By Patrick Rall
The Mopar world is fully expecting to see a high performance version of the new Dodge Dart coming within the next few years and while many expect it to be badged as an SRT vehicle – there have also been discussions that the performance package for the Dart could be the new Dodge Demon.
The Dodge Demon name first appeared in 1971 as a performance trimline for the popular Dodge Dart but after the 1972 model year, the Chrysler Group changed the name of those 2-door fastbacks to the Dodge Dart Sport after heavy pressure and negative publicity from Christian groups around the country who insisted that the Demon encouraged devil worship. Since then, the Chrysler Group has continued to maintain the trademark to the Demon name over the past few decades with that moniker most recently used for the sporty little compact roadster that debuted back in 2007. However, when the Dart name popped back into the Dodge lineup – rumors began to soar that there could be a new Dart-based Demon.
While there hasn’t been any official indication from the Chrysler Group about the possibilities of a modern Demon based on the new Dodge Dart, I spoke with a few Chrysler reps last year who knew that I owned a 1972 Dodge Demon 340 (shown above doing a burnout). They were asking me what I – as an original Demon owner – would think about a modern Demon based on the sporty new compact Dart sedan.
As much as I love my 2-door fastback Demon, I am reasonable enough to understand that the modern auto industry doesn’t allow room for a bunch of similar cars being sold under the same roof with different names. Having a 2-door Demon alongside the 2-door Charger and Challenger back in 1972 might have made sense then but it does not now. I told these Chrysler reps that I wouldn’t have a problem with it provided that the modern Demon packed some power and styling cues to separate it from the standard Dart – not just some decals. That discussion was certainly nothing concrete but it shows that the Demon name was at least being considered by the company for use on the new Dart.
We have seen how much the Chrysler Group likes bringing back old school names on new models – even in the event that the modern car is nothing like the older models with the same name. We also know that Chrysler has “control” of the Demon name and they have been batting around using that name on and off for the past 10 years but with the modern religious climate here in the US – Is there a chance in hell that Dodge brings back the Demon?