The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is a serious car for serious automotive enthusiasts. It comes with road-legal drag slicks, is available with just a driver’s seat and produces up to 840 horsepower from its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 on the proper fuel. It’s definitely a fast car, but we didn’t think it would prompt automotive publications to write editorials decrying its status as a road legal vehicle.
That’s exactly what Detroit-based publication Automotive News did in a recent editorial entitled ‘Keep the Dodge Demon off our roads’. The article, which is without a byline, argues the 800 plus horsepower Demon is “the result of a sequence of misguided corporate choices that places bragging rights ahead of public safety,” and should thus be banned from public roads. It also says the Demon is “unsafe at any speed,” which is untrue. The Demon is no less safe at 5 mph than a Challenger Hellcat, or any other similarly equipped Challenger for that matter.
The author’s main argument for having the Dodge Demon banned from public roads is that the Demon was banned by the National Hot Rod Association for being “too fast,” which isn’t technically true either. The Demon will need a roll cage if the owner wants to break into the 9-second range in the quarter-mile, but to do that they’ll need the optional powertrain control module attached to a Demon in the lightest possible trim. We get the feeling most Dodge Demon owners won’t be running 9s, so they’ll be able to run 10-second passes in the quarter-mile all day without the NHRA batting an eye. The Demon is far from “too fast” for a drag strip.
What’s most puzzling about this article is that it singles out the Dodge Demon as if it were the world’s first performance car. There are plenty of faster, more dangerous vehicles on the road with less safety features. If you want to ban the Demon, than you must also want to ban high-horsepower performance cars like the LaFerrari and Porsche 918, track-day specials like the Ariel Atom and BAC Mono and just about every vintage car that lacks modern-day safety features. If one performance car isn’t okay, then none of them are. Where do you draw the line?
So no, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon shouldn’t be banned from public roads. Unlike some, we’re looking forward to seeing car enthusiasts enjoying the Demon responsibly on public roads and thrashing it at the track. We should be offering kudos to Dodge for building such an car in this day and age EVs and autonomy, not decrying them.