One thousand and twenty-five horsepower. Mic drop. Dodge’s V8 muscle cars may be living their final hours, but one of them is swilling moonshine and fixing for a brawl. This is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 and it’s the most powerful street-legal factory-produced muscle car ever.
Yes, this absolutely batshit final edition unlocks its full potential on ethanol. Fill the tank with E85 and you’re looking at 1,025 horsepower and 945 lb.-ft. of torque so long as the mixture is above 65 percent ethanol. However, even on E10 fuel, this thing makes 900 horsepower and 810 lb.-ft. of torque. So how do you get a Demon to make that much power and still pass all pesky regulations? Long story short, throw out almost everything except for the camshaft. This new motor is force-fed by a three-liter supercharger pumping out 21.3 psi of boost. A new fuel rail and injectors can throw 164 gallons of fuel per hour, which ought to drain a stock Challenger 18.5-gallon fuel tank very quickly at full chat. Throttle body diameter is increased to 105 mm, the head studs can take 38 percent more clamping load than on a Redeye, the main bearing caps can take 44 percent more clamping load that on a Redeye, cylinder pressure is a ridiculous 2,500 psi, and even the crank damper is different. This is a 6.2-liter Mopar V8 like we’ve never seen before.
All of that herculean grunt goes through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a revised transbrake for drag launches and a revised output flange, a driveshaft that’s 30 percent stronger than a standard item, a 240mm rear axle, and 43-spline CV shafts to 315/50R17 Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radial tires. Get it all hooked up on the right surface and you can send the Demon 170 to 60 mph in 1.66 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 8.91 seconds and 151.17 mph as certified by the NHRA. Make no mistake, this is a mother of violence. Leaving the line on a prepped surface, this thing can pull more than two g. Bring your Ferrari, bring your Koenigsegg, bring your Tesla Model S Plaid, this will get down on a prepped surface with the best of them.
What’s more, Dodge has cut weight in addition to adding power. Deleted front fender flares and optional two-piece carbon fiber and titanium wheels cut up to 157 pounds compared to a Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can be the difference between winning and losing. You better believe that this thing’s a winner. Unlike the original Demon, the Demon 170 doesn’t come with a crate like the original Demon because all the goodies are already on the car. Instead, owners get a special Demon 170-themed decanter set. Ethanol for the car, ethanol for the owner, although preferably not at the same time. In addition, current Demon owners can order a matching serial number Demon 170 to complement their current car, which sounds like a wicked set to collect.
Dodge will build 3,000 Demon 170 units for America and 300 for Canada, and they’re not even that expensive for what you get. The starting price clocks in at $98,261 including freight, making this the cheapest way to theoretically run eights in the quarter mile straight off of the dealership lot. You better act fast if you want one though. Order books open on Mar. 27 and close on May 15.
Although its days in production are numbered, it’s hard to see the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 as anything less than a win for combustion-powered cars. Everyone knows that performance EVs are stupid quick, but under the right conditions and with the right launch, this dino-burning ancient bruiser of a coupe might just beat some of the best, and that’s good enough for me. The dirty, fascinating mechanical beasts we love are living on borrowed time, but they will always be fucking awesome. At the end of the day, that’s what you really want from a performance car. Something that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up while overwhelming all of your senses. We’re not here for objective competence and repeatability, we’re here for a goddamn experience, and Dodge is serving up exactly the sort of experience we’re craving.
(Photo credits: Dodge)
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Say what you will, ICE cars just have……..soul…….
EVs can be fast and technological marvels…….I have ridden in many fast Teslas…..but they just lack……..soul.
This is a fitting tribute.
The only thing I hate is that nearly all 3000 will likely be sold at double price with dealer markup. Sold to collectors that never drive them.
This car should be driven, and driven hard. One 1/4 mile at a time.
Despite what you might think, this car really is for tree huggers. That is to say, you’re likely to have the automobile gladly wrap itself around a solid tree in a warm embrace when the lack of handling and/or driver skill kicks in at just the wrong moment.
Is 170 the number of hours between picking it up and wrecking it ? the length of the burnout it will make at cars and coffee ? or the number of days until the first ones get repo’d ?
I was wondering too, the only thing I got is that E85 = 170 proof.
Yes, it’s the proof of the recommended fuel.
Other sources delved into more of the fun release notes, which seems odd for the Autopian to overlook.
Case in point: Dodge intentionally made the sticker price $96,666 to give everyone a sophomoric chuckle, and this author listed it with freight included. Womp womp.
that makes the decanter set make more sense.
I’ve ridden in a Caterham which could allegedly hit 60 in 3.2 seconds. That felt pretty brutal, but this stock, street-legal car can get there in just slightly over half that. That’s insane.
