4-Speed Survivor Quality: 1971 Dodge Demon 340

In the wake of the enormous success Plymouth had with its new Duster fastback, Dodge clamored for and got their version of the car for 1971. Just as the Duster was a Valiant from the cowl forward, the Demon had a Dart front clip. And, like the Duster, it had a new body the rest of the way back. This Demon 340, the muscle version of the compact, is numbers matching and has received the royal treatment over the past few months. While not perfect, it’s in really good condition overall and can be found in Godley, Texas. The Dodge is available here on eBay where the first bid of $25,000 has yet to be cast.

In its first year on the market, 10,100 Demons 340s were built. The seller states that the number made with a 4-speed manual was only about 2,000, which sounds like an understatement. It would be hard to think that 80% of production had an automatic transmission. Perhaps the number includes limited items that would shrink the count, like the EV2 Hemi Orange paint it wears. Whether or not the finish is original, the seller rates it as nine out of ten, which means it presents well.

This car’s original engine was rebuilt about 500 miles ago, so the Demon should be in stellar running condition. We’re told the carburetor is not original and the ignition is now electronic. A new radiator was recently added to the mix along with tires and the exhaust system. Not yet addressed is a non-working clutch safety switch but the replacement part is being provided. There is no mention of any rust being on or in the car and the fact it has undercoating may account for that. The paint has recently been detailed.

Inside the passenger compartment, you’ll find new seat covers, carpeting, and a rebuilt dash. The factory AM radio doesn’t work and the headliner has wrinkles, but you can’t have it all, I suppose. One oddity in the Dodge is that it lacks seat belts, yet they were required by law since the 1960s. But it has its original shoulder harnesses, so go figure. This looks like a darn solid car overall and the only reason the seller is letting it go at 82,000 miles is that he would prefer an automatic transmission.

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    I’ll just have to override my wicked thoughts of bidding on this super bad vehicle, as I just don’t have the space!! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 5
  2. Gary

    80% autos? You forget three speeds. I saw many of those with 340s. 4 speed nicer, for sure, but a 3 by the knee was standard and maybe that made all the difference in a tight budget. Chrysler charged way too high a premium for the 4 speed. I truly doubt an extra gear cost that much more to produce, seems to me adjusted for inflation it would like a grand in todays money. Obviously what the market would bear, great for those nifty little corporate profits and the all too sweet perks of being an executive, but what if they offered the best combo at a cheap price and made up for it in volume? They would have ben legendary and created all sorts of brand loyalty.

    Like 10
    • Leslie Martin Member

      I agree that in theory adding another gear may not have cost Chrysler that much at the time. But the difference between the A230 (3 speed) and A833 (4 speed) was a lot more than just another cog. The A320 was a perfectly adequate box, and with it’s ratios a 340 A body car set up with a 3.91 rear end was a lethal combo. But there is a reason the A833 was what you usually found in any Hemi 4-speed car. To this day they are one of the most bullet proof 4 speed manuals ever built.

      Like 2
  3. Stan

    Got that right Gary. 3 by the knee nothin wrong with that.

    these 70s 340 stick cars were called
    ” twisters” up here in Canada i beleive

    Like 6
    • Gary

      Yes, 3 speeds were fine, but why not a standard 4 speed in a performance variant of the Dart? I recall in the late 70s when the Omni/Horizon were being planned, Chrysler bean counters wanted to make them a standard 3 speed and charge more for a 4 speed. This was at a time when many of the Japanese small cars were starting to have 5 speeds in them. Lee Iacocca threw a fit and twisted enough arms to get the four speed standard, and then had designers of that tranny leave enough wiggle room to make them 5 speeds in future versions of it. That took almost a decade down the road to get those. Ever wonder why American car companies of the day were behind the eight ball during those times? They put profits ahead of making the best product they could at a fair price and wait for the profits to roll in because of that. The Japanese understood the value of quality and brand loyalty, that is why they came from out of no where and got where they are today. The idea was, build it and they will come, not, build it and we hope they will come (but lets get those initial profits now, but that can back fire. Try the Aspen/Volare. Rushed into production, initial great sales, but when word got out how flawed they were, sales tumbled. Would have been better to wait a year or two, design a better car that was more reliable and at a good price. Might have had that car for years, not just 1976-1980) The big three are doing something similar with the huge SUVs and trucks that have given them great profits for a decade now, but with oil soon to reach $150-200/bl…things are going to get ugly. They should have offered a variety of cars to meet all needs, of all different kinds of people, that way they hedge their bets. But short term greed took a hold, and this time, they better not get my tax dollars to bail them out. Corporate culture today is wrong for so many reasons, but maybe the biggest problem is the temptation of top executives that get paid with stock options to meet certain stock prices. That encourages short term thinking, not the common sense long term approach that is needed in industry.

