Many of us will go through our lives and own at least one pretty cool car. I’m sure we can all say there’s one out there that we let get away, not realizing how much the car truly meant to us.
For Ed Carson, a 59-year-old beet and cattle farmer, this story may go just a little differently. He’s owned his share of cool cars but held on to the one that meant the most to him—his ’72 Demon.
You see, Ed grew up on a farm in West Virginia. He was a solidified car nut well before he could drive, but that’s when the most creative years tend to come. He had fixated on Mopar products, particularly A-Bodies due to their size and high-kicked rear-fender styling. The essence of muscle car drips off of every line, particularly when there is a 340 under the hood.
The new white vinyl top makes the exterior paint combination pop.
Ed picked up his first A-Body, a Plymouth Duster, in 1970. The ’70 Duster provided him with his college transportation and, equally as important, good times on the weekend. After his higher education had been fulfilled, Ed returned home, this time with a need for a new flavor of speed. He began looking at the new and aggressive ’72 Demons sitting under the web of fluorescent lights in R.H. Rawlings and Sons showroom in Middleport, Ohio. The first mission was to sell the Duster.
Now just two years old, Dusters were still widely popular on the used car market, especially in his 340 four-speed trim. “The car sold the day after I posted it and that gave me $2,500 toward the Demon,” says Ed, who purchased the car for $3,705.55. The rest came from money he earned while working in college. This time he opted for a three-speed automatic in favor of the four-speed.
It’s hard to believe this interior is 38 years old!
However, it wasn’t all fun and games. His time behind the wheel was limited, thanks to his demanding job on the farm. He also couldn’t keep the car at the farm since it was surrounded by gravel road. And who would want to damage a brand-new paintjob? So he came up with a clever idea. “I got a garage in town for $10 a month, just so I could keep the car away from the dusty gravel road,” explains Ed. “I would ride in town and take the car out for a drive, never in the rain or snow.” This allowed Ed to enjoy the car without pummeling his fenders with gravel.
Allowing the car to sit took its toll. As Ed explains: “There was a time when the car sat for approximately 10 years. It just sat in storage without being driven, so by the time I tried to start it, the motor was toast.”
Thankfully, Dick and Bud Myers stepped in to help Ed build a 340 from a ’69 block so that the original motor could be yanked out and put in storage. “They spent several hours building the replacement engine and also checked the brakes, installed the transmission with a stall converter, and re-cored the radiator, bringing the Demon back to life.”
Once the car was in tip-top shape, Ed could look back and appreciate that the sitting also did a great job in preserving it. Because of this, the car has never been restored and is as original as the day he bought it. A new vinyl top and some touch-ups to the paintwork were performed by Jackie Stapleton of Mercerville, Ohio, which brought the car to show-winning quality—even at 31,000 miles.
The Crager S/S wheels offer classic style and are wrapped in modern, radial rubber.
Ed’s wife Rhonda shares his passion for Mopars. She drives her own ’72 Demon drag car and competed at the 2010 Mopar Nationals. “Until I met my wife, she had never driven a drag car or even attended a car show,” he says. “But here we are, some five or so years later, and she’s still addicted as ever. It’s much easier to spend money on the cars when your best pal and wife is the driver.”
A match made in heaven, so to speak. Ed can sit back and smile—38 years later he’s still driving his ’72 Demon, and he has someone great to share it with.
’72 Dodge Demon
Owned by: Ed Carson
West Columbia, West Virginia
- Engine: Ed checked off “340” on the buildsheet. After several years of diligent service, the original motor was retired and put in storage. Ed and his friends Dick and Bud Myers built a 340 out of a ’69 block. The new engine was decked .010-inch, bored .030-inch over, and brass freeze plugs were installed. Inside we find a stock crank and rods attached to Keith Black pistons, bringing compression to 10.5:1. A Crane hydraulic cam was installed with an advertised duration of 304-degrees and .456 lift. Sitting on top of the engine is an Edelbrock intake manifold with a Holley 750 carburetor. The ignition system was also revamped with a Super Stock coil and plug wires commanded by a Mancini electronic ignition.
- Transmission: The factory 727 was freshened up before it was placed back in the car with an 11-inch Mancini Racing torque converter.
- Rearend: A stock 8-3/4 rearend with 3.91 gears and Sure Grip differential.
- Suspension: Ed installed a set of Lakewood traction bars with Mancini Racing Super Stock springs and air shocks on all corners.
- Brakes: Factory front discs and rear drums.
- Wheels/Tires: The classic Crager S/S wheels wrapped in 275/60ZR15 Dayton Radial S/R tires.
- Paint/Body: The Dark Tan Poly paint is original to the car, save for a few tweaks and touch-ups over the years by Jack Stapleton and then Charlie Kearns. A new vinyl top was installed as well.
- Interior: All-original white vinyl interior.