It’s not for me, but I’m happy such lunacy exists
This truly is golden age for muscle. Folks, remember this period of time, because these most definitely will be the good ole days. If you had told people 20 years ago that you would be able to buy a road legal car from Dodge off the factory floor that would be in the 8’s on a strip, no one would have believed you. NHRA had to modify the rules so these things could race without a cage and other safety equipment. It is just mind blowing to me.
Had to check: over at The Drive, they say that, though rules were relaxed for potential 10 second cars from 2014 and newer, the NHRA has already banned this from sanctioned strips as it can do the quarter in under 9.
*banned if sans cage & parachute, to be clear
So they are making a custom engine block for this? That would surprise me. If so, I wonder if they will make aftermarket blocks available.
They are not, just some different machining for the billet main caps.
I would not buy this car even if price were no object because it’s not really my thing, but it’s absolutely fantastic that this thing exists. I don’t know exactly how many drinks the SRT guys had to buy the suits at the hotel bar in order for them to agree to this, but it was money well spent.
Dodge has apparently run out of fucks to give, and the automotive world is better off for it.
This is one of very few gasoline powered cars that I’d be at least marginally interested in owning. I’m more into cars like the Elise, Miata, or 4C, but this has an appeal all its own. I’d give it a Satanic paint scheme with lots of occult symbols and listen to black metal while riding around in it, and perform magic rituals before each trip to the strip.
I’m by no means a mopar guy. Been a GM guy my entire life, but holy hell does this thing make me smile that stupid smile of “hell yeah”. Just wow…how they got COPO performance in a street legal car blows my mind.
does emissions really matter here? These will be snapped up at a 100% mark up and squirreled away immediately into wealthy garages for occasional cold starts and maybe 2 cars and coffees a year. they will never see more than 20k miles their entire life.
1) I hope you’re wrong. I hope that these see many miles, especially quick 1/4’s.
2) I know you’re not wrong. There may be some that get used as God intended, but anyone getting up in arms about emissions from these things aren’t thinking it through. These are (mostly) absolutely going into garages to see MAYBE 3k miles a year.
Most will become Mecum queens that never see triple digits on the odo.
Don’t forget that you absolutely, totally, 100% can offer this as a crate engine with EPA certification so that SVMs can use it.
Just saying. No particular reason.
This engine in a lightweight kit car, or an old little British car, or maybe a motorcycle, is like the perfect match…
Sure, if you’re trying to make biomechanical wall art.
That’s not the intent, but it is a side risk that comes with the endeavor. It’s even more ridiculous an idea than a Hellcat-engined Miata.
Completely off topic, but I read that as FC (Football Club) Atlantis. I’ve been Soccer Dadding a lot lately.
Do what you love. Apparently the SRT folks love violence.
If they’re trying to keep horsepower accessible for gearheads, this is way too limited. If they’re selling it as an ultimate object of desire for gearheads, this is way too inexpensive.
They’d still easily sell out at $150,000. Or they could sell twice as many at the current price. The most puzzling thing about this is why they’re making so few when it’s so inexpensive for what you get.
Production doesn’t start until July, and like the rest of the LX car line-up, on December 31st this year, the last big car will roll of the line…..
And that’s even if they can get all the parts required, because even being ancient doesn’t let you escape from parts shortages.
These will all be sold by Dodge’s *highly* scrupulous dealers for $50-100k over MSRP. All but 5 of them will be locked away in climate-controlled garages for eternity. The remaining 5 will be purchased by wealthy “content creators” and thrashed within an inch of their lives, for the clicks.
Watch me offroad my 170 Demon !
This is stupid. For anyone’s last ICE muscle car it should be available with an automatic transmission. I bet you once they hit the strip Model S Plaids will still beat them and in that case why go with an automatic transmission to get that extra edge so you barely LOSE instead of losing with a smile on your face because you can row your own gears?
What I really wish they would have done is make an AWD MANUAL Challenger, they had automatic AWD Challengers, and manual RWD Challengers, but no manual AWD Challengers.
Bad take, you would 100% kill yourself will 1000hp and a six speed. And it’ll smoke a Plaid.
The only reason they stopped at 707 with a stick was inability to find one that would handle it past the warranty mark.
And 1000hp with an automatic gives your car the ability to phase through solid matter that you would have otherwise run into with a manual transmission?
We’ll see about that.
You can control this—at 2gs—with one hand while shifting? Which weightlifting record do you hold in Guinness? I love manuals—driven about 900k miles with them—but this is a specialized drag car, anyway, not a corner carver.
The throttle is a rheostat, not an on/off switch.
Because they know more about cars than you ever will. But so does literally anybody at the drag strip, including the spectators, clearly. Or do you think cars doing the quarter mile in 4 seconds use manual transmissions? (They do not.) And you definitely would put anything with more than 400HP straight into the nearest wall.
Oh, and by the way? No. An overweight 5000lbs+ Plaid ain’t getting near this thing.
