Heavyweight Champion of the Dragstrip

Photo Credit: Dodge.com

A lot of people have been asking me about the new Dodge Demon, and I’ve gotta say, I’ve got a few different opinions on the car…  I’m not sure if I should refer to it as the Challenger Demon, as it’s the same car, but for the sake of space, I’ll just call it the Demon.  Before I get started, a disclaimer:  I will never own one.  I could never afford it, and even if I could, I just dig old stuff more.  Now that I’ve cleared that up, I can give you my honest, third-party opinion from the sidelines.  I’m nothing but an honest enthusiast who’s done a little research at this point.

What’s it all about, you ask?  Well, the only engine available in the Demon is a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 making 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque.  That’s intense for a production passenger car.  The Hellcat was absolutely ridiculous, so ridiculous that the faint-of-heart might tell you that it’s overpowered at 707 horsepower.  That’s 133 horsepower less than the Demon, and it scared people.  Not only does the Demon have more horsepower, but it also weighs 215 pounds less than the Hellcat.  How is the same car with a different hood and wheels that much lighter, you ask?  First off, they tweaked the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) hardware, so it’s likely louder both inside and out.  Although the car will be louder, the music won’t be, as the Demon only has two speakers, one in each door.  Don’t worry, the passengers won’t mind the quieter music, as there are no seats for the passengers to sit in.  No seats, you ask?  That’s right!  Seats are heavy, and they enable heavy people to sit in them, so they’re all gone except for the driver.  That being said, I’ve heard for two dollars, the seats, hardware, and seatbelts can be included.  That’s only a dollar a seat, but it adds over 100 pounds to the car.  The carpet is left out, as well, and the trunk is down to the bare steel.  The sway bar is tubular instead of solid, and the brakes and wheels are lighter.  Sure, handling and braking may suffer, but this is Dodge we’re talking about.  Remember the Hemi Darts and Challengers with tiny drum brakes and archaic front ends?  Same guys.  Some things never change.

As you can tell, it’s got a lot of good going on.  It goes 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, covers the quarter-mile in 9.6 seconds, and carries the front wheels almost three feet.  That’s right, it’s a brand new car that can pull wheelies on warranty.  It also pulls a respectable 1.8G on the skidpad, which is pretty good for a car that’s had handling parts compromised for weight savings.  Did it do that on the tires it comes with?  I highly doubt it, as this unit ships from the factory with massive street-legal drag radials out back.  Honestly, this thing is ridiculously well-prepared for a production car.  A big stall converter?  Check!  Two-step ignition?  Check!  Factory-equipped trans brake?  Check!  It’s all drag car, yet it’s already been banned by the NHRA.  Why?  It’s so fast out of the box, that it requires a roll cage.  Honestly, I don’t know why Dodge didn’t build the car around one.  Maybe it’s against government regulations?  It certainly wasn’t due to excess weight, as even on a diet, the Demon weighs in right around 4300 pounds.  Personally, I consider 3000 pounds a heavy drag car, but I guess when you throw enough horsepower at something, anything is possible.

Time Flies… Not Unlike Bits of Dry Tire

These pictures are dated 2005, twelve years ago.  They’re so old that a pedophile wouldn’t even look twice at them.  It’s really no wonder that I forgot they ever existed.  It’s also no wonder it took me an hour to find them on an old hard drive, but here they are.  I guess it doesn’t help that everyone involved back when they were taken was drunk…

I don’t have a picture of the truck, and it’s been wrecked for years, so I’ll describe it in all of it’s glory.  It was a 1973 GMC Sierra of some sort.  Obviously, it had mags.  The rear ones were 15×8 chromed-steel Champ 500-ish wheels with holes and rivets, but they were peeling, so we painted them black.  Good description, hey?  The rear tires were big, fat, white-lettered Firestone boots.  Up front, it had stock 1970’s Buick wheels that kind of looked like Magnum 500’s, and low-profile tires.  It was two-tone tan and white, and as rusty as one might expect.  It was deluxe enough that it had trim to separate the colors, and it had 1970’s prismatic stickers on the bedsides that said “350”.  Under the hood was the most glorious thing ever, a “High Torque” 350.  I’m not positive, but I think what “High Torque” meant was that it came with an iron dual-plane intake, shitty heads with big chambers, small runners, small valves, and a tiny camshaft that wouldn’t make power past about 4500rpm.  General Motors were so proud of their substandard performance parts that they even had the audacity to put a “High Torque” sticker on the air cleaner.  I guess “Low Horsepower” or “High Fuel Consumption” aren’t exactly selling features.

