Someone at Automotive News thinks the Dodge Demon should be banned

The Dodge Demon is a ridiculous car. Running on 100 octane fuel, it will crank out 840 horsepower and dash across 1,320-feet of tarmac in 9.65 seconds. It’s a focused machine that cares very much about power and straight-line speed, and it’s amazing that any automaker decided this was the right way to spend its own money… and we, of course, love it.
Someone over at Automotive News feels a bit differently. We’d tell you which author has this opinion, but no one has assigned a byline to this rather ridiculous editorial piece. To save you a trip, the gist here is that the author wants the Dodge Demon to be banned from public roads.

Laudably, the entire industry has made great strides toward improved vehicle safety in recent years, even as it dials up performance capabilities. But with the Demon, Dodge spits on that goal and irresponsibly moves in the opposite direction, knowingly placing motorists in danger in the process.
Oddly enough, for a vehicle designed to be a purpose-built drag racer, the Demon has already been banned from regulated drag strips by that sport’s sanctioning body, the National Hot Rod Association, allegedly for being “too fast.”
The Demon may comply sufficiently with the letter of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to legally be registered for on-road use, but in its current form it certainly doesn’t fulfill the spirit of those standards.

First off, the NHRA bit is true but it’s also a slick bit of marketing on Dodge’s part. The NHRA is actually excited for this car because they believe that those owners wishing to actually take it to the strip will install the necessary bits needed to comply with the rules. That means more folks talking about drag racing. If you go faster than 10.00 in a stock production car, you need to have a cage, window nets, a competition license, and all of the safety clothing.
From the NHRA: “It’s very exciting to see that the factories are building amazing new performance cars like the Dodge Demon, and we certainly encourage any new racers to come out and participate in our events.”
Now as soon as all of the stats of the Demon were unveiled, the Internet lit up with chatter about how soon it will be before a Demon is wrecked on the side of the road. The same thing happened with the Hellcat when it first launched. There were maybe a handful of wrecks, but I’d argue it was far fewer than people actually expected. 
The possible reason for this is that the Hellcat is priced at a premium. If you want a high-horsepower machine and you’re also an idiot, there are tons of more affordable vehicles out there that can cause plenty of damage with your fists of ham at the helm. While the Hellcat is capable of lunatic feats, it’s not priced at a point where lunatic people have easy access to it.
The Demon is even further out of reach. It will be near the $100,000 mark, and that’s before any dealers apply their sure-to-be-massive “market adjustments”.

Calling for the Demon to be banned from public roads is quite a knee jerk reaction to what has been, up to now, just aggressive marketing from Dodge. There’s no calling for the more-powerful LaFerrari to be banned. Porsche isn’t being told that its rocket ship-quick 911 Turbo S is a menace to society. Tesla has its Model S that can accelerate so quickly it makes its passengers nauseous. Hell, Ford isn’t on trial for handing out Mustangs to morons.
Asking for a ban on the Demon because of its potential is dumb. It actually gives me insight into how gun owners feel, to be quite honest, when they react to any news about gun legislation. Ending your diatribe with this line “To borrow a phrase from Ralph Nader, the Demon remains unsafe at any speed.” is also a bit inane. 

The 840-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Demon from Fiat Chrysler is so inherently dangerous to the common safety of motorists that its registration as a road-worthy automobile should be banned.

You know what’s more dangerous than someone driving their Demon down the highway? The person in the Prius next to them with their nose in their phone. The un-cared for car in the other lane with a tire that’s about to blow and one working brake light. The roadways that need to be overhauled because our infrastructure is literally crumbling. The teenager who just got their license but received horrible driving instruction and really isn’t ready to be on their own. All of those are significantly more dangerous than the person driving his or her Demon down the road, paying attention to traffic around them, and keeping their fancy new $100,000 Dodge from getting dinged up.
This article written by the guy who put his byline above the post.

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55 responses to “Someone at Automotive News thinks the Dodge Demon should be banned”

  1. neight428 Avatar

    The danger to the public at large of vehicles with a high performance potential is pretty damned small (unless you are standing curbside at C&C). The Demon’s additional capabilities over a hundred other cars make basically no difference, calling for a ban is just clickbait.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      The ultimate ‘putting into perspective’ from the last line.
      “You know what’s more dangerous than someone driving their Demon down the
      highway? The person in the Prius next to them with their nose in their
      phone. The un-cared for car in the other lane with a tire that’s about
      to blow and one working brake light. The roadways that need to be
      overhauled because our infrastructure is literally crumbling. The
      teenager who just got their license but received horrible driving
      instruction and really isn’t ready to be on their own. All of those are
      significantly more dangerous than the person driving his or her Demon
      down the road, paying attention to traffic around them, and keeping
      their fancy new $100,000 Dodge from getting dinged up.”

  2. P161911 Avatar

    So what is AutoWeek’s (aka AutoWeak) opinion? Automotive News is the sister publication of AutoWeek focused on the industry side of things.

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    “To borrow a phrase from Ralph Nader, the Demon remains unsafe at any speed.”
    I didn’t want one of the new Demons anyway but now I want another Corvair.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Yeah LEAVE THE CORVAIRS ALONE /Brittany Meme

      1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
        Bradley Brownell

        Jeff Glucker = The Automotive World’s Chris Crocker?

