Forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but every country is known for carving out its own niche when it comes to the grand scheme of the automotive world. Italy has incredibly provocative supercars, Germany is known for its high-performance luxury cars, and Japan has reliable vehicles that are as fun to drive as suffering through an annual physical.
America has its own little piece of the pie with crappy, poorly built vehicles. But there’s also the heavily-populated section of insanely powerful muscle and pony cars that our great country is known for. Cars like the Hellcat twins from Dodge, Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 are all shining examples of what our great country is capable of.
The Charger and Challenger Hellcats are especially noteworthy as, the entire world knows by now, they pump out 707 horsepower – a figure that was once only achieved by top-tier supercars. And when the cars originally came out, everyone rejoiced, let out an American war cry, and proceeded to take money out of college funds to purchase one of the affordably priced muscle cars.
Just saying the Hellcat twins’ horsepower figure – 707 hp – out loud begs the question of, where does Dodge go from here? Clearly, the answer was up, as Dodge recently announced the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon – a vehicle that makes the Hellcat twins look like punks. The Demon, as Road & Track reports, was built for enthusiasts looking to compete in NHRA and to scare the heck out of anyone in a straight line.
To do just that, the Demon has a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that cranks out 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque. Goodness freaking gracious. That’s incredible, amazing, astounding. And it gets even better as the Demon costs $84,995! I mean, come on. How can anyone find something bad about that?
Well, it turns out that someone at Automotive News isn’t happy with Dodge’s decision to sell the Demon to everyone, as the outlet claims it “is so inherently dangerous to the common safety of motorists that its registration as a road-worthy automobile should be banned.”
What makes the Demon so demonic – sorry, I couldn’t help it – on the roads? Automotive News claims the muscle car is a “purpose-built drag racer.”
“From its barely legal slick tires to its monstrous acceleration, the Challenger Demon introduced in New York this month is the result of a sequence of misguided corporate choices that places bragging rights ahead of public safety.”
There are though, some problems with Automotive News’, thinking. For one, Dodge offers the “Demon Crate,” which is an optional box of components, including an ECU upgrade, a horsepower bump from 808 to 840, front-runner drag racing wheels, a high-flow conical air filter, and necessary equipment to change tires quickly at a drag strip, reports Road and Track. All of these items are part of an optional package that costs $1.00. No, that’s not a typo. It’s only $1.00, but it’s still optional, meaning consumers that purchase a Demon and the optional Demon Crate know what they’re getting into.
And for those that think they can just walk into one of the few dealerships that actually will get a Demon and walk out, you’re wrong. According to Jalopnik, there’s a lengthy Demon Disclosure Form that buyers will have to sign before getting the keys to the muscle car. And the disclosure makes buyers promise to do some pretty crazy things.
For instance, there’s a point where they have to promise to not use any “Track-Use” features on the road, and the Demon’s standard tires, Nitto NT05R drag radial tires, can’t be used on the highway. There’s a lot more, but my favorite one says that customers “shall not move the Vehicle in temperatures below 15* F with the Drag Tires.”
If that doesn’t scare the wits out of buyers, attempting to set down a quick time at the drag strip just might.
The article from Auto News came out before Dodge’s requirements came to light, but still, they don’t think the Demon is safe for the road. Well, dear Auto News, I have some news for you, no car is safe.
A car, with its powerful engine that provides an adequate amount of power, tires that help it glued onto the ground, and heavy body that’s meant to look aesthetically pleasing and cocoon the driver in safety, is only as safe as the driver behind it. Take the Ford Mustang for instance. The Pony Car isn’t exactly fast or has specs that would make one’s knees tremble, but still, they’ve become items that strike fear into the hearts of innocent bystanders.
Seriously, there’s a story on a Mustang swerving into a group of bystanders nearly every week. And if those idiotic, infuriating reports reveal anything, it’s that the driver is the liability, not the car. The Demon may be insanely overpowered, but I personally think this 727-horsepower Mustang is more dangerous. The Demon, while boasting a mahoosive amount of power, has the necessary upgrades to help a good driver control the car at high speeds. The aforementioned Mustang has a powerful engine, but none of the other components that should be fitted to a car with that kind of power.
Sorry, Automotive News, but every single car on the road is dangerous, even the ones with autonomous capabilities. And that comes down to the fact that humans like to text, eat food, read, and multitask while driving a car. Dodge shouldn’t be reprimanded for making the Demon, it should be praised and if you’re upset about it, point your anger towards aging infrastructure, the inadequate way driver licenses are handed out, and the fact that some states don’t require cars to be inspected. Or, more importantly, the fools who pilot the cars.
Seriously, powerful muscle cars are an integral part of America’s automotive history, and rebuking an automaker for creating something that oozes Red, White, and Blue is as crazy as going to McDonalds for a late night trip and then wondering why you feel like crap in the morning. I for one, applaud Dodge for making the Hellcat twins and the Demon. And I can’t wait to see what comes next.