This year brings the end of the line for Dodge’s HEMI-powered muscle cars. And while the automaker’s engineers and designers are hard at work tweaking the final details of the first EV muscle car—scheduled for 2024 production—the Mopar community seems more committed than ever in terms of keeping the V8 fire burning. That pun was, of course, intended, as we’re looking at the world’s first manual-swapped Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, a build based on a torched example of the machine.
Unlike Dodge’s 2023 Final Call special editions, which are more about visual enhancements than anything else, the Challenger Demon was the kind of limited edition focusing on the tech bits. And this bad boy was all about taking the big W at the drag strip.
Dodge only built 3,300 units of the Demon for the 2018 model year. And while an $84,000 MSRP Challenger might’ve seemed excessive before the pandemic and the inflation hit us, remeber that the 9.65s quarter-mile time earned the big coupe a production car record at the time.
All the tech bits setting the Demon apart from a “regular” Hellcat also meant this Challenger works best on prepped surfaces, as that official 1/4-mile time is not easy to achieve. In fact, some drivers even ended up ruining their cars in the process, which might’ve been the case with the example we have here.
This Demon got crashed, which resulted in mechanical damage to the right-side rear corner, a grenaded transmission and, worst of all, a fire that consumed not just the engine compartment, but also the whole interior and the roof panel.
Who is ScrapLife Garage?
Unsurprisingly, the Demon was bound to become a parts car and landed on the IAAI online auction platform last year. Fortunately, the vehicle was picked up by the YouTuber crew known as ScrapLife Garage, who had other plans, even though they are selling a few Demon bits off the car.
The said label was created by ebay specialty auto parts store LeeCParts and you may know the crew thanks to their Audi R8 Kart, a rebuilt example that had been touched by tuner Underground Racing (think: twin-turbocharged to over 2,000 hp for half-mile or full-mile racing). These days, the team is also giving a Nissan 240SX (S14) a Viper V10 engine swap, but we digress…
This was the world’s cheapest Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at $20,000
Last fall, when ScrapLife Garage bought the Challenger from IAAI for about $20,000, this became the world’s cheapest Demon, as it landed in their hands for about a fifth of the price the original owner had payed. Heck, these days, you’d have to pay in excess of $150,000 for a good-condition Challenger SRT Demon with decent mileage.
A few months later, the team is on track to turning this into the world’s first manual-swapped Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, thanks to a Tremec six-speed borrowed from a “regular”, recent-model-year Hellcat. This is the kind of gearbox swap people enjoy giving Charger Hellcats, but the Demon aroma takes it to a whole new level!
Now, many people would be scared to touch that chassis, fearing that the intense fire had affected the structural integrity. However, these mechanics have their own take on the matter.
A mix of Demon and Hellcat parts
The Demon chassis gets to stay (at least this is the plan), with that non-Redeye Hellcat donor offering its 6.2L V8, six-speed manual, roof, front and rear subframes, wiring and interior, among others. Nevertheless, many areas of the vehicle, such as the engine and the suspension, will feature a melange of Demon and Hellcat bits.
For instance, the Demon’s larger supercharger, engine block and crankshaft have survived and are being used in the project. Moving on to the Hellcat rear subframe, which packs a 3.70 rear, it will still use the Demon half-axles and wheel hubs.
Finding parts for the Dodge Demon can be a nightmre, even for somebody in this business. We’re assuming that, since these guys have an actual Demon VIN, Dodge’s Direct Connection program will sell them OEM parts for the drag strip special. Even so, certain bits, such as the Demon-labeled Nitto tires, can no longer be found new. Fortunately, the team was able to score a used set with no mileage on it.
There were also parts that seemed fine, but had to be removed, with the most notable example being one of the front brake calipers (the Demon has smaller front brakes for weight reduction). Of course, some bits went the other way around—the guys had thrown out the smaller, lighter (hollow) Demon front sway bar, but, after noticing the differences compared to that of the Hellcat, they retrieved it from the dumpster. Oh, and they still need Demon springs (these are 20-30% softer and we’ll get to why it’s so below).
The manual experience means so much more than just some Demon drag strip numbers
Of course, without an automatic and the special transbrake of the Demon, as well as some suspension components that were tweaked for the kind of weight transfer required at the drag strip, this build probably won’t deliver a 9.65s run, at least not without getting some serious extra power.
Then again, this thing has a stick shift, something you don’t get in 99% of performace EVs out there, be they OEM products or custom projects. So we can’t wait to see the rubber that’s still present on the posterior of the car to be joined by some fresh material coming from a three-pedal burnout!
Meanwhile, the first clip below brings the most recent update on the project, showcasing the changes discussed above. As for the second vid, this dates back to last year, showcasing the guys assessing the damage on a car they had bought without being able to fully inspect—apparently, that broken Demon tranny was quite the surprise.