NOVEMBER 2023: A 1972 DODGE DEMON 340 IS A PERFECT BLEND OF STOCK AND PERFORMANCE UPGRADES

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Dedicated Mopar fans will already know that Dodge had a Demon in its lineup long before its current Challenger edition terrorized the streets and track in stock form.

In fact, Dodge sold the original Demon for only two years (1971-72) until public outcry from religious groups forced Mother Mopar to get rid of the devilish handle for their two-door fastback A-Body (compact) Dart model.              

Jim Sutherland

The original Demon was Dodge’s counterpart to the Plymouth Duster, a low-cost sporty variation of the Valiant, also an A-Body model. The Mopar compacts shared a common design but steered in different directions when it came to overall appearance.

Nick Lischka is the proud owner of a beautiful 1972 Dodge Demon that has some surprising features, including Chrysler’s famous 340 cubic inch small block, a lightweight powerplant that carved its own niche in the street and track wars of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

However, Nick’s ’72 Demon does not have its original 340 under its hood. Instead, the 340 is a 1969 version, an important distinction because the ’69 version was more muscular by roughly 30 horsepower since it was not subjected to early 1970s-era performance restrictions. The horsepower difference is significant, given the light weight of the ’72 Demon.

Nick loves the performance of his 340 small block and told MyStarCollectorCar his ’72 Demon is “very strong… it (340 engine) screams…it wants the RPMs”. The 340 also breathes freer because it has headers that enhance its overall performance.

Nick added dual electric fans to help the hot little 340 run cooler and has encountered no overheating issues since the switch from a mechanical fan. The hood pins and air scoops are sporty additions to the Demon’s overall style, although Nick has encountered a few debates about the scoops from self-proclaimed experts in Demonology.

Sharp-eyed MyStarCollectorCar readers will notice the fender-mounted signal light indicators, an upscale offering from Mopar during that era. The Demon’s list of creature comforts includes power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes that enhance the driving experience.

Nick truly enjoys driving his ’72 Demon and told MyStarCollectorCar “the best therapy in the world is when I’m in that seat and driving the car”. Nick is a hard-working guy who has accumulated back issues over the years and even benefits from the Demon’s seat design when he drives his road rocket.

An interesting moment occurred when Nick encountered the Demon’s original owner at a June 2023 car show and surprised him with the car’s condition 51 years later. The obvious conclusion for the original owner is his former car is in good hands with Nick, a point we at MyStarCollectorCar share with the man.

One of the improvements under Nick’s watch was to replace his Demon’s original dash pad because it had become cracked and brittle over the years. The car’s dash pad replacement may seem like a simple task, but Nick said the process required squeezing into very tight quarters to access the fasteners under the dash.

These days Nick enjoys the open road behind the wheel of his 1972 Dodge Demon because it’s a reliable performer with a generous supply of very cool style from a bygone era. Happy motoring to both car and owner.               

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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