Always having to do things your way is sometimes considered a selfish mentality as a whole. But, when it comes to building a car, there really is no other way. It's your car and you're free to do with it what you please. Over the years we have seen some absolutely stunning vehicles. Not necessarily all of these were stunning in a good way, but you get the picture. The most important part of each car was that the owner built it exactly how they wanted to. Sometimes it takes a little inspiration so that your idea flourishes. For Ron and Barbara Larson, the idea to build their '71 Demon came from the pages of Mopar Muscle.
Ron was sitting at home reading his August 2008 issue of Mopar Muscle when he came across Kenny Wayne Shepherd's custom '70 Duster. "I thought to myself, man, it's cool to see someone modify their A-Body like that," says Ron. He took ideas from Kenny's car and used them as the catalyst to his own project, a '71 Demon, which Ron was already working on.
The interior looked as though it had been used for garbage collection, and the exterior needed some rust and dent repair. "We paid the guy $1,500 and brought it home." Ron and Barbara then began to take the Slant-Six powered Dodge apart. Once the couple really tore into the car, a humorous discovery made them realize they may have gotten into a basket case. "The roof looked like it had been used for a trampoline and the inner fender was repaired using a Utah license plate," Ron jokes. Still, Ron's friend Rod Davis was ready for the challenge.
Rod went to work and rebuilt the inner fenders and fitted some custom homemade outers as well. He also welded in the frame connectors and smoothed out the roof and remaining bodywork. Once it was starting to shape up and look like a car again, Johnny Griffin, another good friend, donated a rear end from a Challenger, which had a Sure Grip and new bearings. Ron and Johnny then upgraded the brakes to discs from Master Power Brakes and replaced all the bushings with poly-graphite pieces.
Inside, the Demon is equally...
Inside, the Demon is equally as impressive as its handsome exterior. The custom interior was also stitched by Heavenly Bodies.
After a lot of the work was taken care of on their end, Ron heard about Heavenly Bodies in Cedar City, Utah. "I liked the idea that they could do all the interior, exterior, chrome, wheels, and trim straightening, and I was impressed with several cars they completed," he says.
Up to Cedar City the Demon went, and that's when he first saw Kenny Wayne's Duster. He liked the two-tone paint scheme that was used on Kenny's car and decided he wanted something like that on his. Ron decided to go with Plum Crazy on the bottom and Metallic Grey on the top. "Heavenly Bodies really captured the soul of the car and added a devil's tail stripe to separate the grey and purple," says Ron. "The emblems were hand brushed and so was the pinstriping around the devil's tail." With all the bodywork done, Heavenly Bodies then went to work on the interior where they drew from the exterior paint scheme and came up with something that really works.
Ron took the Demon home and finished the wiring with an Express kit from Ron Francis. He then finished the long block by installing an oil pan, intake, carburetor, ignition system, and cooling system. With a turn of the key the project was up and running. It wasn't done just yet, though. Ron still had a chance to drive it around and take it to a few shows. This isn't your run-of-the-mill A-Body; it has a devilish side.
'71 Dodge Demon
Owned by: Ron and Barbara Larson, Star, Idaho
Ron says the small-block has...
Ron says the small-block has enough power that "the back end tries to come around under 3/4 throttle!"
'71 Dodge Demon
Owned by: Ron and Barbara Larson
- Engine: A 365-inch small-block with Keith Black forged pistons, forged rods, and a stock crankshaft. It sports a Mopar Purple-Shaft cam with .472/.487-inch lift and 208/216-degrees duration. Air is drawn in through an Edelbrock Air Gap intake and what else? A Demon 750 carburetor. The mixture finds its way through the 2.02/1.65 valves actuated by Comp roller rockers inside the ported cast iron R/T heads.
- Exhaust: A pair of tti 1 5/8-inch headers with 3-inch collectors feed into 2 1/2-inch Magnaflow mufflers.
- Ignition: Mopar Chrome ECU, MSD Blaster 2 coil, and Taylor 8mm plug wires make up the ignition.
- Transmission: The column-shifted 727 was rebuilt by St. George Transmissions in St. George, Utah. It features a TransGo shift kit, and a TCI 3,000 stall converter.
- Rearend: An 8 3/4 with 3.23 gears and a Powerlock differential.
- Suspension: KYB gas shocks up front and Monroe Air shocks out back dampen the road imperfections. A 1-1/8-inch sway bar stabilizes the front, stock Dodge leaf springs control the rear, while poly graphite bushings all around replace the factory rubber pieces.
- Brakes: Front discs from Master Power Brakes and rear 11-inch drums.
- Wheels and Tires: 17x7-inch Coys C-5 wheels and Goodyear Eagle RSA tires measuring 215/60R17 up front and 235/60R17 out back.
- Paint and Body: Heavenly Bodies in Cedar City, Utah, repaired the heavily damaged body on Ron and Barbara's Demon. After seeing Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Duster in the pages of Mopar Muscle, Ron decided to go with a two-tone scheme that Heavenly Bodies took to a different level with the incorporation of the devil's tail in the stripes and custom hand striping.
- Interior: As a one-stop shop, they also completed the custom seats and interior work.