No. 893
April 19, 2017

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Editors' Note: If you have a comment, please include your name or initials (AND YOUR HOMETOWN TOO, PLEASE). We do not print email addresses. If you want to read previous issues, click on "Next Entry" on the bottom of each section. Thank you.



I'm calling BS on you this one time. On one hand the 1500 HP Bugatti Chiron is extolled as the last gasp of the Modern Golden Perormance Era. Sheez, at over 2 million bucks it out to be equipped with Bliss On Tap. On the other hand the 840 HP Demon is castigated as being dangerous in the hands of the Joe Driver. Agreed, the Demon's platform dates back to the 90's, while the Bug is a marvel of over-engineering. Forget the price difference between the two for the moment because the performance of these four-wheeled cruise missiles is WELL BEYOND the skills of almost all mortals walking upon this earthly firmament. No amount of track days and engineering can change that equation.

However, I'll grant you this point: If Billy Bob Doofus can take out a second mortgage, walk into a Dodge dealership and drive out with a Demon for under $100K we all need to get ready for You Tube to light up with all manner of “Hold my beer, watch this!” videos. While money is no cure for bad judgment, it does have a way of blunting some of its more egregious episodes. The fact is, any vehicle that can call up more than 500 HP is an invitation to John Q. Public to attend his own closed casket funeral.

I'm ready to be taken to the woodshed for calling BS on your column. I can take it.

Jim Jones
Frog Hollow Road, Missouri

Editor-In Chief's Note: Nah, it's fine. The Chiron is an art object that will probably rarely be driven over 150 mph, at least not by many. The Demon on the other hand is a loaded weapon that's a little too accessible to too many. I wouldn't mind the Demon at all if they didn't put a VIN number on it. -PMD

Apples and hand grenades.

Your concern about the Dodge Demon is unwarranted. The sporting motorcycle category has been building bikes with capability WAY beyond the typical rider for decades, and this includes nearly the gamut of engine size and configurations. For less than $15K, you can buy a bike that will out-accelerate even the Demon. Power specs for the liter-class center around 200 horsepower for a bike that weighs less than 500 lbs. Even the lowly SuperSport class (600cc) is over 100 horsepower. The only limit the industry has agreed upon is 300 kmh (186 mph), and even that can be easily defeated. I'm sure the massive profit-inducing price tag that FCA will assign to the Demon will limit production to less than that of Sportbikes in the USA.

D. DeClerck
Barrington, Illinois

Editor-In-Chief's Note: I stand by every word that I wrote about the Demon. Love the idea behind the car and kudos to the True Believers out in Auburn Hills for all of their trick engineering work, but putting a VIN number on that car - with no roll cage to boot - is the height of irresponsibility. Period. -PMD

Track-focused would be better.

The Dodge Demon is a last gasp attempt by FCA to show some “life” in their tired product line. I agree that while the vehicle exemplifies “brute force” it is far too much vehicle for the majority of the motoring public. Of course there will be those claiming they are buying it for investment purposes but this is not one of the rare Hemi Darts that were built for NHRA competition. I have seen several Hellcat models wrapped around trees, lets see how long before somebody loses a Demon. In all honesty, I really do like the Demon, but also feel it would be a smarter move to make it a “race only” model. Even the most cautious of drivers, when given the opportunity to drive an 840hp vehicle are going to firewall the throttle on that beast – just once to “check it out”. Anyone who says they wouldn't doesn't have a pulse! Drive safe out there kids!

Northville, Michigan

Attempting to counsel the misguided.

Sometimes you do indeed step in it, your hating on the Demon is unwarranted. First, they are offering Bob Bondurant, which the wife and I did just for our SRT. Second, its 840 on the street, yes, a huge number, but how much in reality different from GT350R, ZR1, Hellcat, Viper, whatever Porsche, AMG, and that Bugatti thing? And it will have a price tag that will keep a lot of unwashed away. Finally, the truly unwashed can do that from the Summit catalog anyhow. Sometimes Peter, sometimes…

Gurnee, Illinois

Editor-In-Chief's Note: After almost eighteen years of writing this publication, I am continually amazed at what people take away from what they read. In some cases, I'm not sure that they could pass a simple reading comprehension test. And sometimes I ask myself why I feel the need to type a cohesive reply to such unmitigated bullshit as this. Did I say I hated the Demon? Uh, no, I did not. Let me say this for the last fucking time for all of you out there who seem incapable of understanding what they read, or don't read, as the case may be. The Demon is cool. And the True Believers in Auburn Hills should be proud. But it has no business having a VIN number on it. -PMD

There's a time - and a place - for everything.

I am writing this week to express my complete agreement with your Demon piece in “On the Table”. This from a life-long Corvette and muscle car enthusiast, who currently daily drives a 485HP Charger Scat Pack. I have said to anyone who has asked what I think of it that the Demon should have been the equivalent of a COPO Camaro or Cobra Jet Mustang… a factory drag car (no vin). Just google Hellcat crashes, and now add even more horsepower and less control (front end lift is great for the drag strip… not so much for street). Dodge should have kept the Demon in its cage and added a roll bar and deleted the vin. The endless drip of information was also supremely irritating but that is another topic.