    2. 1slowvw Avatar

      It may be the years of vw ownership and the proximity to air cooled German machines. But I’ve really started to take notice of corvairs in the past couple years. A few times I have thought I could have one follow me home.

    3. crank_case Avatar

      The Corvair was no Hillman Imp, which sorted the unsafe at any speed problem with an anti roll bar and not having any speed.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        They don’t have anti roll bars actually, but have semi-trailing arms on the rear and more grip than the swing axles on the front. They drove a Corvair during development.

  4. 0A5599 Avatar

    Is that a real journalism site? I assumed it was a fake Dodge advertorial emphasizing the forbidden fruit aspect, just like the NHRA “ban”.
    “You don’t want me to buy a 9-second toy? I’ll show you!”

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      “Someone at Automotive News thinks was paid to incite a rebellious discussion about whether the Dodge Demon should be banned”

  5. nanoop Avatar

    Excellent publicity, and I am adding to it by commenting on a third party site (which is actually the best party of these three).

    1. crank_case Avatar

      You know you’re doing it right when you cause moral panic. I’m reminded of the reaction to the Australian Falcon GTHO Phase 3/4 and Opel/Vauxhall Lotus Omega/Carlton which generated “think of the children hysteria”.
      Even though the Omega wasn’t actually that cheap, there’s something funny that happens to perception when a “blue collar” brand offers such performance. No-one seems to have a problem with Eurotrash/Saudi squillionaires who probably total 5 exotics before breakfast yet still get the cap doffed to them, but the idea of a regular guy saving his hard earned to buy a car that he’ll treat as much less disposable? Well that’d be the end of civilization right?
      Fast bikes get even worse reactions, because anyone with 20k (maybe less) in their back pocket can go 190mph. The root of it seems to be a class based really, fine for the rich, but the great unwashed getting ideas above their station and getting into vehicles that don’t need to pull over for your Mercedes? Anarchy might soon follow.. That’s what it boils down to really.
      Accessibility can give cars a dangerous rep though. e.g. stories that the Peugeot 205 GTi or SW20 MR2 are widowmakers are greatly exagerrated, there are more vicious cars out there, but anyone with a few thousand could have a used one and put it through a hedge. The money to sense barrier isn’t set high.

      1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
        Jeff Glucker

        Man I need to drive one of those someday

        1. crank_case Avatar

          Likewise, got a chance to briefly experience a sierra cosworth (and fluffed the paddle clutch to my shame), but not one of those bad boys.

      2. Jofes2 Avatar

        “Opel/Vauxhall Lotus Omega/Carlton”
        Ahh, only General/Universal Motors/Engines Corporation/Company.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          As awesome as it is, it’s a perfect example of GMs regional redundancy of the period. Shared a lot with with the Holden Commodore which was already a V8, but a Holden specific rather than Chevy one I believe. It could have had a C4 Corvette engine, which Lotus worked over too, so an easier, more reliable route to a legit “Lotus” model, but that wasn’t deemed special enough, so hey, lets spend a lot of money working over the straight six with a big turbo and never use the engine in anything else. In some ways I kinda miss that when everything now has to be able to underpin 20 different cars to be justified.

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            Holden changed quite a lot from the Omega, including the entire floor pan, and stretched/widened the rest, so I don’t know that much was shared.
            I can’t get a decent image of the newspaper front page that kicked off the “Supercar Scare” in 1972 and lead to the racing regs being changed, but the headline was “160mph ‘Super Cars’ Soon”. They actually underestimated, the GT-HO Phase IV could actually do 170mph with the rev limiter disconnected.

          2. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            Shared Holden parts on the Lotus Carlton are the diff and mounting and the gearbox(shared with the Corvette)

          3. outback_ute Avatar

            Aha, thanks. The ZF 6-speed was only used on the Group A Commodore from memory (about 300 built), but the Commodore still had a live axle at that stage. They might have used the unit that went into the next model’s IRS.

          4. outback_ute Avatar

            A guy at school used to occasionally drive his father’s 1990 Statesman. Apparently top speed was 220 km/h!

          5. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            Good aero gives easy or free speed. I’ve just bought another W124 a 300E-24. With the extra 80hp and the same 0.27 Cd as my other 300s, I got 260 km/h showing on the gps display.

      3. Sjalabais Avatar

        This the best social commentary on the Demon and its siblings I’ve seen.
        No further questions, your honor.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          I think it’s just an elaborate publicity stunt to work in a mention of the Lotus Omega Carlton. And a picture.

          1. nanoop Avatar

            Definitely not, rather something where you can clearly see the spoiler.

          2. theskitter Avatar

            lalalalala I can’t hear the people saying we can import these now.

          3. wunno sev Avatar
            wunno sev

            unfortunately i don’t have any still images of that myself. but there are a few shots featuring the spoiler in this video.

            i really wish i could be of more help with your research on the Lotus Carlton’s spoiler

          4. nanoop Avatar

            Thanks, @crank_case:disqus surely will appreciate your support.

