Up-badging is obnoxious, but especially when it threatens a very special, limited-run car.
When Dodge announced the hellaciously powerful 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon as a very special, limited one-year drag-racing-oriented model, they meant it. The 840-horsepower muscle car showed no signs of slowing down in US showrooms, even as many dealerships took advantage of its status as a highly coveted straight-line supercar by gouging buyers on the price, and yet, true to their word, Dodge discontinued the model after its planned one-year run.
Now, Dodge is trying again to keep the SRT Demon special by denying parts to anyone but actual, verified Demon owners - the idea being that would-be opportunists can't go out and buy Demon parts to slap on some other Challenger model.
This news comes just after Dodge pulled the wraps off the new Challenger SRT Super Stock - essentially a "Demon Lite," with the same supercharged 6.2L V8 under the hood, pumping out a hearty 807 horsepower. That's the same as the Demon's pump gas output; unleashing the full 840 horsepower in the Demon requires the use of race gas and an alternate plug-and-play ECU.
"I was serious about what I said in the reveal I promised we'll never do another Demon," Tim Kuniskis, FCA's North American Head of Passenger Cars, told Motor Authority in a recent interview. "And I happen to own a Demon so it's actually personal to me. Not only don't I want to piss off the 3,299 other people, I don't want to piss off myself."
"You can't buy that kind of stuff unless you have the VIN for a Demon. We won't sell those parts," Kuniskis said.
What's more, Demon owners needn't necessarily worry about the Super Stock coming along and threatening their drag strip dominance - at least out of the box. The Super Stock ships with the same Nitto drag radials, Launch Assist, Line Lock, Torque Reserve, Power Chiller, and other Demon features, but it's a full six-tenths of a second slower through the quarter-mile on pump gas because of the suspension.
"[T]he purpose of Demon was to come up with a suspension... that had maximum weight transfer," Kuniskis says. "If you look at the very small, hollow sway bars, the spring ratings that we had... it was designed to give you tons of weight transfer and then you add together that with the trans brake that will load up the engine, allow you to launch with 8 pounds of boost.
"The combination of those two things, that's where the magic of the Demon is."