AJ’s Car of the Day: 1971 Dodge Demon 340

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1971 Dodge Demon 340

Car: Dodge Demon 340

Year: 1971

What makes it special: Cars like the Charger, Challenger and Daytona all catapulted into fame as the Mopar muscle cars of the era, but not unnoticed was the unique Dodge Dart Demon 340. By 1971, the Dart lineup changed again, this time introducing the famed Dodge Dart Demon and Demon 340 to the mix. But the Demon series wasn’t just another Dart trim level. In 1971, Dodge received a version of the Plymouth Valiant-based Duster to increase interest in their A-body designs, which Dodge used as the new Dart.

What made it famous: Introduced in two levels, the Demon came with either a 198ci slant-six or a 340 cu in V8. The larger of the two engines went hand in hand with the Demon 340 moniker, complete with cartoon devil and trident decals on the car. The 340 engine featured a hot cam, hydraulic lifters, and a 10.5:1 compression ratio. In addition the 1971 Demon 340 was equipped with a synchronized floor-shifted 3-speed manual transmission, dual exhaust, all-wheel drum brakes, a Sure-Grip differential, and wide-tread bias belted E70X14 Goodyear Polyglas GT tires wrapped around 14-inch wheels. A special high-performance Rallye suspension was also standard equipment on the Demon 340, featuring heavy duty torsion bars and a stablizer bar in the front, as well as springs, oversized shock absorbers and anti-sway bar in the rear. 

Why I would want one: As a huge fan of the Plymouth Duster 340, I am also as big a fan of the Demon, although these are harder to find.

Fun fact: Originally, the newly acquired Valiant-based Duster was to be rebadged as the Beaver for Dodge’s line-up.  Although not intended as such (in fact, the historic reasoning behind the name was in correspondence with getting people to come in for a look at the car, as in “Come in for a Demon-stration”), the “Demon” name instantly hit a sore nerve with some groups, which immediately started pressuring Dodge to change the vehicle’s name. Dodge refused, of course, and continued on with their new Demon models. Today, for 2018, Dodge has re-introduced the Demon name for a high-performance Challenger based model.

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