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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
7/23/20 10:46 a.m.
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Before the founding of FCA in 2014 and before the relaunch of the Challenger in 2008, Dodge was taking aim at small sports cars like the Mazda Miata back in 2007.

Called the Dodge Demon, this little two-seater was planned to be powered by a 2.4-liter inline-four that was said to be good for 172 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of torque. (For perspective, the 2007 Mazda Miata was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 170 horsepower and 140 lb.-ft. of torque.)

That power would then be sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. All that with an estimated curb weight of 2600 pounds.

Perhaps the best way to sum up this concept was from the words of its Principal Interior Designer Dan Zimmermann: “In the manner of timeless British sports cars, the interior of the Dodge Demon is purposely functional, not frivolous. Everything relating to the driving experience is emphasized, while that which is not is made visually secondary.”

At any rate, if this had made it to production, would you have given it a test drive? Do you think it would have been a worthy contender against the Miata, as well as the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky?

We were even able to track down the original press release, which you can read here.

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Read the rest of the story

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Reader
7/23/20 10:52 a.m.

I like it. Want to know why they didn't build it. 

Of course I own a Miata and have had lots of British Roadsters in the past. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Dork
7/23/20 10:54 a.m.

Looks like a 350Z was molested by a Charger.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/23/20 10:54 a.m.

While the emotional part of me wishes it had been built, the rational part of me understands why it wasn't.  The bean counters likely looked at current Miata sales figures at the time and even with a healthy amount of parts bin sharing, simply couldn't make the numbers add up. Something GM failed to do with the Solstice/Sky platform. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/23/20 10:59 a.m.
Mr_Asa said:

Looks like a 350Z was molested by a Charger.

It looks like someone tried to put a charger body kit on a solstice

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
7/23/20 11:01 a.m.

I don't hate it, and I like the idea.. but the sky/solstice were quickly retired as others have said.  I think the miata struggles to get about double digit htousand sales numbers.. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/23/20 11:05 a.m.

The Miata only makes sense to Mazda if you realize it's their halo car. Did Dodge have a platform they could use for this thing, or was it going to require a lot of engineering?

 

Miata sales in the US (note that it does well in other countries):
2005    9,801
2006    16,897
2007    15,075
2008    10,977
2009    7,917
2010    6,380
2011    5,674
2012    6,739
2013    5,780
2014    4,745
2015    8,591
2016    9,465
2017    11,294
2018    8,971
2019    7,753
2020    4,320

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
7/23/20 11:06 a.m.

This thing with the Caliber SRT-4 engine would have been a spicy unit. And if it had survived to today, Dodge would have found a way to cram a Hellcat motor in it somehow. The one that I was said didn't come to pass was the Chrysler Firepower, which was a swanky Chrysler sport coupe on the Viper chassis with 6.1L Hemi motivation. Woulda been a damn sight better than the stupid Crossfire.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/23/20 11:08 a.m.

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

My rough understanding is the Miata is a bit of a fluke.  The first generation sold so well and was so profitable, it has sort of paid for every revision built since.  Or made it so each generation has less amortized engineering costs to cover, despite the relatively low sales.  Plus, the platforms tend to stick around for quite awhile.  The ND still looks like a current car, despite being sold 5 years ago (my ex- picked up her Launch Edition 5 years ago around this time). It doesn't really look dated yet, so I can see it sticking around for at least another 3 years.  That's a good amount of time for a model to spread out engineering costs.

volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter)
volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/23/20 11:09 a.m.

Put a Hemi in it.

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Reader
7/23/20 11:14 a.m.

Putting a Hellcat in it would make it a totally different animal. Sort of like a modern day Shelby Cobra. 

Nobody makes anything like that today. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/23/20 11:14 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

My rough understanding is the Miata is a bit of a fluke.  The first generation sold so well and was so profitable, it has sort of paid for every revision built since.  Or made it so each generation has less amortized engineering costs to cover, despite the relatively low sales.  Plus, the platforms tend to stick around for quite awhile.  The ND still looks like a current car, despite being sold 5 years ago (my ex- picked up her Launch Edition 5 years ago around this time). It doesn't really look dated yet, so I can see it sticking around for at least another 3 years.  That's a good amount of time for a model to spread out engineering costs.

Mazda will not comment, but I have been told to expect a similar livespan for the ND platform as previous generations. So yeah, we have another few years to go.