Inside, a minty, tan vinyl bench seat was equipped with only lap belts (as was the style of the time) and I think it had either an eight-track player or a CB radio mounted under the dash.  Regardless of what it was, it didn’t work, nor did the in-dash radio.  Rather than listen to the wind whistle through the rotten old weatherstrip, we decided it would be more fun to listen to all that torque.  Armed with one blue glasspack, one red one, and an old swingset for tubing, we built the best dual exhaust system that no money could buy.  I think the big chrome tips were made from an old semi exhaust stack that we cut up, but don’t quote me on that.  How did it sound? Rappy.  Very, very rappy.

With the air cleaner lid flipped, and free-flowing swingset duals, we decided to run it down the quarter-mile via GTECH.  How fast was it?  I’d like to say it ran an eighteen-second quarter…  We were hardly speeding.  The second run started with a big, dirty neutral drop.  Think of it as a poor man’s stall converter.  The result?  About one second slower.  I wonder if the Street Outlaws guys got their start this way?

So what’s with the burnout?  Well, at about 3:00am, people in small towns like to tear the tires off of trucks.  It’s a thing.  This was a solid three-minute burnout.  It started as a greasy one-wheeler, when all of a sudden BANG, it caught posi and jumped sideways.  It was the worst sound ever, and a few days later the twelve-bolt failed on the highway.  It didn’t fail bad, though.  Nothing a stick welder couldn’t fix.  It always caught posi after that.

Hit Rock Bottom, Then Grab a Shovel

As I sit here feeling like absolute shit due to sick customers who won’t stay home when snot is running out of them, I figured I may as well write something.  I should be working on the Money Shot, but instead I’m all fucked up on pain killers and a cheap bottle of wine that I had lying around the house.  Is this the proper cure for the common cold?  No.  Why not buy something real to cure myself?  Well, long story short, I’m broke.  Why am I broke?  The Money Shot, of course!

See that picture?  It’s the floor drain in the shop, but it’s supposed to be a bottomless pit.  Get it?  Symbolism.  Anyways, problem number one: It’s a car.  I don’t drive cars.  My winter beater is a car because I can’t afford a truck, and my summer daily driver is a car because I’m trying to sell it, and I’m hoping someone wants to test drive it and take it home.  Problem number two:  It’s a tri-five GM.  One might think that they’re cheap to build, as they’re ridiculously common and popular, but one might also be wrong.  Demand necessitates supply, and necessity leads to price increases, even gouging.  If everyone wants it, why give it away, right?  Problem number three:  It’s Uninsurable.  People can feed me all the “tri-five GM” and “appraised value” crap they want, but the fact of the matter is no one is going to touch it.  It looks like a race car, so it’s automatically a high risk. Also, it’s a Pontiac, sharing technically no value with the much more desirable Chevrolets of the same era.  Sure, they’ll collect the premiums, but good luck when it comes time to pay the deductible.

So rather than go to the shop tonight, I’m going to sit here mad at SGI, the Canadian Dollar, and all the rich people driving the price of these cars through the roof.  As I do all that, however, I’m also creating a detailed budget list of all the parts I still need to complete the car.  I offered it for sale as a project a couple weeks back, and couldn’t get shit for it.  It might just be the cheap wine and pills talking, but I’m going to finish this green fucker to my own liking.  It’s going to be loud, shiny, and offensive.  Will I fall in love with it, even though it’s a car?  Will I sell it and recover my investment?  Will I ever race the Gonzo Henry J?  Stay tuned, something cool might happen!


