Not all the memorable Dodges of the late ’60s and early ’70s were rip-snorting muscle cars. The 1971-72 Dart Demon (1971 model shown here) may have been mild-mannered, but it was a highly popular car of the era that owners still recall fondly today.
The Demon was essentially a standard Dart sedan but in a sporty two-door coupe version, employing fastback sheetmetal that was shared with its Chrysler stablemate, the Plymouth Duster. With its base engine, a 198-cubic-inch Slant Six, the Demon was no threat at the drag strip, but it was peppy and fun to drive with either the standard three-speed manual transmission or the optional Torqueflite automatic. And thanks to the Slant Six’s legendary economy and dependability, operating costs were minimal—which made the Demon a big hit with students and commuters.
Buyers could also choose from a larger 225-cubic-inch six, a 318-cubic-inch V8, or even a 340-cubic-inch V8 with a four-barrel carb that produced 275 hp. With the 340 V8, the humble Demon was transformed into a mini-musclecar that gave the big-block performance cars a real run for their money. But naturally, the majority of Demon owners opted for the more economical Slant Six models.
The key to the Demon’s popularity: this Dodge model was practical and affordable but didn’t scrimp on style. Buyers could individualize their Demons with their choice of 18 bold exterior colors and stylish, all-vinyl interiors in tan, dark blue, or black. Since Chrysler was an early adopter of the music format, the Demon was among the first American cars available with a factory cassette player.
So no, the Demon wasn’t exactly flashy, but it was cute, economical, and enjoyable to own and drive—the perfect first car for students and young families. And that’s the stuff memories are made of. Ask a former owner about their Demon, and you’ll probably generate a great big smile.