Were you looking for the Duster-based Dodge Demon?
The Dodge Demon will ride on a platform jointly engineered with Mercedes — and we do mean jointly this time. The Demon may be related to the new China-built subcompact to be sold in the United States.
The Dodge Demon concept car weighs about 250 lb less than the Pontiac Solstice. It uses a 2.4 liter engine to put 172 horsepower to the rear wheels, through a six-speed manual transmission, for fun but not supercar performance. Target price appears to be around $21,000, similar to the GM roadsters, but by the time it arrives that might have increased to a GTI-like $23,000. The same basic chassis could be used for hatchbacks (for Europe), sedans, and other vehicles; a sedan or hatch version has been reported on as separate from the Caliber and China-car. The interior is practical and usable, including what appears to be a production-ready dashboard. The concept car itself uses a Viper rear suspension with a Caliber front suspension, but something more SLK-like is probably to be expected in production - or perhaps not.
We do not know whether the steering gear will be rack and pinion or recirculating-ball. Bob Sheaves wrote: “Recirculating ballcan be just as viable and precise as a rack-and-pinion, due to the physical limits of attaching the inboard tie rod ends to the gear itself. There are only just so many positions available, without creating a new gear housing, while a recirculating ballcan be placed virtually anywhere needed and connected with a relay rod to the centerlink. Toe control is far easier and more precise when you can link to the proper positions. I'll take a recirc gear any time when I can get the geometry I need to create those high lateral forces without understeer or oversteer. Remember, the Demon is the ‘absolute lowest cost and maximum fun car’ that can be developed with available parts [to keep engineering costs low]. A custom gear from TRW or ZF will cost over $2.5M to design, develop, tool, and manufacture; money the Demon program does not have. ... the positive reason to go to a rack and pinon are sprung weight redustion, less complexity, less tolerance stackup inherant in the design. The debits are geometric compromise when the rack to tie rod end attachment do not meet the needs of the suspension, cost, loading tolerance.”
The bodyside of the Dodge Demon main character line flows up and over the front wheel, then drops diagonally to an angular color-keyed vent on the rear fender that directs cooling air to the rear brakes. In similar fashion, the compound rear fender surface curves up and over the rear wheel, sweeping into a broad diagonal plane extending to the taillamp. The resulting muscular fender form projects boldly beyond the main body, underscoring that the Dodge Demon concept is a rear-wheel-drive machine.
The rear surface of the body is divided into three planes with two chamfered outboard planes, dominated by long, tapering trapezoidal taillamps. The taillamps sport translucent red inset lenses that surround LED back-up lamps.
Up front, the signature Dodge crosshair grille is stuffed into an aggressive, menacing, trapezoidal opening that thrusts boldly forward.
Set into elongated angled triangles, the projector headlamps, delineated by bright rings, are set into black chrome bezels, giving the front end mean-looking “eyes” that accentuate the grille opening. Encompassing the upper portions of the front fenders and sporting two recessed air outlets, the Dodge Demon’s hood is hinged at the front, adding a just-for-fun performance-car look and feel.
Featuring an open-spoke design, the wheels are pushed to the corners of the body for a dramatic stance and capable performance. The 19-inch brushed aluminum wheels are set into assertive, asymmetrical openings that reprise the body’s playful combination of curves and planes.
The beltline kicks up at the rear and into the higher deck lid contour, giving the lucky occupants an encapsulated, protective feeling.
“In the manner of timeless British sports cars, the interior of the Dodge Demon is purposely functional, not frivolous,” said Dan Zimmermann – Dodge Demon Principal Interior Designer. “Everything relating to the driving experience is emphasized, while that which is not is made visually secondary.
“The well laid out instrument panel, for example, is familiar, yet modern. Everything you really need – the gauges, circular AC outlets, radio – is encapsulated in a cross-car brushed aluminum bezel that also accentuates the width of the cabin. Secondary controls and features, such as the HVAC knobs and the passenger-side glove box, are located below this bezel,” Zimmerman added.
In a similar functional manner, the floor console is deliberately not a part of, or attached to, the instrument panel. The console is dominated by the squat ready-at-hand silver and black manual shift knob, and its leather boot is set into a bright trim ring. The wide, brushed aluminum console bezel also incorporates the recessed emergency brake handle, with the window switch gear, softly lit cup holders and 12V power outlet organized into a graphically unified shape. The upper portion of the instrument panel, including the cluster brow, is accented by a stitched seam with contrasting silver thread.
“Each of these features is set flush, or nearly flush, with the bezel surface so as to establish a ‘clear zone’ for the driver’s shift arm in all seating positions, with nothing in the way of the driving experience,” Zimmerman said.
The raised plateau at the rear of the console incorporates a covered storage bin – with a lid that serves as an armrest between shifts – while the portion of the console extending under the instrument panel has an open bin handy for incidentals.
The steering wheel employs an aluminum open-spoke design with each of the three spokes intersecting the small circular hub for a timeless sports car look. The wheel rim itself is brushed aluminum on the inside, complemented with stitched vinyl on the outer rim. Immediately forward of the wheel, the four-gauge cluster features classic white-on-black dials with graphics inspired by sports watches. Each circular gauge is set handsomely inside a finely detailed silver and chrome bezel ring, while gauge pointers are colored to match the exterior.
The doors feature durable, vertical grab handles, each anchored to a silver bezel housing the chrome door remote handle. The lower portion of each door features a stylish brushed aluminum bezel that encapsulates the large circular speaker grille and then drops sharply as it moves rearward to form the map pocket outer panel, mimicking a feature line on the car’s exterior.
The Dodge Demon’s seats feature contoured bolsters that are just high enough to provide support when cornering, yet do not hinder ingress or egress. Set in exposed low-gloss carbon fiber shells, the black seats with integral head restraints feature inserts of textured “Momentum” fabric mated to fabric bolsters, with specific sew lines accented by silver thread. Individual brushed aluminum and carbon fiber roll bars are positioned directly behind the bucket seats. With long seat tracks, there is ample storage behind the seats. Additional covered storage is provided in the bulkhead between the seats.
Dimensions are in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted.
Engine: 2.4 liter,
172 hp SAE (128 kW) @ 6000 rpm, 165 lb.-ft. (224 Nm) @ 4400 rpm
Drivetrain: Six-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive
Length: 156.5 (3974); Width (max. @ body): 68.3 (1736)
Height: 51.8 (1315)
Wheelbase: 95.6 (2429)
Overhang, Front: 30.6 (777) / Rear: 30.3 (769)
Weight (estimated): 2600 lbs. (1179 kg)
Tire Size, Front/Rear: 58.7 (1491)
Wheel Size: 19 x 8 in.;
Outer Diameter: 25.2 (640)
Exterior Color: Bright Amber Pearl;
Interior Color: Black
See our main concept cars page
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.
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