The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has had one of the strangest releases in recent memory. For the past four months, Dodge has been releasing weekly teaser videos. Four months. Eventually many began to tune out, preferring to wait until the actual release instead of checking weekly to get a hint at the engineering behind this monster of a car.
Finally, the reveal was upon us. Dodge told everyone to tune in at 7:30 PM eastern on a Tuesday night for a live reveal to put an end to the endless tease. It is a good thing this car is so beastly, because the reveal was a joke.
A few minutes into the reveal and it was clear that they were going to drag out this announcement almost as long as their teaser videos. Their hype-man host tried to pump up the crowd, check in with the “viewing parties” in other cities, introduce even MORE teaser videos and interview FCA executives for a full 45 minutes before anyone would ever get a glimpse of the car they were here to see.
Some “highlights” from this dragged out production:
- A painful skit where the host interviewed the Dodge brothers who were interrupted from an arm wrestling match before acting befuddled by that new-fangled contraption called a camera.
- After building up the Demon, the host announces that they are about to watch the world release of a film called… The Last Viper. A two and a half minute ad for a car that is going off the market.
- The bait-and-switch didn’t go over very well, and the host didn’t seem to realize why a room full of Dodge fans wasn’t super-stoked about the death of one of their favorite cars. So they ran it back. The exact same two and a half minute ad, ran twice. Back-to-back.
- Wiz Khalifa inexplicably showed up. Because surely those in attendance knew who he was. He was given the keys to a Hellcat, which was the first time he didn’t appear bored or… something… out of his mind.
- Tim Kuniskis stated at least a half-dozen times how brave Dodge was to build this car. He even un-ironically said that his goal was to “Make the suits nervous” while his title of “Head of Passenger Car Brands” was on screen.
After 45 minutes of teasers, cringe-worthy PR-speak and countdowns to nothing, the Demon was finally revealed. And that is when the release finally got good.
A few new details were released, each one of them more impressive than the last. But the real bomb was this tidbit: The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was banned from racing by the NHRA.
Jalopnik reports that the ban is because, as a sub 10 second car, the Demon requires an aftermarket roll cage and special competition license to compete in sanctioned events. While this “banned for being too fast” line is great for street cred, it is ironic. The car that is solely focused on living its life 1/4 mile at a time, whose claim to fame is the fastest ever production car on a drag strip can’t compete in stock form.
It is great that the NHRA will force Demon owners to take their safety a little more seriously on the track. However, it is kind of scary that something like this will be prowling our streets and leaving our cars and coffees because it literally has nowhere else to go.