Best Muscle Cars

The Challenger Demon

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By Mark Weisseg

By now everyone has heard about the Challenger Demon. At first glance the car looks like a killer machine. Second look and I have some thoughts. Why did Fiat put all this money and resources into this car? According to reports Fiat will only sell 3,000 in the United States and 300 in Canada. So, all you overseas buyers are out of luck for now.

Don’t misunderstand me please. I love the horsepower and torque. What I don’t like is that all this power is under a Challenger. I would have loved it to look like a Demon of old say,  1970 or so. But, Fiat made this monster to fit into a Challenger. I looked up what other cars Fiat is selling under the badge name and it’s limited. Chrysler 300. Sales are very soft. The Pacifica is a family vehicle which I guess is somewhat popular. The Dodge Charger. Oops, that is a four door that can be bought with a Hellcat engine. Then, we move into the third place among the American Trucks- The Ram. So, Fiat had no choice. It would have cost multi millions to design and build a real retro Demon so this Challenger is the answer. Now the Challenger started out of the gate with a big splash. People loved the retro look. When Fiat threw in that 707 hp engine named the Hellcat the Challenger sales took off.

Remember when you had to get on a waiting list? And, the always trustworthy and honest dealers for the most part jacked up the prices 10-20 grand on top of the sticker. Still, people lined up. When I first saw one I was at the local car show. I noticed a big group of people standing around a Challenger. So, I walked over and saw my first Hellcat engine. Gulp. I was impressed. However, I started seeing cracks in the love. The car was bulky, heavy, and was only fast in a straight line. Well, the straight line power I can love except replacing tires every other month from burnouts.

So, Fiat saw the Challenger was starting to sink and knew they had to do something. This is something. Would I want to buy one? Maybe. I thought about buying a Challenger two years ago with a Hellcat engine but bought a Mustang GT500 Shelby Cobra with 662 hp. The car sticks to the ground in cornering but we all know what happens when you leave a car show. Clunk.

I have already seen dealers taking names for the new Demon. They at this point don’t even know what it costs yet. But, people are lining up to get one. Is this the golden goose for Fiat? Not a chance. Limited numbers and lack of a new fresh design will limit this car. Had they ( Fiat) had the money they could have built a real retro Demon. But instead they are still looking for a merger or a dance partner to stay afloat. They have limited brands at this point and need a kick start. Did this kick start Fiat? Yes, for about a year maybe. Then everyone will smell the roses and realize very few of us regular people will ever own a Demon. As usual the folks with thick wallets will snap them up. Some will never drive them. Some will rarely drive them. And some will go out and smoke the rubber off in a week. It will be interesting to see how this car shakes out in five or ten years at a big auction.

The current Hellcats have already ready become ho hum at resale. I doubt this Demon will save Fiat. Friends, they are in heap big trouble and need resources. They have had too many flops in the last ten years and need a winner bad. The Ram and the Jeep still sell well. The 300 is turning into a fleet car or a rental car. The Pacifica seems to be a great family hauler but the market is flooded with these types. The Charger is still a four door and still is not very interesting. ( I had one). So, the Challenger is it I guess. The Scat Pack is cool, the Hellcat engines are  really cool,  but overall the Challenger is becoming old before it’s time. Let’s just wait and see what all the magazines write when they get there chance at testing one. I, like you will be waiting to read what is really going on. We will need to read about it as owning one seems very far fetched at this point. Ya think?

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