Sparta, New Jersey


I, too, must come to the ‘rescue’ (like he needs me) of our favorite and intrepid automotive bard regarding the 840HP elephant in the room. I'll dispense with any judgment on the stereotypical Ram/Dodge aficionado, but the Demon is just dumb. All seats but the driver are optional (drag car), comes with an optional driving class (to race it), yet its already banned by the NHRA (insufficient safety gear).

ANY car company can stuff 800 ponies in the hood of a given model, but only a few make any sense (ok, maybe none do outside of this AE's fan base!). The Demon is clearly a showy act of desperation from a fast-fading regime, akin to the WW2 German Maus tank. Oh, and it is already over a second slower than the racers-done-right COPO Camaro and Cobra Jet Mustang that anxiously await on the strip, properly VIN-less…

Tony W.
Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

I gotta go with PMD on this one. Having spent my share of “sweaty palms” moments in the expert witness chair, I hark back to the words often spewed from plaintiff's attorneys, “... knew or should have known...” and you can fill in the blanks after the “should have known part.” I view the Demon adventure as another example of “Just because you can doesn't mean you should!”

Wilmington, North Carolina

Pissing in the wind.

The Demon seems to have conjured up a lot of pent up wrath with its announcement. One can opine that the vehicle might have been more appropriately offered as a track only car but then you might be compelled to take similar issue with a LOT of other cars that are offered for sale to John Q Public. Any car offered with a supercharged V8 is more than a handful for almost all drivers on most occasions. Dozens of vehicles are capable of speeds over 140 mph and have performance beyond the skills of most who buy them. This is not a class of car based on need. Its based on “want”. Like buying the latest road going version of a Moto GP machine. Nobody needs one. FCA are betting that 3000 buyers will want one. Criticizing FCA for taking advantage of a marketing opportunity, albeit one that might be construed as irresponsible, and implying that they should not offer this car for sale as a road car, in this case is akin to trying to close the barn door long after that horse is in the next darn county.

Alan W.
Romeo, Michigan

Well, there's that.

Why am I fixated now on the image of a maniac in a Demon taking out a driver-less autonomous vehicle?

Tom W.
Austin, Texas

Navigator? Count him in.

To answer your question about the new Navigator, my answer is YES. My 2016 Escalade Platinum rides like shit. It has this constant vibration regardless of speed, or lack thereof, and you can feel every pit, pebble and ripple in the pavement. There's days I'm physically worn out from driving the thing. SO, you can bet I'll be looking at the new Navigator, among others, when my lease expires next year.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Got Rice?

Grettings from the newly renamed Soviet Republic of Calimexistan!

I don't care if you don't like the Civic Type R. I want one, and I want it with yet another wing. I want a Triplane CIvic Type R painted like the Red Baron's ride.

Sometimes, you see, you reach a point in life where you don't give a damn about behaving yourself and just want something over the top. I'm OK with keeping my wife, we already have some “serious” looking cars… so what's wrong with a car that has more wings and aero bits than a squadron of Spitfires during the Battle of Britain?

It does have some power too... And at least the aero bits are painted… not glued on and left in pure white…

Irvine, California

The Point?

I'm not really worried about Demons terrorizing our highway considering recently not one but TWO sub-1,000 mile Buick GNXs just surfaced in an estate sale. They look like a pair of street-parked 30-year-old cars with fading paint, sagging headliners, and rotten tires. They were asking about $60k for the pair and they both look like they need another $10k in work each, and at the end of all that you STILL can't drive them or they'll loose 80% of their value.

At that point, what's the POINT?

Here's how I see it shaking out: 10% of Demons will be bought by rappers, rockstars and footballers. A third of those will be wrecked. 40% will be snatched up by “collectors” and stashed away in a warehouse somewhere. The remaining units will sit in showrooms with some implausible dealer markup until the sales manager grows tired of staring at it. They'll never lower the asking price, just complain that “cars like that just don't sell.”

When FCA closes it's doors sometime in the next 20 years they'll find some “never driven” Demons in a shuttered dealership warehouse in 2047 that will set off a bidding war on

Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

One more thing about the Demon.

You see, folks, in my opinion, It's not the car. It's the asshole behind the wheel. Always has been, always will be. I want Dodge to keep building Muscle Cars as long as they can, because the eco-weenies are going to ban them some day. I want to buy mine before that.

Doug Smith
Kunkletown, Pennsylvania



Demons and Dragons.

I am with you 100%. The 840HP Demon should only leave a dealership towed behind a truck, and without a VIN. If its buyers can afford an $80K toy, they can afford race track fees. Remember all the crying over actor Paul Walker's death? What got less focus was his race-car friend driving that Porsche Carrera GT like an irresponsible moron — over 85mph in a 30mph industrial park. It may well be the same with most Demon drivers in their street-legal machines.

It is bad enough that people forget driver responsibility and judgement. What really bothers me is the role that traditional fanboy enthusiast "journalists" have played. They unctuously egg FCA on, pleased that someone has built the answer to the wet dream of their demographic's inner 15-year-old. It disgusts me.

There is such a thing as societal responsibility, and I'm pleased to see it coming from you.

Peter Engel
Brooklyn, New York