Parked Since ’88: 1971 Dodge Demon

The Dodge Demon was essentially a Plymouth Duster with different badging. From the cowl forward, the Demon had Dart sheet metal just as the Duster had Valiant parts. The Demon hit the market a year after the Duster and sold nearly 80,000 copies, of which 10,000 had the 340 small block V-8. The seller’s 1971 Demon is a basic model, with a Slant-Six and manual transmission. He’s throwing in a 340 so you can create your own Demon tribute. Spokane, Washington is where the car can be found, as well as here on craigslist for $8,000 for the whole she-bang. Our appreciation to David Raezer for bringing this tip our way!

The Dodge Demon was a decent success, although it was generally outsold by its Plymouth counterpart. The car would be marketed under that name for two years before it was changed to Dart Sport (kind of a letdown, huh?). The story goes that Dodge got a ton of flack from religious sectors over the moniker “Demon”, so Dodge apparently caved in and made the name change. The less thrilling Dart Sport would carry on until 1976 when the Dart series was retired. The Duster named didn’t seem to offend anyone, so no change was made there.

This 1971 Demon was purchased from the original owner who had parked it in 1988 for reasons unknown. We’re guessing it didn’t relax in an enclosed structure that Mother Nature couldn’t penetrate. That being said, the body of the car doesn’t look too bad, with rust noted in the trunk and probably the front floorboards, as well as surface rust on all the sun-facing surfaces. The front bumper is warped, and the headlights are as dull as any I’ve seen, but the glass looks good.

We only get one thumb-blocked photo of the interior and things look no more encouraging there. The front seat cover is torn, the dash pad cracked and the front carpet missing. Back in those days, a lot of the interior surfaces were metal and painted, so those areas will need to be resprayed as well. The blue Demon comes with its original build sheet which should confirm a car with few options. Like the 225 motor with a floor-shifted 3-speed manual.

We’re guessing the seller at one time wanted to convert this to a V-8 because a date-correct 340 comes with the deal. The seller says it’s “ready to build” so we don’t know if he means the engine itself will need some assembly or that it’s simply ready to go into the car. But simply swapping motors isn’t enough. You’d want to consider what else is needed, from upgraded suspension parts to brakes and the rear end.

If this car was restored but retained its original drivetrain set-up, it would probably be worth in the mid-teens. If it was a 340 model, you might be able to double that number. But this is s rough car to begin that journey with either way. Does the asking price leave enough room to make either option happen on an affordable basis? That would have to a pretty righteous 340 for it to make any sense to me.

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  1. Moparman Member

    Hmmm; Items needed to convert: V-8 K-frame, torsion bars, radiator, rear end; no info on status of supplied 340 engine. I’d say this one is a tad bit overpriced in my book.

    Like 12
  2. Ray L.

    My brother had a 71 Demon with a 225/3 speed. That car was a blast to drive, why change it? Nothing like the sound of a well running 225. Add in a standard 3.23 rear end and it makes sweet music. The only thing missing here is maybe a set of bucket seats and some nicer wheel covers. A 340 is going to get you in trouble. You know, the cops are not as nearly as forgiving as they were when I was young. Add in the incentive to fill the local coffers (read-make them able to get paid more) and the chance of a very large “for yours and the publics safety” fine goes way up.

    Like 7
    • JoeNYWF64

      I got plenty of tickets in the old days for loud exhaust, loud radio & my stereo didn’t even have a subwoofer! – $150 fine in 1990(==$300 today! & i spent a whole day in court!), too wide tires sticking out beyond the fenders, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, etc. When was the last time you saw anyone get a ticket for any of those these days?
      I want my money & day back! lol

      Like 9
      • Ray L.

        By 1990, I was pretty old already. Subtract 25 years and then you have an idea. Yes, even in my day, noise was considered a far bigger problem than say, going 100 MPH down a country road (as long as there was no one else around to hurt but yourself)

        Like 2
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I think that all the loud exhaust vehicles (motorcycles, both diesel and gas pickups, etc), have turned the authorities “deaf” to it. I haven’t heard anyone personally getting a loud exhaust ticket in years.

        Like 3
      • Ray L.

        @PRA4SNW; yes the noise has gotten out of hand. The motorcycles alone are too much. Not so bad the cars, but a few trucks are not legal around here. About 20 years ago I noticed cycles having much too loud of pipes, it seems that is when they stop enforcing the laws.

        Like 3
  3. Arby

    What’s with the air in Spokane?
    I’d hate to be breathing what hit the surface of that car…

    Like 2
    • Ray L.

      No, my guess is that someone scuffed up the paint to do a repaint a long time ago and never got around to doing it. Hence, all the purty rust. Of course, I could be wrong, I am wrong a lot.

      Like 4
      • bone

        Thats just worn out old paint – now called PATINA !

        Like 2
    • Thomas White

      Eastern WA,(I’m originally from Spokane/ now in S CA) is a mixed climate area.It gets Alot of Rain, snow/hail, and High desert type tempuratures to.Its varied micro clomates,can bring combinations of these on any given day- rain in one area of town, go five to ten mi. Out and it’s clear sunny ,go out in different dirrection from there ,sleet/hail etc.All around Spokane can be a mixed bag of weather all year round.. so the excessive surface rust on this car – to me is not uncommon if left outside un covered for long term period.

      Like 2
    • MoPar Mike

      This and some other Chrysler colors of this era like Plum Crazy were prone to flaking off after only a few years of exposure to the elements.

  4. Johnny

    The ONLY RARE thing I can see about this car is the $8,000. Add the price he is asking and everything –including postage to fix this and I,m sure it will probably hit around $20,000. Why ? When you can look around and find one in alot better shape for $1,500 -$3,000. The guy is useing the word RARE to raise the price and someone wants it bad.

    Like 4
  5. Troy s

    Yeah, 8000 dollars is a lot of money for a used 340 engine.

    Like 1

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