NEW YORK — Dodge conjured a powerful Demon and wants it to help bolster sales and enhance its reputation as the wicked child among automakers.
How hellish? Try 840 horsepower.
“That’s one hell of a car,” Pete Toundas, an enthusiast and president of an event management company, said of the new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, before it was unveiled here Tuesday as part of the New York Auto Show. “You just wonder how much longer the EPA is going to allow car companies to build these street-driven cars.”
In the past few years, Dodge — which is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — has been recasting its image as a brawny American performance brand, distinguishing itself from auto companies touting efforts to develop electric, hybrid, and self-driving vehicle technologies. It sells models like the Challenger, Charger and Viper.
Now comes Demon, a limited-edition car that’s so oriented toward the track it doesn’t come with front passenger or back seats. They’re options — priced at $1 each. The car is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi Demon V-8, an even hotter version of the same basic engine the powers the Dodge’s 707-horsepower Hellcats. It produces 770 foot-pounds of torque, which is a lot, and only 3,000 will be available in the U.S.
A resurrection of the Demon name from the 1970s plays right into a renewed horsepower war.
Two years ago, Dodge offered the Hellcat version of the Challenger with 707 horsepower to top Ford’s Mustang Shelby GT500, which was pushing more than 660 horsepower. When talk surfaced at this year’s Detroit auto show on whether Ford would return fire with a more powerful Mustang, an FCA executive hinted at the Demon.
Anticipation for the Demon has been so intense that it has set off a frenzy. Potential buyers had never seen the car, much less driven it. They…