Never Forget They Wanted The Dodge Demon Banned

Estimated read time 4 min read

It was about so much more than just a car.

Back in April 2017 industry stalwart Automotive News shocked enthusiasts when it published an op-ed calling for a ban of the Dodge Demon from public roads. Interestingly, the article had no byline, so one can assume it was signed off on by the editorial staff, likely in a move to shield the original author from vicious messages. Rightly so, Automotive News received quite the backlash from gearheads not only in North America but around the globe. It seems enthusiasts really don’t like such heavy-handed measures.

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That pearl-clutching op-ed which called the Demon “inherently dangerous” claims the conclusion wasn’t made because of the 840-horsepower peak output figure. After all, even back then there were far more powerful cars on the market. It’s just that those rides are from snooty European brands with prices to rival a fair number of home values.

Instead, Automotive News argued the ban was appropriate because the Demon is a purpose-built drag racer that was promptly banned from NHRA regulated raceways. That’s where the kicker came in: the op-ed drew a parallel between the Demon and Tesla’s autonomous tech. Both apparently are blights on the “laudable” safety advancements made by the auto industry in recent years.

Lest you be deceived, not everyone is convinced every last safety “advancement” is actually making drivers and passengers safer on public roads. After all, aside from the pandemic era dip, roadway fatalities are way up even as more cars have loads of sensors, super bright headlights, and technology galore to supposedly stop everyone from crashing so much.

Instead of focusing on why the tech gods aren’t saving lives better, Automotive News chose instead to demonize the Demon and take a shot at Tesla at the same time. Pretty neat, huh?

A few others followed the lead of Automotive News, most laughably an environmentalist site called Treehugger which argued that cars should be smaller and slower with “big SUVs” banned. You see where this banning stuff goes?

Obviously, the Demon met federal road operation guidelines but people still had a problem with it. And once you start that witch hunt suddenly all Hummers, Polaris Slingshots, maybe every motorcycle, and any other offensive vehicle is put on the cancellation menu by activists, weirdos, and Karens alike.

Ultimately, it became apparent to some that the call to ban the Demon was more a shot from the upper class at blue collar America. Just try calling for a public roads ban on the LaFerrari and watch the outrage pour out of private country clubs from coast to coast.

Forbes skirted the issue, calling out a few supercars that are just as dangerous if driven recklessly, but that’s where they pulled up short. The perceived difference is a McLaren or Lamborghini owner is allowed to own such a thing because they’re part of the club, the upper crust of society which lives beyond certain rules.

The only problem with that perception is quite a few Demons were parked in garages next to Ferraris, Paganis, and other such exotic rides. In fact, we doubt many plumbers ended up with one, although Dodge hasn’t released a Demon offender list to keep us informed about who has such a dangerous vehicle perhaps prowling local public roads, preying on innocent minivans, so perhaps we’re wrong about that.

Ultimately, the current Dodge Challenger was given the ultimate send-off with the Demon 170. Funny enough, there were no calls to ban the even more powerful and quicker factory drag racer. Why? Perhaps it has something to do with the EPA, NHTSA, and other regulators clipping Dodge’s wings as the Challenger and Charger transition into neutered “muscle cars” with no V8. So you see, outright bans or using regulators to push a vehicle out of existence, it’s in the end pretty much the same.

Images via Stellantis

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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