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by Patrick Rall
If you weren’t one of the lucky people who attended the grand uncaging of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon in New York City, here is a quick rundown of what you missed. We would love to tell everyone that they didn’t miss much, but we can’t; it was an incredible event to be a part of from beginning to end.
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was formally introduced to the world on April 11th in New York City’s Pier 94 facility, which is basically a warehouse. The event officially began at 7 pm; we knew that we would see the new Dodge Demon, but other than that, it was all a surprise.
Upon entering the Pier 94 building, we were greeted by a trio of heavily customized Dodge Chargers from the Fast and Furious movie series, including the “Ice Charger” from the Fate of the Furious. Joining those movie cars were a few new Dodge muscle cars, including a Hellcat Challenger, a Hellcat Charger, a Durango SRT, and a Viper – as well as a handful of Demons covered by grey sheets. Two of the covered Demons were sitting in front of large TV screens, which we will talk about later on in this piece.
The area with the Dodge Chargers from the movies and the new cars was surrounded by a series of tables offering free food and drinks to the attendees; at the front of this large area was a small stage with the Demon logo.
Beyond all of the cars and free food was the real attraction. As you approached, the first thing you saw was the cage from both the Hellcat and Demon commercials; just past that cage was a gigantic screen which faced the grandstand area. Just past that big screen appeared to be a long, empty warehouse, but as I was one of the first people in there, I noticed that the event workers were spraying something on the ground and from the smell, I could tell that it was the same liquid that drag strips spray on the starting line to help the cars get better traction.
It was at that point I realized that we wouldn’t just see the debut of the Demon – we were going to get to see it in action. However, when we arrived, the only car in this area was a bright yellow Viper ACR.
When the time came for the actual debut to begin, the crowd was asked to head to the grandstands and the program kicked off.
After a bit of vamping from the emcee, a member of the Pennzoil management team came out to explain the Dodge Viper ACR on display. In the same way that Pennzoil worked with Dodge to create a high performance video with a bright yellow Hellcat Challenger, the oil company teamed up with Dodge once again – this time relying on the Viper ACR for the star of their short film. In this piece, titled The Last Viper (below — and note the Demon comment at the end), we watch as a mysterious driver rescues the final Viper built after it had been stolen.
After watching the newest Pennzoil film, FCA’s Olivier Francois was joined by rapper Wiz Khalifa, who offered FCA a huge platinum record plaque to celebrate the success of his music video “See You Again” from the seventh Fast and Furious movie.
Finally, after all sorts of pageantry which had nothing to do with the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis came out to introduce the newest Mopar muscle car. He talked about the planning that went into the Demon, and why the company chose to run the long rollout; then he listed all of the vital numbers which we had all waited so long to learn – from horsepower to the 9.65 quarter mile time – before slipping out of the spotlight to make way for the Demon.
You can watch the official uncaging below – beginning with some wicked computer generated images from inside of the cage and ending with a short drag strip pass in front of the crowd. The video below shows that official (and exhilarating) introduction.
After the Demon made its short drag strip pass, the driver circled back around where it met another new Challenger. Actor Vin Diesel said a few words about the Demon and the entire Dodge lineup, before handing then mic back over the Tim Kuniskis. The Dodge boss said a few final words and then cut everyone loose on the cars.
At the same time, the cars which had been covered in the front area of the event were revealed as well, offering attendees a chance to check out one of the Demon movie cars. Also, where the two covered cars sat in front of the large screens turned out to be a virtual drag race game which allowed players to virtually race the new Demon. They even pulled the wheels up on launch, which you can see in the video below.
Once the new Demon had been introduced to the world, the crowd spent a few more hours climbing in and out of the cars, partaking of the food and drinks (including “Demon Fuel”, which tasted a great deal like Red Bull and Vodka), mingling with Dodge engineers and management, enjoying a live DJ performance by Wiz Khalifa, and virtually driving the new Demon on the drag strip.
Finally, as we all filed out of New York’s Pier 94, we received a Demon hat and shirt, along with a media kit which included information on the car in a cool metal box.
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