      Like 5
    • Gary

      Down here, I think Twisters were an appearance package to look like a 340 but with more common sense engines. All in all, a better car if you ask me. I had a 72 Dart, 225 3 sp. Wonderful, never needed more. But if a just a little more is what you wanted, a 318 3 speed would have been the sweet spot. A much better choice then a 340.

      Like 4
      • DON

        Unless you wanted a performance car …. A 340 car still can be driven around like a 318 ,but if someone wants to do a little racing you can open ‘er up !

        Like 5
      • Melton Mooney

        In my experience, 340s never disappoint.

        Like 6
    • Michael Berkemeier

      No, the “Twister” was just a graphics/trim package on a lo-po /6 or 318 car. They did not have 340’s in them, anywhere, ever.

      Like 4
    • MoPhil

      Twisters were a ‘performance’ graphics package on a slant six or 318 Plymouth Duster. The Dodge Demon had a similar package in 1971 called the Sizzler. Neither car was available with performance engines.

      Like 1
  4. Steve R

    Nice car, worth the money if it’s as advertised.

    Not sure what good whining about “corporate greed” does on a 50 year old car.

    Steve R

    Like 7
  5. Howard A Member

    Oh, how quickly we forget, nothing was said about the major hassle Chrysler encountered by naming this car “Demon”. Originally, it was supposed to be called “Beaver” ( I was surprised too) but settled on Demon,,for obvious reasons we won’t go into here. Pressure from religious groups,which had a lot more clout in the early 70’s, protested. Initially, Dodge refused to budge, but in ’73, the car was renamed the Dodge Dart Sport. I believe it was Scotty that brought that to light on a previous Demon post. This car was probably the cheapest, both in price and building quality, entry level to the muscle car culture. I read, the base Dart Demon sold for $2561, slant 6, and 3 speed, few coughed up the extra $200 bucks for the Demon package, a lot of money in ’72 when you were looking at Dodge Darts in the 1st place. That $200 bucks got you the deluxe model, 340, still all synchro 3 speed, 4 speed was extra, chrome exhaust tips, and some badging. The public didn’t go for it, apparently, and was dropped. Naturally, I think $25g’s is a bit optimistic, and no bidders may bolster that fact, watching Mecum KC last night, super clean 80’s and 90’s Corvettes, going for $7grand, I think would be a better choice than a Dodge Dart on steroids. Still a cool find.

    Like 4
    • DON

      Unless you wanted a performance car …. A 340 car still can be driven around like a 318 ,but if someone wants to do a little racing you can open ‘er up !

      Like 1
    • DON

      They didn’t sell as many Demons (not Dart Demon) because the Plymouth Duster was the same basic car for less money . The Duster outsold the Demon by a huge margin . Much like the Granada / Monarch – same basic car, but the cheaper one always sold better. And the Demon 340 wasn’t dropped, in 1973 it was the Dart Sport 340 , but again, the 73 Duster 340 outsold them ..

      Like 2
  6. Gary

    Yeah, they should have kept using critter names, but of course, PITA would eventually gripe about that too. I am a strongly devout man (believe it or not) and the name never bothered me. I have always felt that the religious people of the earth should spend their time going after true evil and injustice over simple easy targets like these. Of course, back then, like now, people paid more attention to headlines then a deeper analysis of any subject and were easily swayed. Thinking for yourself has never really been in style.

    Like 6
    • Michael Berkemeier

      I can’t see why anyone would’ve been upset about a mythical creature. There are no demons, devil, pitchfork, or place called “H@ll”…geez.

