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Dodge Resurrects the Demon Name, Promises a Wilder Hellcat in New York

1971_dodge_demon (Wikimedia)

Here’s some sage advice: there’s no known way to use snippets of Metallica’s ‘Fuel’ in an automotive video without prompting audience eye-rolling. Scientists are working around the clock, but hopes remain dim.

The song appears towards the end of a teaser video produced by Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge division, featuring a snarling, caged beast that suddenly shape shifts into a fiery demon once released. There’s no new vehicle in sight — just a Ram Heavy Duty pulling the cage. More videos will follow, we’re told, but it’s the name that’s the focus here.

Demon.

Yes, Dodge has resurrected a nameplate last seen in 1972 and slapped it right after the words “Challenger SRT Hellcat” and “Charger SRT Hellcat.” While FCA hasn’t provided any specifications for these new beasts, we’re told to watch for clues about the vehicle’s true nature in the weeks leading up to the New York Auto Show in April.

Dodge Demon (FCA)

Of course, the expectation for these mysterious and sinister models is obvious. That is: to outrun existing Hellcats and top the two models’ already stratospheric 707 horsepower. A handling-focused performance or appearance package simply won’t do.

While FCA throws out new appearance packages like Halloween candy, special edition models don’t normally warrant their own teaser website (seen here), meaning there’s likely some steak to back up the name’s sizzle. If engineers managed to coax some extra horses from the supercharged 6.2-liter V8, it could help the automaker sustain interest in the aging LX-platform models. The current Challenger and Charger, after all, might stick around longer than anticipated.

FCA calls the Demon the “ultimate performance halo,” which lends credence to the theory that Dodge has conjured up more horsepower. But wait — here’s another clue.

“The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is conceived, designed and engineered for a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA’s passenger car brands, in a statement.

Track times, eh? Whatever this thing turns out to be, there’s no doubt that making it street legal would do more for PR than a track-only model.

1971_dodge_dart_demon_13459607435

The original Demon name bowed in 1971, signifying a compact muscle car with the body of a Plymouth Duster and the front clip of a Dodge Dart. That model, which lasted just two years due to complaints from Christian groups (or so the story goes), replaced the Dodge Swinger 340 as the hot compact in the Chrysler Corporation stable.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0); Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)]

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