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Dodge Reveals Last Last Call: the 1,025-Horsepower, Hell-Spawned Demon 170

How does Dodge get a two-ton street-legal Challenger through the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds?

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 acceleration at drag strip
  • Dodge sends the 16-year-old Challenger out with a 1,025-horsepower bang.
  • 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 leverages ethanol and an advanced fuel system to real-time calibrate for maximum power.
  • Capable of 0-60 in 1.66 seconds and an NHRA-certified quarter-mile time of 8.91 seconds at 151.17 mph.

Dodge has revealed its final "Last Call" version of the current Challenger, and it's a monster. This ethanol-burning, fire-breathing drag race special offers up to 1,025 horsepower, 945 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 in 1.66 seconds, and a quarter mile elapsed time in an NHRA-certified 8.91 seconds at 151.17 mph. The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 delivers more than 2 g of lateral force during launch, the highest number for any production car. Dodge's CEO, Tim Kuniskis, used the industry official term "bat-[redacted] crazy" to describe the Demon 170.

I think he may be understating things a bit.

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Revisiting Demon 1.0

I owned an original 2018 Dodge Demon for more than five years, putting it through its paces on multiple drag strips before pulling an official 9.99-second quarter mile while hitting 133 mph. I would argue those are absolutely insane numbers for any street-legal car, even though they were well off the original Demon's potential (and NHRA-certified) 9.65-second quarter-mile elapsed time at 140 mph. The original Dodge Demon was the world's quickest production car at the time, getting to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and pulling 1.8 g as it lifted the front wheels off the ground during launch.

Dodge Demon 170 owes its existence to … the pandemic?

Why would Dodge feel the need to eclipse the original Demon's crazy numbers? Well, for one thing, they aren't world-beating numbers today. The Tesla Model S Plaid, along with multiple hypercars, broke the 2-second 0-60 mph barrier since the first Demon debuted, taking the mighty Challenger's crown from its horned head. That alone wouldn't have given rise to the Demon 170, but the global COVID-19 pandemic delayed the death of Dodge's LX platform, as supply chain issues put a three-year stay of execution on the Challenger and Charger (and Chrysler 300). 

That delay gave Kuniskis time to consider a more dramatic close to Dodge's era of big-displacement V8s. Cars that, by the way, still lead their respective categories in sales while spawning a massive — and massively loyal — fan base. Thus we have the Dodge "Last Call" line of seven models, culminating in the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170.

What does the "170" in Demon 170 mean?

While the original Demon had two horsepower ratings — 808 hp with 91 octane fuel and 840 hp with 100+ octane — the new Demon 170 has a wide range of potential power ratings based on fuel type. It still features a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8, but Dodge says everything except the camshaft has been upgraded to accommodate the substantial increase in power. There were actually rumblings of multiple engine failures during durability testing until Kuniskis cleared things up with an official statement: "So far, we've grenaded seven engines." 

That's probably not the series of "seven Last Call Dodges" the automaker intended when it first created the marketing campaign …

The engine's durability hurdles undoubtedly stem from its use of ethanol fuel to increase performance. The Demon 170 starts off with 880 horsepower on 91 octane pump gas. The numbers climb to 900 horsepower and 810 lb-ft of torque on E10 (pump fuel containing a 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol blend) before maxing out at 1,025 horsepower and 945 lb-ft of torque with 85% ethanol race fuel. You can't buy E85 race fuel at gas stations, but it is available at performance outlets for about $20 a gallon. And because ethanol is alcohol-based, this race fuel is technically 170 proof, thus "Demon 170."

Demonic drivetrain

Designing an engine to support that range of power and fuel type started with increasing the supercharger displacement from 2.7 liters to 3.0 liters. It also required higher-flow fuel injectors, an upgraded valvetrain, and high-strength cylinder head studs, plus stronger main bearings, rod bearings and connecting rods. The spark plugs also had to be updated to run at a lower heat range to accommodate the ethanol fuel.

Behind the engine sits Dodge's venerable TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic, but in the Demon 170 it features an updated output flange to accommodate a 30% stronger prop shaft. A 240-mm ring gear, a 53% stronger differential housing, and stronger half shafts send power to the rear wheels. Two other production firsts from the original Demon return on the Demon 170: the Power Chiller air-conditioning system, which can cool the engine between drag strip runs, and the transbrake that holds the car at the starting line without using the brake system. Dodge says the new TransBrake 2.0 will be much easier to use than the clunky interface in the previous Demon.

