There is no shortage of things to bitch about these days, but a 9 second factory-built race car that’s street legal and fully EPA-DOT compliant isn’t one of them.
Especially since it must enrage the EPA apparatchiks to carpet-chewing fury that Dodge was somehow able to pull it off. To build it and make it available to well, just about anyone who has the coin ($86,090) and gets there first (only 3,000 will be sold in the United States).
Almost 900 hp and the ability to wheelie . . . . It is almost as luscious as hearing that seatbelt laws and DWI checkpoints have been repealed, that we can ride motorcycles without helmets again and that lawn darts and real fireworks that fly and explode can be bought at any hardware store.
You can drive the Demon on Uncle’s roads. Legally. And they can’t do a thing about it. At least, for now.
And you could drive it to work, too.
That is also unprecedented – and (cue Fernando Lamaz voice from Saturday Night Live) absolutely marvelous.
When I was a youth, back in the ‘80s, we ogled at tales of the first-generation factory-built bracket racers. Which were quasi-legal to drive on Uncle’s roads but utterly undriveable at anything but all-out, tach needle bumping up against the rev limiter, all four barrels of the huge Holley on top dumping oceans of gas down the throat of the thing.
Otherwise, it would buck and stall out; or it would overheat within minutes of encountering traffic. You had to keep it moving – and even then, it was a barbaric and Iffy experience.
This Demon is both quicker and more civilized. You can order it with a Harmon Kardon ultra-premium audio system and a sunroof. It does not stall or buck.
You can also order it with an ECU programmed to make the thing belch as much fire as possible – the full 840 hp (the standard ECU installed when it leaves the factory allows 808) plus a pair of skinny drag tires for the front end.
It’ll set you back exactly $1.
Another gaudy, magnificent affront to Uncle!
But I worry. The superlative, almost kamikaze over-the-topness of this thing suggests exactly that. Is the Demon, like the Zeroes that dive-bombed the decks of American carriers approaching the Home Islands, the Chrysler side-of-things final salvo?
I am giving away no secrets when I tell you that Chrysler’s future is . . . murky. Fiat, which owns the works, hasn’t committed resources or even a kind word to the future of what used to be America’s third-biggest automaker after Ford and GM. There is the strong whiff of suggestion that Fiat may retire from these shores – as it has done previously – and if that happens, what becomes of the Chrysler (and Dodge) side of the operation?
New product – as new cars are spoken of by industry apparatchiks – are needed. Badly. The Demon is fabulous, but it is also old. The Challenger it is based on (which is based on the Charger) is largely unchanged since it first appeared way back in 2008. It has been updated and tweaked but the basic car is the same today as it was almost ten years ago.
Can you hear the clock ticking?
Chrysler has exactly two models available for sale at the moment. A minivan (for chrissakes) and the also-aged 300 sedan (which is a fancy Charger sedan).
So, what goes on here may well be the same thing that goes on when you know you are about to be fired and today – or tomorrow – is probably your last day.
Why not go out with a bang?
It doesn’t make the Demon any less glorious. But it does make me feel a little sad to think that this might truly be the last hurrah – and not just for the Demon or Dodge and its parent, Chrysler.
There is outrage inside the Beltway – and also at car publications, such as Automotive News – that such a car is legal for sale to the . . . gasp . . . public.
That is to say, to us. People like you and me.
It is one thing for Dear Leaders to tour around in 4 MPG (yes, really) armored limos with just as many horses under their hoods (they need ’em, to haul around all that armor) and never mind the carbon footprint but quite something else for the sans culottes to get their grubby hands on such.
So, come out of the sun – engine screaming. Vertical death dive to the flight deck below.
We are low this month (see here).
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