A viper with significantly less venom that went extinct almost immediately.
Name: Dodge Demon
Debuted: 2007 Geneva Motor Show
Specs: naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet (224 Newton-meters) of torque, rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual gearbox, 1,179 kilograms (2,600 pounds) weight
Why We Remember It Now:
A decade later, very few things we would change in terms of the exterior styling. The idea of a MX-5 fighter from Dodge is not half bad either.
It was in the early 1970s when Dodge used the awesome “Demon” moniker for the first time on a version of the Dart and it wasn’t until 2007 when the nameplate was brought back to life. Envisioned as a sub-Viper sports car, the roadster concept came out during the last days of the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler era, so bad timing played an important role as to why it never made the cut.
Introduced on European land at the Geneva show, the Demon actually had a chance to hit the assembly line as Dodge wanted to have a Mazda MX-5 fighter of its own. The concept was fully functional and some were given the opportunity to take the lightweight droptop for a quick spin to show it was more than just a pretty face to put on display at auto shows.
With a peppy 2.4-liter engine mounted at the front channeling 172 hp to the rear wheels, the Demon concept was a nimble sports car with good performance numbers: 7.1 seconds for the 0-60 mph (0-96 kph) run and a top speed of 130 mph (210 kph).
So, we’ve established that Dodge wanted to do it, but there was a matter of forking out the money to develop the Demon as a production model. That day never came, despite multiple efforts made to turn the concept into a road-going car. The efforts we are talking about included a partnership between Dodge and China’s Chery inked early 2008 to work on a front-wheel-drive platform that was supposed to be used by a Chery-badged five-door hatchback as well as by Dodge’s roadster. But since the hatch never saw the light of day, neither did the sub-Viper machine.
Fast forward to 2010, rumors surfaced about a RWD Demon related to what was supposed to be the Alfa Romeo Spider, but sadly that plan went bust as well. Dodge now has a “Demon” in its portfolio, a ludicrously impressive Challenger SRT with a monstrous 840 horsepower, so at least the name was put to good use.