Vintage Road Test: 1971 Dodge Demon 340 – Road Test Magazine Takes A Real Devil For A Spin

 

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In spite of the fiendish (and controversial) name, most Dodge Demons were quite benign machines, as epitomized by this “little old lady from Pasadena” survivor, likely fitted with one of the smaller engines.  However, buyers seeking a sensible seventies muscle car could create a real demon of a machine, like the one evaluated by Road Test Magazine in the April 1971 issue.

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RT0471Demon340P6For high performance on a budget, this Demon fit the bill nicely.  In reality, however, few 340s were sold.  The market had moved on, and buyers were placing a greater premium on economy.  The cost differences were striking when you added it all up.  So for those readers interested in a deep dive on 1971 Demon prices, have a look at the list below from the 1971 American Car Prices Guide.

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Road Test summarized much of what was on their Demon 340 test car, but in the specs they showcased the “cost per pound” of a hypothetic car, equipped with “desirable” options—the resulting $3,396 price was artificially low, especially for the way the test car was optioned.  In reality, that particular Demon would likely have priced out at retail as follows:

 

Dodge Demon 340 Coupe $2,721
·      Body side stripes $25.50
·      Rear deck panel stripe $12.75
·      Bucket seat, vinyl $89.65
·      Torqueflite automatic, Demon 340 $214.40
·      E70 x 14 Raised White Letter tires $43.40
·      Light Group $27.65
·      Interior Décor Group $13.85
·      Battery, 59 amp $13.60
·      Brakes, power $42.30
·      Bumper guards, front and rear $24.95
·      Carpets $18.00
·      Cigar lighter $4.00
·      Console $52.55
·      Tinted glass $33.60
·      Horns, dual $5.10
·      Mirror, inside day/night $7.05
·      Dual racing type mirrors, left remote $25.75
·      Moulding Group $7.45
·      Pedal dress up $5.35
·      Power steering $99.80
·      Radio, AM with stereo cassette $210.95
·      Tuff steering wheel $28.85
·      Undercoating and hood insulator pad $20.80
·      Wheels, Rallye $46.80
·      Windshield wipers variable speed $10.60
·      High performance axle group $61.40
·      Hood scoops $44.45
·      Hood tie down pins $15.20
·      Tachometer $49.45
Total $3,976.20

 

Adjusted for inflation, that works out the $23,379 today.  Not bad for a mini muscle car, right?  But not so good for a product that was conceived as an economy 2-door.

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Let’s contrast that total with the likely retail cost of the “plain Jane” Demon Ed Stembridge shared last week.  I’m going to assume the car had the basic 318 V8, as that engine was technically “standard” on the Demon, while the 225 Slant Six was listed as a credit option.

 

Dodge Demon Coupe $2,467.00
·      Vinyl body side molding $30.95
·      Deluxe cloth and vinyl bench seat $12.75
·      Torqueflite automatic, V8 $190.60
·      D78 x 14 WSW bias belted tires $70.25
·      Light Group $27.65
·      Air conditioning $384.00
·      Axle ratio, 3.23 $13.65
·      Brakes, power $42.30
·      Carpets $18.00
·      Cigar lighter $4.00
·      Tinted glass $33.60
·      Horns, dual $5.10
·      Mirror, inside day/night $7.05
·      Pedals, dress up $5.35
·      Power Steering $99.80
·      Seat, air foam front $8.20
·      Radio, AM $64.10
·      Deluxe steering wheel $28.85
·      Wheels, Rallye $46.80
·      Windshield wipers variable speed $10.60
Total $3,570.60

 

Adjusted for inflation, this pretty-well-equipped Demon works out to be $20,994, even including air conditioning—a very desirable option and one that the Road Test Demon 340 lacked.  So I’d imagine most compact segment buyers in the early 1970s would have gone for the A/C and saved the $406 ($2,385 adjusted) compared to the Demon 340.  Or bought an even cheaper little devil with no air conditioning.  After all, a little extra heat never hurt a Demon…