Dodge calls the Challenger SRT Demon its “halo car.” The car that shines its beneficent light upon all the lower offerings on the company roster. But, since this is a Dodge, and a Challenger, and an SRT on top of that, let’s just say this is not the most angelic of cars.
A little while back, Dodge went a little bit funny in the head and started building this thing called a Hellcat engine. Slugging out more than 700 horsepower, it’s a brute of a plant. Dodge put it in a version of their Challenger. Then they put it in a version of their Charger.
They kept threatening to put it into a Jeep, but then the nice men in the white coats got them with the net. But then they got lose again, because in 2018, a Hellcat Jeep is in fact coming.
Alas, the inmates have run amok again, and they’re going to show the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at the New York International Auto Show. They announced it by saying “Challenger SRT Demon begins the next chapter of the high-performance muscle car-muwah-ha-ha-ha! Nothing can stop us now!”
Okay, they didn’t say that exactly, but they might as well have.
“Most cars attempt to be everything to everybody. Then there are the rare few that revel in a single objective, rendering them totally irresistible to a subculture,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat – FCA North America, before snatching a canary out of the air, unhinging his jaw, and consuming it whole.
Before being shown in NYC, Dodge is launching a pre-debut video teaser campaign and website. These things are all the rage for automakers these days, and can be quite fun. Dodge aims all of this at supplicants and acolytes (sorry normal fans and followers), so they can get weekly updates, download sharable content, and gain insight into the SRT Demon’s engineering prowess.
The first video, showily titled “Cage,” features a ferociously animated Hellcat refusing to be caged. The beast transforms, hence beginning a new chapter in the Dodge brand’s performance legacy. With any luck, the soundtrack will be courtesy of a Finish heavy metal band, but the choice of Metallica was okay too. Dodge incites viewers to watch the video for clues to divine and to fathom what’s next from SRT.
The funny thing in all this, from a gearhead’s perspective, is that Dodge makes note of the fact that the Demon name was first introduced into the lineup in 1971. It’s kind of funny because the Demon was an okay car, but not nearly as demonic as its name implied. The mad cars were things like Super Stock Darts and W23 Satellites and stuff like that.
The Demon? It was okay. Lots of aftermarket potential. Cute logo. Comfy. But the kind of thing you’d take to the grudge drags on a Friday night? No. Not stock anyway. But you know, cars can change. They can corrupt and mutate, sorry, blossom and grow, and turn into quite beautiful and fast things. Like Hellcats.
“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,” Kuniskis said.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.