Remember the ridiculously long lead-up to the release of Dodge’s Challenger SRT Demon? That never-ending trail of breadcrumbs leading to the hottest LX-platform car to date? Yeah, that one.
The teasing grew tiresome after a while. Many buyers and writers (circles that rarely cross) were about to get up and leave the bar, until FCA finally debuted the limited-run, 840-horsepower drag beast.
Well, it looks like FCA’s on the make again.
The final 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon rolled off the production line at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly Plant on Wednesday. While the Ontario facility continues building the Chrysler 300, as well as Dodge’s Charger and Challenger, the drag-focused Demon’s time on Earth has passed.
Currently a black-on-black beast, the car will be repainted “Viper Red” before joining the last Dodge Viper ever made at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction. The duo will be part of a packaged lot, representing the final chance to own either vehicle with no miles on the odometer, with all proceeds from the sale benefitting the United Way.
There’s only one reason for the Dodge Demon to exist, and that’s to go fast in a straight line, preferably at a dragstrip.
Which is why I haven’t fully understood the point of the car, at least up until now. And maybe I still don’t. I mean, how many dedicated drag racers are out there that want to spend a pretty penny ($85K, give or take) on something that’s factory-ready for the strip and easily streetable? Back in the muscle car days, sure, that was a thing, but today’s drag racers are probably either finding a cheap Fox-body Mustang and decking it out, or, if they have the means, going whole hog and buying something from an OEM that isn’t street legal.
That’s just a guess on my part – I’m not as in tune with those who drag race on weekends as I’d like to be. Maybe there’s been a clamor for a car just like the Demon for a long time. Either way, Dodge isn’t going to build many – just 3,000 for the U.S. and 300 for Canada.
I can understand why the Challenger, including the Hellcat version, exists – it looks cool on Woodward, the V8 models sound badass, and it’s the closest thing FCA has to a “pony car” (in my ideal world, Dodge would sell a true pony car alongside the Challenger, but I’m no Sergio). But unlike most sports cars, which can give you at least a taste of their track prowess on the right public road, the Demon’s skillset can’t be safely applied to the street.
Then someone tossed me the red key.
Even though we knew the limited supply of Dodge’s SRT Demon would drive up prices astronomically, Fiat Chrysler still made a valiant effort to reduce markups by prioritizing deliveries to dealerships offering the vehicle at (or below) MSRP. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work as intended.
This was especially true after some dealerships found a workaround by having intermediaries on eBay auction off the right to buy one of their Demon allocations. Instead of selling the car above the $86,090 sticker, which forces Dodge to omit custom nameplates and other Demon perks, they’re allowing prospective buyers to bid on the “privilege” of purchasing a Demon at the manufacturer’s stipulated value — for thousand of dollars.
When we announced that the Dodge Demon would have a MSRP below six-figures, the comments section was immediately populated with discussions on how that might not be the case once the strip-focused Challenger arrives in showrooms. The limited supply of early Hellcats came at a significant premium and, for a time, even gently used models were going for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a new one.
Gouging on the Demon seems even more assured since FCA has stated that it will be limited production to a mere 3,300 units in North America. Obviously, there is no way in hell to avoid dealer markup on a vehicle like this one but Dodge seems to think it has found a way to attenuate the matter.
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon produces 808 horsepower; 840 if you find some racing fuel.
I don’t care.
Don’t get me wrong. I like fast cars. I like fast SUVs. I like fast minivans. I like quick acceleration, high top speeds, rapid shifts, prodigious tire smoke, and burbly exhaust.
But outrageous horsepower numbers are almost becoming boring. They’re so common. So ordinary. So…
Anybody can throw a few hundred extra horsepower at a decade-old muscle coupe. But what else can you do to impress me?
We won’t bore you with a rehash of the upgrades and advancements bestowed upon the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, because we already did that last week.
With the ultimate Mopar muscle machine now exposed at the New York International Auto Show, those advancements — and the speculation surrounding the vehicle’s unknowns — fade in comparison to newly released numbers. Power and acceleration figures, to be exact.
This time, the speculation was largely wrong, as the Demon makes more horsepower than we thought. So powerful is this limited-edition beast, it has already been banned from National Hot Rod Association dragstrips.
Man, they really make you suffer for it.
In this instance, “they” refers to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles team that inserted a line from Metallica in the ongoing peep show that is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s teaser campaign. Sigh…
Besides a quote from the most cheesily overused song in the automotive playlist, there’s a technical tidbit to be found in the latest release that sheds a whole lot of light on how the Demon will top its Hellcat sibling in terms of power output.
This antisocial, one-seater Challenger variant sucks a whole lot of air.