          5. crank_case Avatar

            Ah Tiff Needell, a man who judged cars entirely on how sideways he could get them, before it was cool.

  6. dukeisduke Avatar

    Is this a different AN article? Because in the one I heard about (referenced in Peter De Lorenzo’s On The Table of 4/17):
    The author (and Peter) made the point that GM and Ford don’t put VINs on their limited production drag cars, which make them unable to be registered for use on public roads.
    Edit: The article that Peter referred to was from April 16, a pair of dueling editorials. Richard Truett was the one calling for Demons not to be assigned VINs, and designated for off-road use only.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Really at this point it wouldn’t be hard to do something similar to the 1990s Corvette ZR-1 valet key. Have it GPS based, if you are on a public road, the car is limited to something like “only” 500-600 HP. If you are not on a public road, FULL POWER!!! This MIGHT keep everyone happy.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        I think the only problem with that is that the overlap between “potential Demon buyer” and “distrustful of Big Brother” is enough to essentially make using both terms redundant. Tell those people their cars are being GPS tracked (even if it’s just geofencing), and they’ll revolt, for sure. Hell, I’m relatively trusting, and I’d even wonder if it’d be used to revoke warranty claims or something.

  7. Shingo Avatar

    The car shouldn’t be banned. Writing about the car should be banned—-I’m sick of hearing about it.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      haha, that’s actually a pretty fair response…

  8. engineerd Avatar

    Do you know what should be banned? People asking for things to be banned. Also, decaf coffee. Decaf coffee has no point. It should be banned.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Customer: “A small latte low-fat decaf with sweetener please”
      Barista: “Why bother?”

    2. crank_case Avatar

      I don’t get milky coffee either, it’s an upper and a downer in one cup, like a PG rated snowball.

  9. Alff Avatar

    Some people aren’t happy unless they have something to whine about. I call those people “strangers”.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      “Rule 2.4: Whiner Eligibility. Whiners are not eligible to compete. If you believe that you might be a whiner, please check with a domestic partner, guardian, or health-care professional before getting the rest of your team kicked the hell out of the race.”

  10. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    Don’t you also need wheelie bars for 10 second cars?

  11. bv911 Avatar

    It’s called “click bait”; seems to be doing its job…!

  12. Maymar Avatar

    Doesn’t every SRT come with a complementary Bondurant course? I’m a little surprised someone at Dodge hasn’t just countered with the spin of “we make sure you get the special training you need to handle all that power” or something. Then again, it’s a non-story which they won’t benefit from responding to. I’m all for extra driver training on bigger/heavier/more powerful vehicles but the Demon doesn’t even rate ire. Especially because it’s hard to get in an accident from within a hermetically sealed bubble.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      “Especially because it’s hard to get in an accident from within a hermetically sealed bubble.” That’s what those Corvettes in Bowling Green thought too… 😉

      1. Maymar Avatar

        What I’m hearing is we should ban Kentucky.

  13. Lokki Avatar

    All banning factory cars like this does is enable crooks aftermarket tuners like John Hennessy

  14. ptschett Avatar

    The AutoNews op-ed is bad and they should feel bad.
    Since it’s still Tuesday where I am for another 20ish minutes, I’m reminded of the IIHS/HLDI effort(s) to ban sportbikes, which can outdo the Demon on the 1/4 mile and can be bought for the price of a midsize Hyundai/Kia or compact Honda/Toyota.

  15. Krautwursten Avatar

    Ironically the NHRA has banned the Demon in stock form because it’s lacking equipment that the US government has banned from production vehicles. The American homologation of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS lacks the roll cage, too.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Is it only exposed roll cages? What about a car that has an integrated roll cage like the Ginetta G40R or some TVRs did?

      1. theskitter Avatar

        It’s more that it’s a structural change that affects the crash test results.
        There’s no reason a cage can’t be in a car, but added as standard to an existing car, it would require expensive re-testing to road homologate.
        The manufacturers don’t find it worth the expense of a separate legalization program for a limited production edition.
        So they leave the cage out.
        It’s not automatically safer.
        Additional stiffness may cause the deceleration to spike into deadly levels for that test.
        (>40G peak, >25G sustained).
        Just like running a full harness with no HANS can break your neck in an impact where a 3-point retractor would have saved you.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          That actually makes some sense.

        2. outback_ute Avatar

          Road authorities don’t like full roll cages on the road either, without helmets. The rear-only cage that Porsche puts in GT3’s don’t contravene this, and are unlikely to affect crash testing, but you know what they say about assumptions…

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      I would question if it is actually banned, or would you just get booted from the track if you run under 10 sec without a license/cage/etc? More worthless hyperbole from FCA really.

  16. Mister Sterling Avatar
    Mister Sterling

    This reminds me of when Click and Clak Magliozzi (Car Talk) had a vendetta against the Honda CRX for lacking safety features while giving their drivers the impression that it could be driven hard. Was it fast? No. Was it a tin box that young drivers wrecked? Yes. In that sense, their warnings about the CRX were more justified than this article condemning the Daemon, given a lot of CRXs were sold and the Daemon is more of a collector’s car.

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