It is amazing that a small little automaker like Mazda is willing to engineer a one-off platform (it's their only RWD car!) for a $25k convertible. GM does a one-off platform for the C8 and everyone's amazed that it only costs twice that much. But it's what defines their brand. There is no amortized engineering from the first platform or even between the NC and ND. The NC benefited from the RX8, the NB was basically an updated NA.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/23/20 11:15 a.m.
Snowdoggie said:

Putting a Hellcat in it would make it a totally different animal. Sort of like a modern day Shelby Cobra. 

Nobody makes anything like that today. 

How cool would that be?

 

volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter)
volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/23/20 11:16 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

" It is amazing that a small little automaker like Mazda is willing to engineer a one-off platform (it's their only RWD car!) for a $25k convertible. "

If they'd had a $25k wagon on the same platform I'd have bought that instead of my 3.  And I got the 3 for $16k.

If they seriously want to be a BMW fighter, they need to out-BMW BMW. 

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
7/23/20 11:17 a.m.

I don't mind it, but I think its' nose was too big for its' face.

ebelements
ebelements Reader
7/23/20 11:19 a.m.

Love the idea, but the mid 2000s viper nose/squared off TT rear combo makes this look like one of those Chinese domestic market vis ID theft abominations.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
7/23/20 11:26 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I hear you.  I wouldn't call the miata a loss leader as a small brand like mazda has little cushion for such a thing... but it does set the brand image, especially with the RX models gone.  

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Reader
7/23/20 11:27 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Snowdoggie said:

Putting a Hellcat in it would make it a totally different animal. Sort of like a modern day Shelby Cobra. 

Nobody makes anything like that today. 

How cool would that be?

 

OK. You guys build V8 Miatas, but they are not exactly production cars. How much for the turnkey one with the 700 hp LS3? 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/23/20 11:30 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Snowdoggie said:

Putting a Hellcat in it would make it a totally different animal. Sort of like a modern day Shelby Cobra. 

Nobody makes anything like that today. 

How cool would that be?

 

And before someone complains about how much a LS3ND costs, bear in mind the Cobra base price was around $6600 in 1963 - or around $55K in today's money. It was not a cheap car. Especially considering how bare-bones it was, even for 1963.

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Reader
7/23/20 11:33 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:
Snowdoggie said:

Putting a Hellcat in it would make it a totally different animal. Sort of like a modern day Shelby Cobra. 

Nobody makes anything like that today. 

How cool would that be?

 

And before someone complains about how much a LS3ND costs, bear in mind the Cobra base price was around $6600 in 1963 - or around $55K in today's money. It was not a cheap car. Especially considering how bare-bones it was, even for 1963.

Compared to the price of an original Cobra today at whatever classic car auction you can get one from,  it's probably a still a bargain. 

JesseWolfe
JesseWolfe Reader
7/23/20 11:33 a.m.

This dodge looks pretty good considering, though the rear end treatment looks like an R8 kit car.

Yavuz
Yavuz Reader
7/23/20 11:45 a.m.

I liked the Demon concept, but if you go back a few more years - I was completely on board with the Dodge Razor concept. It used the 2.4 turbo out of the Neon SRT-4, weighed under 2500lbs, and was supposed to have a target price of under $15k. I doubt they could have actually sold these for 15k, but then again - the SRT-4 was only $19,999 when it came out. I bought an SRT-4 new back then and would have been first in line to put a deposit down on this thing if it ever went into production.

 

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/23/20 11:57 a.m.

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that the convertible, if it made it to production, would have been a total POS and a blast to drive.

Granted, my Solstice was also a total POS and I loved it.  Small roadsters are the beeeeest.

mblommel
mblommel Dork
7/23/20 12:01 p.m.
Yavuz said:

I liked the Demon concept, but if you go back a few more years - I was completely on board with the Dodge Razor concept. It used the 2.4 turbo out of the Neon SRT-4, weighed under 2500lbs, and was supposed to have a target price of under $15k. I doubt they could have actually sold these for 15k, but then again - the SRT-4 was only $19,999 when it came out. I bought an SRT-4 new back then and would have been first in line to put a deposit down on this thing if it ever went into production.

 

Beat me to it. I was salivating at the prospect of them producing this. At the time MR2 spyders were selling for $30k with dealer markup, so I was hoping for a cheaper and much faster alternative. 

Vajingo
Vajingo New Reader
7/23/20 12:05 p.m.
Yavuz said:

It's like a Chrysler 300 tried to snake swallow a MR2 spider 

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