Can you believe this little...
Can you believe this little guy got people in such a tizzy? Apparently, the cartoon devil was deemed offensive and was cancelled shortly after its introduction.
From the outside, nobody would...
From the outside, nobody would know the 340 that is supposed to be here has been replaced with a Mopar Performance 360 small-block. a Comp Cams hydraulic bumpstick and 10:1 compression pistons make this little A-Body get up and go. The tti headers and full stainless exhaust spill out the fumes, while the tall single-plane M1 intake and Holley carburetor feed the hungry plant.
Factory available performance...
Factory available performance options, such as the dual hoodscoops normally found on the big-block-powered elder siblings, made the Demons and Dusters a huge draw. Making big power out of small-block engines in lightweight cars was the trick around heavy-handed federal regulations and DOT taxes.
Plymouth was in a tough spot in 1970. Their Valiant-based line of A-Bodies was without a sporty coupe, as the performance-bred Barracuda had jumped platforms to the new E-Body ponycar line. Without the youth appeal of a sporty vehicle to compete directly with the venerable Chevrolet Nova, Plymouth scurried to introduce the all-new Duster. Small, nimble, and sharing the same underpinnings as the previous A-Body models, the Duster and its bug-eyed Tornado cartoon character became the newest darling of the Plymouth performance line. Still, with only a 108-inch wheelbase, the Duster featured flashy packaging, the familiar Valiant grille, and a long, swooping rear C-pillar that would predate the B-Body redesign the following year. In fact, most of the Duster would consist of carryovers from the Valiant model since the development of the Duster was a clandestine operation. Plymouth snuck the Duster model underneath corporate's noses, taking a $15 million gamble. Their bet paid off in spades; the Duster's sales shot far above the more angular and austere Dart.
Knowing their sibling had bested them, Dodge opted for a similar A-Body model the next production year-the Duster-inspired Demon. Just as the Duster shared most of its components with the Valiant, the Demon drew inspiration from the Dart line-front clip, cowl, front and rear bumpers, quarter-panel inserts, and other interior accents. But the Demon was doomed from the beginning. Duster sales barely squirmed when the Demon hit showroom floors, and advocates for the religious right began to lament that Dodge's cherubic devil with his pitchfork was "sacrilegious" and "highly offensive." Internal politics within Chrysler made the environment dicey as well. Dodge felt burned by Plymouth's Machiavellian plotting and demanded not only that Plymouth share the Duster designs but also introduce a vehicle based upon the Dart Swinger. Plymouth begrudgingly agreed and introduced the Scamp.
The Demon moniker would only last two years: 1971 and 1972, when the coupe would be retagged the Dart Sport. But the Demon with its particular flair and style, along with its performance packages, made for an appealing, albeit controversial, muscle machine.
Karns City, Pennsylvania's Greg Thorhauer is a man of very few words, letting his Demon do the talking. The '93 Viper Red A-Body was at the '06 Chryslers at Carlisle show, and caused Mopar Muscle's photographer-for-hire, Jerry Heasley, to take a second glance. Greg's wife Shannon tells the tale of how the Demon became a regular fixture at their home. "The [Demon] was originally owned by a gentleman serving in the Navy. While he was driving to his base in Norfolk, Virginia, in the Demon, he stopped by our neighbor's house to look at a '68 Dodge Charger that was for sale. [Greg] approached him and asked if his Demon was for sale. His reply was, 'Everything is for sale.' [Greg] attempted to make a deal with him right then, but he was on his way back to the base."
Looking a lot cleaner than...
Looking a lot cleaner than the A-Body used in the "That thing got a Hemi?" ad campaign, Greg Thorhauer's Demon shows us its most viewed angle. The Demons and Dusters featured a characteristic lifted rear suspension that became indicative of the Mopars' look.
The following week the sailor returned and the title to the Demon was signed over. It wasn't straight or even red-the first on Greg's lists of to-dos. It took less than seven days for Greg to start thrashing on the Demon. brothers Van (Tony) and Jim Claypoole offered to help out their friend by providing both a place to store the A-Body and Tony's skills at body straightening and paint.
