In years past, our group of gearheads would assemble by the main gate of the Mopars at the Strip show in Vegas on Friday morning to have a meeting, and we, the staff of Mopar Muscle, would meet with the car owners, judge each car on its appearance, and then we would take the group of them out on the streets of Las Vegas. This has become increasingly more dangerous as the years have passed, and to be honest, isn't something we were comfortable doing again. Once our street passes were taken care of, we would then hit the track.
After Randy and I discussed the great level of discomfort each of us had taking eight nice Mopars onto the Interstate, and frequently pulling over onto the side of the highway while I jumped into the next car, it was decided we would alter this part. We feel the change that was made actually gave us a better feeling for the cars if we took them out one-by-one. And, best of all, it was much safer than pulling off onto the side of the highway with its barely existent safety shoulder.
Everything else in the competition stays the same because nothing was immediately dangerous. We still judge each of the selected competitors in the same three categories and score them on how well they perform in all of them. At the end of the day, the winner should be a car that displays a terrific balance of performance, comfort, and appearance.
This year's winner was Marc Vieu in his '72 Demon. His car embodies the goals of the True Street Challenge and was compliant on the road, consistent at the track, and had an outstanding fit and finish that kept him in the top ranks in every category we test in. This gave him the clean victory. Each participant's cars excel in their own way, and there isn't a loser in the group. That's why the cars will be organized by their elapsed time, rather than randomly or by score, as in years past. Check out which cars were up for the challenge this year.
|'72 Dodge Demon|
Marc's '72 Demon stood out from the group, with its sinister tuxedo black paint. A quick lap around the car had us amazed at the details more than anything else. Yes, some of the chrome was painted black, but it fit the look and feel of the car. Behind the modern 17-inch front Coy's wheels were Viper RT-10 calipers chomping down on 11 3/4-inch Cordoba rotors. The rear 18-inch Coy's were covering a nice set of disc brakes as well. When Marc presses the brake pedal, this thing yields from whatever to zero in a hurry.
The gas-fill cap and side marker lights were removed and the areas smoothed out, while fiberglass bumpers replaced the original, heavy chromed units. The body was sprayed in PPG black paint and the Demon side stripes were painted in a ghost effect in House of Kolor Platinum Sparkle Pearl paint. For power, the 340 was bored .060-inch over and treated to iron Mopar Swirl-port heads, KB pistons, Comp roller rockers, and a .237/.242 cam with .547/.555 lift. Sitting atop the small-block is an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap intake manifold, port-matched to the cylinder heads and fueled by a Demon 750 carb. Behind the engine rests an A-833 four-speed manual. Marc says that a 340-based 416 is still under construction.
On the street, the ride was the best in the group. It had a modern suspension feel, yet still retained the simplicity that we've come to appreciate with these cars. Inside, the custom upholstery was made by Henry of The Upholsters, in Riverside, California, with race-inspired front seats and a rear seat delete. In the trunk, a custom toolbox was painted just like the exterior of the car and houses a spare tire that will clear the large Viper brakes. The trunk also houses the 20-gallon fuel cell, floor jack, and an Optima battery.