Moldy, Rat-Infested 1971 Dodge Demon Gets Satisfying First Wash In 25 Years..

For the majority of us, the Dodge Demon is the drag-prepared muscle vehicle that the manufacturer debuted in 2017. It is based on the Challenger.

The Demon was the quickest non-electric production car from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) and down the quarter-mile at the time of its release. It was powered by a supercharged, 6.2-liter V8 with 840 horsepower when running on 100-octane fuel.

All told, it’s not surprising that the beefed-up Challenger is the first car that comes to mind when talking about the “Demon” badge. But it’s not the only Dodge to sport this name. Back in 2007, the company showcased the Demon Concept, a small roadster that was supposed to slot under the Viper and compete with cars like the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, and the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

But Dodge built the first Demon a few good decades before that show car. Specifically, the name goes back to 1971, when Dodge used it on a version of the Dart compact. That year, Dodge released its own take on Plymouth’s then-popular Duster, which was a fastback version of the Valiant.

The company initially wanted to name it the Beaver, but Chrysler went with Demon when it learned that “beaver” was CB (Citizen Band radio) slang for a part of the female anatomy.

Essentially a Duster with a Dart front end, the Demon was advertised as a performance car and got a few sporty goodies, including hood scoops, a blacked-out hood, and devil character decals.

Engine options included both the base Slant-6 units and the 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) V8, but it was the Demon 340 that actually delivered performance comparable to the muscle cars of the era.

Fitted with a 340-cubic-inch (5.6-liter) V8 rated at 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet (461 Nm) of torque, the Demon 340 needed less than seven seconds to hit 60 mph (97 kph) from a standing start and covered the quarter-mile in under 15 clicks.

The 340 remained as the range-topping mill in 1972, but output dropped to 240 horses and 290 pound-feet (393 Nm) of twist. In 1972, the Demon was retired due to low sales.

The Dodge Dart was quite popular in 1971, selling almost 250,000 units. About 70,000 of them were ordered in Demon trim. The range-topping Demon 340, on the other hand, was less popular due to the higher sticker and the increasingly more expensive insurance rates for performance cars. As a result, Dodge sold less than 11,000 of them.

That’s still a relatively high number for a classic, but not so many of them made it into the 21st century. Because they didn’t get as much love as the Dodge Chargers, Challengers, and Coronets of the era, many Dart Demons ended up rotting away in junkyards or locked up in barns.

The 1971 Demon you see here is one of those cars. But while the previous owner parked it in a field and neglected it for 25 years, the fastback got a second chance at life when YouTube’s “514 Garage” decided to adopt it as a project car.

And as soon as he bought it, he went on to clean the 25-year worth of mold and dust that had taken over the car’s brown exterior. Yup, this Demon looked pretty bad after sitting for a quarter-century out in the open, but the pressure washer treatment revealed a solid body with only minor signs of rust.

The cabin and the engine bay both had loads of debris from rat and squirrel nests, so it wasn’t all good news, but this Dart is definitely worth restoring.

It’s unclear if the new owner wants to give it a full-blown restoration or a mild rebuild to make it road-worthy again, but it’s great to see a derelict Dart Demon getting the attention it deserves.

Until we can see the 318-powered Dart run again, watch it getting a proper cleaning in the video below.

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