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The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 Is The Ultimate Stoplight Sprint Machine

With 1,025 horsepower on tap, this is a monstrous last hurrah for the muscle car as Dodge knows it.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |

Picture this; you’re driving along in your sports car and pull up to the light next to someone in a typical modern muscle car, a Dodge Challenger for the sake of the story. You look over, lock eyes with the other driver and both of you immediately know what’s about to happen. You look up, focus on the light going green, and as soon as it does, you let loose all the horsepower you have available. The nose gets lighter and the rear wheels are scrambling for grip but eventually, they hook up and you launch yourself towards the horizon in an addictive mix of noise and exhaust fumes. You look over to the side… and see nothing there! Am I ahead? Did I beat him? Well, no. In fact, you lost big time as the other guy is already miles ahead. And the question rises in your brain; what the hell just happened?

Well, the simple answer is you brought a potato peeler to a knife fight, and the other guy brought a bazooka. As in this scenario, you just encountered the very real and very much road legal 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. This monstrous ode to outright speed in a straight line is Dodge’s ultimate, and quite possibly last-ever muscle car with a conventional internal combustion engine. And the word conventional is to be taken very lightly, as there’s not much conventional about the supercharged 6.2 litres V8 that produces no less than 1,025 horsepower!

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This car makes no practical sense, as it is just too much in every way imaginable. No one on earth needs a +1,000hp speed machine, really so why does this car exist at all? Well, for a number of reasons, the fact being it’s even possible to build it being the primary one. And to be honest, there’s always something cool about brash American muscle cars, isn’t there?

The Challenger’s history started in 1969 and is regarded as one of the best and most important muscle cars ever produced. It was a rather late answer to the Ford Mustang, introduced in 1964, but quickly became one of the most popular muscle cars thanks to a wide range of available engines and a very long list of options. You could basically spec your Challenger however you wanted. The 426 cubic inch or 7.0-litre Hemi V8 was the most powerful engine available, which produced 425 horsepower. This came in the form of the Challenger R/T, which was available as a 2-door coupe and as a convertible.

The second-generation Challenger is something to be quickly forgotten, as this was introduced in the oil-crisis years of the 1970s. It was nothing more than a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Lambda Coupe, something the Americans had a bit of a habit of back then. After 1984 production stopped and it wasn’t until 2008 the Challenger made a return as a proper muscle car again, with the SRT Demon 170 being the ultimate powerhouse! This power craze by Dodge started with the ‘regular’ Challenger SRT8, which packed a 6.1-litre V8 with 425 horsepower. This was essentially a continuation of where the Challenger left us in the early 1970s. The SRT8 topped the range for a number of years and gradually grew in power, with several limited edition spin-offs and even a lightened Challenger Drag Race Package being introduced.

In 2015 the Challenger SRT Hellcat would be introduced, which carried a supercharged 6.2-litre Hemi V8 with an incredible 707 horsepower! This engine would also find its way into other cars such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and the Dodge Charger Hellcat. With this engine, and accompanying performance parts, the Challenger SRT Hellcat can hit 100kph in under 4 seconds and push on to a top speed of 320kph.

The Demon moniker wasn’t introduced until 2018 and came in the form of a drag-focused wide-bodied limited edition with extreme levels of performance. The newly built engine had the same displacement as the regular Hellcat but with a much bigger supercharger and numerous other high-performance components. The power grew to 808 horsepower, and you had the option to fit special drag wheels and take out the driver’s seat to boost off-the-line performance even further. It cut the zero-to-100kph time down to 2.3 seconds and if done right, it could even lift its front wheels off the ground!

The final chapter, for what it seems like at the time of writing this, is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. This should be considered the farewell edition of the performance muscle car with an internal combustion engine, as Dodge says the next one will be electrified. It’s a sad ending for what is one of the greatest sub-genres in car culture. But boy, does Dodge send off the Challenger as we know it with a serious bang!

As said, the engine up front is still a 6.2-litre Hemi V8, fitted with a supercharger but it is completely built from the ground up. Everything is done with one goal in mind; making this the ultimate road-legal drag machine! The engine produces an insane 1,025 horsepower and 1,280nm of torque thanks to a long list of new high-performance parts. The supercharger is bigger, pumping even more air into the engine for a much bigger bang. It has a unique suspension system engineered to get you off the line as quickly as possible. It also comes with a line lock system, allowing for rolling or standing burnouts by independently holding the front breaks. Naturally, it comes with a full roll cage and just a single seat.

There’s a ton of other specialist tech involved, which is explained by Dodge’s CEO Tim Kuniskis in a recent episode of Jay Leno’s Garage;

Front to back, everything is done to make the Challenger SRT Demon 170 as fast as possible down the quarter mile. And the best part is, it can do it over and over and over again. Dodge tested it in several runs during the special launch event to prove it was not just a one-trick pony but a reliable drag monster, with a license plate! And every single pass resulted in the same performance figures: 0-to-60mph (~100kph) in 1.66 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 8.91 seconds. That is ridiculously fast!

All this can be yours, depending on where you live and how loose your road regulations are, for under USD 100,000 before taxes! Ok, if you live in Europe or in any other country outside the US you likely aren’t allowed to fit the special Mickey Thompson drag tires and you would have to pay a stupid amount of emissions taxes, but still. The fact this thing can exist and be driven on the road is unbelievable!

Editorial NoteThe images in this article are used with permission and provided by the Stellantis Group, the corporation that Dodge is part of.

3 responses

  1. While the original Challenger was introduced for the 1970 model year and ended with 1974 model, it was not Dodges answer to the mustang. The Plymouth Barracuda was actually the mustang competitor and it was launched several months before the ‘stang.
    The 426 hemi, in street form, actually produced about 500 (gross) hp. ( I would know as I own a bone stock, mechanical cam 1968 426 hemi charger. )
    As for the Challenger Hellcat, my 2015 puts 689 hp to the wheels !
    Yes, bone stock, 94 octane.

  2. A typical American car: lots of displacement, primitive technology, lousy quality and a design that appeals to a somewhat questionable target group. Something like this doesn’t fit into this century at all. Sorry …

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