Off the line this is competitive in the SS/AM class. It doesn’t go faster because anything below an 8.5 needs a lot more cage.
Well up until the time that Computer controlled shifting took place it was often a toss up. You could adjust your launch RPM simpler back in the day with a clutch. Today it is a no brainer for repetitive time slips if you can adjust your auto and rely on sensors to control wheel hop and shift points.
That said, on the street having a blast, a manual with all four wheel gripping the cold unprepped surfaces is pretty nice for the win. The track hawk Jeeps don’t add all that much weight, but more importantly the drivetrain allows you to use more of the HP where Demon drivers generally go up in smoke and crack rear carriers with shuddering off the line.
It’s not like 4 second cars use automatic transmissions either. Nobody is making it out of the 5s with anything recognizable as a transmission unless some records have fallen in Top Alcohol recently.
My claim was never that manual transmissions are faster than modern automatics. Rather that BEVs make it a moot point as they are faster than their ICE equivalents. So if you’re already driving the slower car why not maximize the fun factor and a manual transmission does that.
LM002 has 455HP, and horsepower was the least scary bit about that vehicle, so much so that the amount of power it had (or lacktherof) didn’t even cross my mind. I’ve flown a single engine supercharged 9 cylinder radial with 450hp, turboprop with 500hp, and a piston twin with over 760hp from two supercharged, geared, and fuel injected flat sixes.
But in a way you’re right. I’d don’t want 400+HP because I don’t need it. I prefer lighter vehicles that do more with less horsepower. As far as this vehicle is concerned I have no desire to own a vehicle dependent on monocrop agriculture in order to operate that is only good in a straight line with an automatic.
Straight from the factory Plaid S is slower, quarter mile in 9.23. They’ve done similar times with different wheels, tires and weight reduction.
Dangit. That’s cool and all, but I was really hoping for a Challenger T/A with a stick for the last one.
That seems… excessive.
God bless America.
This is dumb as hell. If you asked a room full of comedians to come up with a muscle car parody they’d give you this.
….I want one
If the EPA rates this on E85 it will probably have the lowest fuel economy ever put on a window sticker. Even on gas it still might.
Whatever you think of the Challenger, drag racing, ICE powertrains, etc, the fact that something like this is street and emissions legal with a warranty is a monumental engineering achievement.
I want that decanter set.
Also, my Viper would be some 400 feet in the rear view mirror at the 1/4 mile even with perfect launch and shifts. Almost unfathomable.
Forget the Viper. This thing leaves some purpose built dragsters eating it’s dust.
It’s the degree of thrashing (of one of the fastest cars you could buy a decade ago) that really shocked me, but yes, a lot of builder’s hearts are going to be broken by something that can pass emissions and drive home from the strip with AC/stereo/leather bucket seats, etc.
Just wait till the decanter set is for sale on BaT in 4 years
It’s stupid, but incredible. That’s non-street legal, very purpose-built frequent-maintenance drag car territory when I was a teenager. This damn thing passes emissions and can be driven in traffic and presumably comes with a warranty!
And while I was about to scoff at the decanter set before I looked at, I have to admit that it’s pretty badass.
I love this. SRT is so batshit crazy that even the shirts upstairs must just shake their heads and sigh.
I don’t see how Ford can touch this and GM won’t even try.
The sad thing is that the true musclecar is ending. Kids born today won’t know what it’s like to drive a well tuned and very powerful V8 as fast as you can in a straight line. The sensory feedback that a car like this transmits back to the driver is going away. Kids born today will drive oversized electric golf carts, and that is a shame.
Dunno I was born in the 70s and I have no idea what it’s like to drive a muscle car.
The 2023 COPO is a few tenths faster on 93 pump gas. But, it is also not street legal. It’s a more purpose build drag car.
So, I guess if you are comparing “street legal” cars this might be the only option.
Also, I often feel sad for the opposite reason. Kids born 60 years ago will never get to know what it’s like to drive a batshit crazy EV that tries to rip your face off from the second you mash the pedal. To actually hear the tires struggle for grip under you. It’s surreal and they’ll never ecxperience that. They’re stuck with oversized gas powered golf carts, and that’s a shame.
Most kids born 30 years ago won’t get to experience that either, because they are priced out of it.
Well except for us born 40 years ago that were always into them and kept a few. My 10 year old has already laid claim to the 68 Camaro with a BBC and 4 speed, but she also gets weird when I suggest getting rid of the Plum Crazy Challenger. I have never spent over 10K on car until that Challenger and even then I had to have a manual and happened across it for under 25K. 392 Manual Challengers with 36K on the clock are already getting priced out for the youth though. it is weird.
I think Ford kind of hoped it would all go away so they can tout a 500 HP Darkhorse as something special. which I suppose it will be next year when Stellantis goes cold turkey on obnoxious fun.