      • Dave

        Those folks living in the 48169 zip code area would disagree with you…

        Like 4
  7. Troy s

    Never as popular as the Plymouth 340 Duster, or Duster’s in general really, man those Duster’s were Everywhere for many years along with the Dodge Dart. Nice car up there and reminds me of one I could of bought in ’85 for….900 dollars !!! Asking was a whopping 1200 for the automatic equipped 340 Demon, actually in very good shape too. Those days have sailed by, huh.
    I think Dodge should have called it the Eliminator or maybe Magnum,, I’m sure some people would have got upset about those names too. I think the automatics were just fine for drag/street racing, stoplight action. Nice

    • Dave

      Dodge could have called the car the Ram, as a tribute to the Ramchargers racing team, since they weren’t associating the name with the truck line at the time.

      Like 1
  8. Grumpy

    I find it a little concerning when I see these 340’s with manual drum brakes.

    Like 3
  9. Buddy

    Bidding is now at $25,200…

    Like 1
  10. erik johnston

    I had many duster340 s but only 1 demon340 It had the 4spd. I didnt know they made so few of them.The comment about ,they called them twister I dont think that was a canadian thing. plymouth had the twister as well as the duster. The difference was twister was,for the most part a 340 duster with the 340 not offered. Reason being insurance co. did not like the 340 engine-to much power$ not sure.I currently i,m finishing a twister. I thought it was a 340 (no top end on it)After i got it out it was numbers matching 318. It also was a 3sd matching and a 83/4 rear, disc. brakes ,went down the track a few times. Demon was fun did the 1/4 around 15 sec i put a

    Like 2
  11. erik j

    I had many duster340 s but only 1 demon340 It had the 4spd. I didnt know they made so few of them.The comment about canada,they called them twister I dont think that was a canadian thing. plymouth had the twister as well as the duster. The difference was twister was,for the most part a 340 duster with the 340 not offered. Reason being insurance co. did not like the 340 engine-to much power$ not sure.I currently i,m finishing a twister. I thought it was a 340 (no top end on it)After i got it out it was numbers matching 318. It also was a 3sd matching and a 83/4 rear, disc. brakes ,went down the track a few times. Demon was fun did the 1/4 around 15 sec i put a

  12. DON

    They didn’t sell as many Demons (not Dart Demon) because the Plymouth Duster was the same basic car for less money . The Duster outsold the Demon by a huge margin . Much like the Granada / Monarch – same basic car, but the cheaper one always sold better. And the Demon 340 wasn’t dropped, in 1973 it was the Dart Sport 340 , but again, the 73 Duster 340 outsold them ..

  13. DON

    I was 10 when the Demon came out, and I remember thinking how cool it looked. I even cut ads out of magazines . The closest I came to owning one was in late 1979. It was a cream colored 1972 318 with a console auto. The cool thing was that it had the aftermarket black canvas accordion type folding sun roof ! The Dodge dealer wanted more than I could spend, and I ended up buying a 225 auto Duster from the local Plymouth dealer, and later, a 1973 Duster 340 which I still own today. . I never saw that Demon again, but since it was sold in CT. , I’m sure the harsh winters killed it.

  14. Keith D.

    Ah man! I remember when I was a teen back in the 80’s a friend of mine Louie had a 71 Demon 340 manual 3 speed. His car was a beauty, yellow with Crager mags. He worked at the nearby gas station as a mechanic and bought the car from another mechanic at the same station who coincidentally had another Demon that wasn’t as pretty as his yellow Demon. The yellow Demon was owned by the same guy and Louie bought the car from him. A lot of my friends and neighbors admired the car, I for one was not a sporty muscle car kinda guy back then (still am not) but I truly liked this car. For some reason when his day was ending he would park the car down the block at the station where he worked. He didn’t secure the car in anyway to protect it from thieves and ultimately the car was stolen where he normally parked it at night. Not a bright decision looking back in my opinion. A beautiful car in bright yellow stuck out like a sore thumb at the station where he couldn’t peak out his window just to make sure it was okay was a risk in itself. About a year or so later he bought a yellow Duster not nearly as nice as the Demon but I give him credit for trying. Too bad those religious groups put too much pressure on Chrysler and the Demon nameplate was gone after 72 and replaced with the “Dart Sport” nameplate. Nevertheless, I will never forget Louie’s yellow Dodge.
    I

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