Old-school muscle meets high-tech innovation

Advanced technology is leveraged throughout the Demon 170's design. It manifests in the engine controller and fuel system, which constantly recalibrates the V8's tune for max power based on the percentage of ethanol detected in the fuel tank. The Demon 170 also offers standard forged aluminum or optional carbon-fiber wheels — the latter save over 30 pounds in unsprung weight. Both sets of wheels wear Mickey Thompson 315/50R17 drag radials in back and 245/55R18s up front. These drag radials represent another welcome improvement over the original Demon's Nitto tires, which proved tricky, at best, when trying to pull a sub-10-second ET with the car.

The optional carbon-fiber wheels, plus available passenger and rear seat delete, lighter front brakes, hollow sway bars, and reduced sound deadening, give the Demon 170 up to a 157-pound advantage over a Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody. Another weight-saving measure comes from pulling the front fender flares, saving 16 pounds while creating the first Challenger with a factory staggered width from front to rear.

How much, and how do I get one?!

Those were my first questions after seeing the new 1,025-horsepower Demon 170. Dodge says production will start in June and continue through the end of the year, with an intended (supply chain permitting) run of 3,000 units for the U.S. and 300 for Canada, just like the last Demon. The starting price will be $96,666 before destination fees and options, which range from leather upholstery, the aforementioned carbon-fiber wheels, and an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, to a carbon-fiber partition replacing the rear seat and parachute mounting system. You know, for those sub-9-second drag strip runs. 

Vintage Challenger fans will be happy to hear the Demon 170 comes in 14 exterior colors, including classic shades like B5 Blue, Plum Crazy and Sublime. An optional Satin Black is available as a contrast color on the Demon 170's hood, roof and decklid, and every Demon 170 will feature the commemorative "Last Call" plaque seen on each of the seven Last Call models listed below.

The full line of Last Call Dodge models

  1. Dodge Challenger Shakedown: Featuring black and red interior and exterior themes, highlighted by a shaker hood scoop. The Challenger Shakedown is based on the R/T Scat Pack and will be limited to 1,000 units: 500 in Destroyer Grey and 500 in Widebody Pitch Black.
  2. Dodge Charger Super Bee: Based on the Charger Scat Pack and available in both narrow and Widebody form. The Super Bee features red-painted Brembo brake calipers, a functional hood scoop, black exhaust outlets, and Super Bee interior and exterior badging. 
  3. Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Swinger: Offered in Widebody form with F8 Green or White Knuckle paint accented by a Sublime rear stripe and a shaker hood scoop. Gold School exterior badging and a black leather interior featuring contrast green stitching give an upscale feel. Limited to 1,000 units.
  4. Dodge Charger Scat Pack Swinger: Offered in Widebody form with F8 Green or White Knuckle paint accented by a Sublime rear stripe. Gold School exterior badging and a black leather interior featuring contrast green stitching give an upscale feel. Limited to 1,000 units
  5. Dodge Charger King Daytona: The most powerful Charger yet, featuring an 807-horsepower supercharged V8, Widebody exterior, 20-inch satin wheels, orange brake calipers and Go Mango paint. The black leather interior features orange contrast stitching and King Daytona embroidery. Limited to just 300 units. 
  6. Dodge Challenger Black Ghost: Based on a Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody with 807 horsepower (the same as last year's Super Stock). The Pitch Black exterior features a gator skin roof pattern, white accent stripe and retro "D-O-D-G-E" hood letters. The interior features black faux suede/leather combination upholstery with a Black Ghost badge on the instrument panel. Limited to 300 units.
  7. Dodge Challenger Demon 170: The most powerful Dodge ever, factory rated at 1,025 horsepower when running E85 racing fuel. Features a staggered Widebody exterior (rear Widebody only), carbon-fiber wheels, optional passenger and rear seat delete, and a Drag Mode that lets the air conditioning cool the engine. Limited to 3,300 units.

Edmunds says

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is the final of the Last Call Challengers and Chargers before both are discontinued after 2023. It might also be the most valuable, with explosive acceleration and low production numbers. Dodge's prioritization of dealers that aren't charging markups means that some may even be able to get them at MSRP.