What it Is
Why it Matters
With the company's finances in disarray, news of layoffs and plant closures, and now the potential sale of the whole company to its crosstown rival, it's important for the Chrysler Division half of Daimler-Chrysler to show that it still has life. The Dodge Demon concept is designed to show that, despite the problems, there is still a group of hard-working forward-thinking individuals deep within. And to show that they like building miniature Viper roadsters from time to time.
What's Under the Hood
The Demon offers realistic running gear despite the unlikelihood of it ever reaching production. Under its hood is the 2.4-liter 170-horsepower “world” engine that the company shares with Mitsubishi and Hyundai. Mounted longitudinally, the engine sends its power through a six-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels, and the chassis sports an independent suspension. Sound familiar? It should if you read spec pages on the Mazda MX-5 or Pontiac Solstice. The downside is that the Demon is built on a completely new platform. New platforms take time to develop, and with Dodge and the rest of the Chrysler Corp. hemorrhaging money, it's unlikely something as low-volume – and low profit – as the Demon would ever make it to production.
What it Looks Like
Take a Viper front end, shrink it, and put a body-color Dodge Ram grille on it. Now, chisel the beauty off an Aston Martin Vantage roadster's hindquarters and weld it to the back. There's your Demon. Cribbing from existing vehicles is nothing new in the world of automotive design, but it doesn't quite gel on the Demon as well as Dodge would hope. A production version would likely tone down the angles and cutlines, and hopefully make the transition from the front end to the rear less uncomfortable. As it is, one wonders if the styling team was replaced halfway through the development process.
While the exterior may be outlandish and, well, ugly, the interior is a different story. Stylish and modern, it looks very production ready. The Demon avoids the unrealistic aspirations of some concept cars and instead hews to a readily buildable design using largely off the shelf parts for switches, knobs, vents, stereo, etc. The silver on black theme looks ready to go, and aside from slightly wishful thinking on the seat upholstery, there's nothing here that couldn't make it to production unaltered. Not that it'll actually go into production, we're just saying.
What Dodge Says
According to Dodge's press materials, Jae Chung, the individual responsible for the exterior design, says, “While the iconic Dodge Viper is a dream car for many, the Dodge Demon is designed to be an attainable dream car. The exterior design is simple yet bold, featuring an energetic combination of curves and intersecting planes.” Uh-huh. On the other hand, Dan Zimmerman is the man in charge of the interior, about which he says: “In the manner of timeless British sports cars, the interior of the Dodge Demon is purposely functional, not frivolous. Everything relating to the driving experience is emphasized, while that which is not is made visually secondary.” OK, that we can buy.
What We Think
Photos courtesy of Dodge