so difficult and expensive to operate, it precludes mundane and regular use far more than this, is my point. That leaves this far more open to defying the laws of physics on a Saturday night, or attempting to, and taking out a fence and a flag pole in a split second before you can finish saying “let’s see what it can….”.

    • 0 avatar

      And roughly the same weight but only 2 seats.

  • avatar
    C W

    Those lawyers aren’t new hires.

    Back in 2005, they gave my Grand Cherokee’s owner’s manual the same treatment: in various places, the manual notes that the Jeep’s features “cannot prevent the natural laws of physics from acting on the vehicle” [and, by implication, hurting or killing me in interesting ways].

    They didn’t make me sign a waiver, though.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. Put whatever cautions you want in the manual. I don’t like the signing of a waver. When I buy a ladder, it has warnings all over it, but no waiver.

      • 0 avatar

        Letting the shysters write the manual invariably results in page after page of bolded red obvious which is the best possible camouflage for the cautions that you actually need.

        A good example of this is the story that made the internet rounds a decade or so back wherein a Bubba blew his thumb off via the cylinder gap of his brand new 460 S&W. The cylinder what? RTFM, but when you RTFM keeping your off hand behind the trigger guard didn’t show up until they’d gotten through 18 pages on the dire importance of not pulling the trigger until you intend to fire and not storing your bullets in the same box as your gun.

        In summary, product liability lawyers should all be shot.

        • 0 avatar

          Attorneys are the ultimate two edged sword: great when they’re on your side, awful when they aren’t.

          If I were FCA (the ultimate one-man corp, I suppose), I would have no problem making Demon drivers sign a waiver.

  • avatar

    What, no mention of Cars & Coffee anywhere in that contract?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am sure that most owners will immediately purchase another set of tires for their Demon with street tires attached, at least that is what I would do. With non-wrinkle wall slicks on the back you should be able to pilot this rig down the street without any major issues provided you go easy on the loud pedal. I know plenty, well a handful at least, of dudes that have muscle cars pushing that HP range and they are able to drive them around town when the mood hits without wiping out a horde of small children.

  • avatar

    If I bought a Demon and the finance manager wasn’t required to wear devil horns and a red cape during the paperwork signing, I would be very disappointed.

  • avatar

    This contract is all well and good for the first owner, but what about the second, third, or fourth owner that acquire the beast? They will not have waived any of FCA’s responsibility to put a car on the streets that is safe in the hands of the average driver. What will be the responsiblity of the original owner to provide a disclaimer to someone they sell the car to?

    I recall many years ago a client of mine that raced cars as a hobby. Mainly dirt track, but also some asphalt as well as eventually owning an Indy car team for a couple of years. I recall a race built Corvette he owned that was also street legal, but was clearly built for racing with racing suspension, brakes, etc. When he sold the car he actually had the buyer sign an extensive waiver in which he disclosed all the modifications to the car, the nature of the brakes, etc. As the client explained to me, sure enough, within one month of the ownership the buyer missed a corner because he had not properly warmed up the brakes and went directly into a tree, and then to the great beyond.

    I am not sure how FCA plans to deal with the ongoing potential liability to the subsequent owners, particularly those that are looking for a pre-owned “bargain” to impress the locals with.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m no attorney. But I seem to remember from business law that businesses are held to a higher standard when it comes to advising buyers of potential safety issues than private individuals are.

      Something like “businesses are assumed to know more about the potential risks of a product and thus are held to a higher standard of disclosure,” as I recall. It’d make sense that FCA would be exposed to more potential liability as they designed and manufactured the product, versus some private individual who’s just selling it to another individual.

      Any real lawyers want to take that on? I’d be interested to know if my memory’s any good.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s a matter of time before one of these appears at Barrett-Jackson, and I wonder if the same provisions apply to the happy high bidder. Or, for that matter, to any innocent bystander who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when the car somersaults off the road (thanks to Secret Hi5, below, who pointed out the third-party issue).

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Third-party injured by a Demon will probably sue FCA.

  • avatar

    From what I’ve heard, arms dealers often have to produce “end use certificates” saying that the arms they are dealing won’t be used to mow down civilians.

    And those end use certificates are worth about what you would think. The interesting thing is that with cars, it probably isn’t worth “license washing” the thing (thanks to the depreciation and all). If you really care about it, I’m sure they can do some sort of switcheroo where an lot employee “buys” it but never registers it so it is officially a “new car”.

  • avatar

    Check off the box that says “at or below MSRP” and “gift” the deal 5 or 10k under the table.
    As in the dealer installed $5,000.00 “Paint Protection Package” (a bottle of Turtle Wax).

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