Story of the Week

Posted: 05.08.2017
Dodge takes a page from the past with new Demon
By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of Robert Tate

 

The 1971 Dodge Demon 340.

 

In late 1970, Dodge was looking for a new car that would become a price leader within the sports car market. What they came up was a whole new brand that was slightly controversial – the Dodge Demon.

The Demon models gave dealers a new, sporty car with a great transportation package that appealed to the younger generation. Marketing executives has their sights trained on working class college students, new families and younger women.

 

Advertising for the 1971 Dodge Demon.

 

The Dodge Demon and Demon 340 models offered customers vinyl bucket seats with integral headrests that were optional. Many consumers enjoyed the rally cluster and HD suspension, which was standard on the Demon 340 models.

Later a Dodge Demon Sizzler model became available for the consumer market as well. The Sizzler model offered the consumer a unique hood treatment (Coal Black), a color keyed grille and a body side tape stripe exclusively for the 340’s. The rear deck panel tape treatment for the Demon 340 also was a popular feature that attracted teenage drivers.

The Sizzler models became available on March 1, 1971. There were 12 standard body colors to choose from which included Citron Yella, Hemi Orange and the most popular color, Plum Crazy. Today, these models are very rare and collectible.

 

Advertising photo for the 1972 Dodge Dart Demon.

 

The history of the Demon nameplate came about when the automotive manufactures were all supporting the muscle car era and its culture. From great looking hood scoops to eye popping colors, muscle cars created a new American culture that survives today amongst automotive enthusiasts and hobbyists.

In 1971, Dodge manufactured nearly 11,000 Demon models for the consumer market with a base price of $2,721. The 1971-72 Demon models were based on the Plymouth Duster designs from the Chrysler Corporation.

 

 

For advertising, Dodge used a devilish, little cartoon character holding a pitchfork as a logo. Some religious groups at the time, however, were not happy with the name or the logo. The Dodge Demon was only manufactured for two years, and struggled to compete against more popular muscle car models such as the Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Challenger. Although, the Demon did have its fans. In 1973, the nameplate Dodge Demon would change to the Dart Sport.

On an historical note, the 1973 oil embargo acutely strained a U. S economy that had grown increasingly dependent on foreign oil. This also negatively affected the domestic auto industry.

 

The 2018 SRT Demon Challenger.

 

For 2018, Dodge decided to bring back the Demon nameplate, which has generated a healthy amount of excitement and renewed interest in the brand. Dodge announced the release of the new SRT Demon at the New York auto show in April. It should also be noted that the new SRT Demon model was unveiled in a YouTube video with the actor Vin Diesel in a promotion for his new movie, “The Fate of the Furious.” The new SRT Dodge Demon logo design is very different from the logo that was used in 1971.

 

 

 

The 2016 Dodge SRT Hellcat.

 

Another popular car that is becoming a performance leader is the newly released Dodge Hellcat model. The Dodge Hellcat marks the company’s most powerful vehicle with its branded Hemi engine. The model comes with many various high-performance features and packages that car lovers will appreciate. The Hellcat models will be one of most detailed and up-to-date performance vehicles on the roads today, and it will become a success among the Mopar automotive performance enthusiast.

 

 

 

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.


For further information on photos please visit http://www.detroitpubliclibrary.org/ or email nahc@detroitpubliclibrary.org. Please do not republish the story and/or photographs without permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area. (Bibliography: McPherson, Thomas A. “The Dodge Story.” Crestline publishing 1975; EpicSpeed news. “2018 Dodge Demon release date, performance rumors & history,” January 22, 2017.)


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