Over the next seven years, the Demon would slowly come into its own. It was smoothed, straightened, sanded, and finally painted in PPG base/clear '93 Dodge Viper Red at Tony's shop in Butler, Pennsylvania. Greg chose to keep the Demon as stock appearing as possible (aside from certain cues, including the modern paint hue and powertrain upgrades). The side and hood stripes, rear fascia blackout, hoodscoops, and decals all come from Year One Restorations, along with the interior replacement materials including new black carpet, headliner, and seat covers. The door panels, seats, radio, and speakers all remain the same as if coming from the factory assembly line in late 1970. The original Tuff Wheel still shines and looks great.
Greg did splurge when it came time for the powertrain. He and Shannon wanted to drive their Demon and wanted it to be reliable, so a Mopar Performance 360ci crate engine was purchased. The block came with 10:1 pistons and a Competition Cams hydraulic camshaft. The crate was topped with an M1 Mopar intake manifold and a Holley double-pumper carburetor, along with Mopar electronics to throw the fire. A pair of gorgeous tti headers flow the spent gasses through Flowmaster mufflers and out 211/42-inch stainless pipes. TCI answered the call and sent Greg a bulletproof 727 automatic with a Turbo Action 10-inch 2,800-stall converter. The big 4.10 gears bolted to the Sure Grip spin the Rallye rims, hazing the BFGs into inky blue clouds. the brakes, suspension, and rest of the taut little Dodge remain stock.
The Demon hasn't seen any times through the traps at the local track, but going from stoplight to stoplight, the Demon can sure hold its own against any contender. Under the hood the Demon looks unpresuming, but when Greg gets on it, it's a totally different story.
Fast Facts: '71 Dodge Demon
Greg and Shannon Thorhauer • Karns City, PA
Engine: The original plant had been tagged and bagged long ago, and replaced with a Mopar Performance crate 360. Packed with 10:1 compression pistons and a Comp Cams hydraulic camshaft, the all-iron lung gives it all it's got, sucking in through an M1 single-plane Mopar intake and a Holley double-pumper carburetor. Pristine tti headers glisten under the sun and plumb fumes through dual Flowmaster mufflers and out through 211/42-inch stainless pipes.
Transmission: The 727 is new and was purchased from TCI transmissions. The TorqueFlite features a 10-inch, 2,800 Turbo Action stall converter and a tight shift kit, making it snap the gears with razor precision.
Rearend: Greg chose to leave it be, with the Chrysler 831/44 doing nicely. The 4.10 gears mated to a Sure Grip plants the power to the pavement via stock axles.
Horsepower & Performance: It hasn't been track or dyno tested, but it serves as a fun cruiser and street bruiser, so does it matter?
Suspension: Except for new bushings, it's all the same. KYB shocks replaced the worn-out units. The torsion bars and leaves were in good condition, so they also were left alone.
Brakes: Drums at all four corners, because why mess with something when it works just fine.
Wheels: With 14-inch Rallyes up front and 15s in the back, it's a little hot rod, but still looks cool.
Rubber: BFGoodrich 225/70R14s at the nose and 275/60R15s at the tail.
Body: The Demon was stored at the Claypoole's Butler, Pennsylvania, shop, where Tony Claypoole put his metalworking skills to work, straightening the A-Body over the 7-year restoration process. No replacement or fiberglass panels were required, so the Demon is still the same car it left the factory as.
Paint: Tony and Greg opted to go with a slight variation on the original look by using PPG '93 Viper Red. With factory-style blackouts on the hood and rear valance, along with the side stripes, many wouldn't be the wiser if we hadn't just told the whole world.
Interior: Once again, the stock-appearing theme is carried out. The radio, dash board, gauges, door panels, and seats are all original. the seat covers, carpet, and headliner were replacements from Year One.