Everybody Got Laid!

Spoiler alert: The title may or may not be accurate.

Two firsts occurred on Saturday night:

  1. I rode in a Henry J for the first time in my life.  Not the rare restored model, however, but the much more common gasser (thankfully).
  2. I teleported.

It all started with two people who wanted to get drunk.  We succeeded, knocked the night right out of the park in that category.  Took a cab downtown, stuck with whiskey, and had a good time.  First bar had nothing, second bar had Kiss pinball, and the third bar is also the fifth bar, as the fourth bar sucked.  Actually, the whole night was pretty tame, but we were too drunk to realize it at the time.

Bar 3/5 showed us that a short plastic bar glass can be thrown across the smoking patio, land upside-down on a beer bottle that’s sitting on a ledge, and not break anything.  It also introduced us to a girl with three tongue piercings who was looking for a committed relationship.  The girl in the picture?  Nope, not her.  She just kept randomly appearing and liked my hat.

After the bar, we teleported half way across town to 7-Eleven for junk food.  How, you ask?  It’ simple really.  We didn’t have a sober driver, we don’t remember taking a cab, and it was too cold and windy to walk.  Teleporting is so bad ass, and it’s new enough that I don’t believe there’s any drinking/teleporting laws in place yet.  Oh, everyone also got laid.  If we don’t remember teleporting, we also probably got laid, I mean, we tend to forget the good stuff…

I Got Nothin’, Aside From a New Carburetor

Literally nothing.  All I do is work, sleep, and knock down body filler.  After that, I apply more body filler so I have something to knock down at a later date.  Word on the street is there’s some shenanigans coming up soon, but until then, here’s a carburetor review.

I started out like everyone, running stock garbage because good caurburetion is expensive.  After that, I again walked the “everyone” walk by switching to Edelbrock carburetors.  They run great right out of the box.  That’s their thing, and they do it well.  They have arguably the best choke assembly in the industry, making them ideal for a daily driver, but they lack a lot of nice features that Holley utilize, and they also have a tendency to boil fuel.  My next move?  Holley, of course.  The 4160 is a great design, but I went right to the top with the 4150, mainly for the secondary metering block and changeable jets.  This is kind of about a Holley, or at least something they engineered.

Quick Fuel is a company that I believe was started by former Holley employees.  Basically, they take the Holley 4150 and 4160 carburetors, and improve on the design.  The carburetors I’ll be comparing are the Quick Fuel HR-680-VS and the Holley 0-80570.  First thing’s first, yes, they’re different sizes, but that doesn’t change what I’m going to compare.  Here we go!

First, the Quick Fuel is constructed of aluminum, and the Holley is zinc.  The Quick Fuel is really shiny, and way lighter.  Holley make an aluminum Street Avenger now, but I don’t have one for a direct comparison.  The Quick Fuel has way more machine work done to it, and some edges are sharp enough to draw blood.  Most of the Holley is just cast flat, with minimal machine work.  The Quick Fuel also has changeable air bleeds, where the Holley ones are permanently pressed in.  For what it’s worth, the Quick Fuel has more bracket and cable mounting options than the Holley.  If the Holley has what you need, it’s irrelevant, but if not, the Quick Fuel is a lot handier.

The choke assembly is very similar on both, and my Holley never worked great, so we’ll see if the Quick Fuel can pull it off.  The Holley is better than a Rochester, but worse than an Edelbrock, if that makes sense.  One thing I really like about the Quick Fuel, is the vacuum secondary adjustment.  On the Holley, a screw has to be removed, followed by the swapping of a large, cone-shaped spring to a stiffer/softer one (depending on which way one wants to go).  It’s not that bad, I guess, but on the Quick Fuel, all that’s involved is the simple turning of an adjustment screw either clockwise or counter-clockwise.  Slick!  Another bonus?  Glass windows that are o-ring sealed and secured with a snap ring for adjusting the float level.  The Holley used cheesy, plastic, thread-in plugs that were hard to see through and could not be used for everyday driving.  Bottom line?  I haven’t run the Quick Fuel, but it was a good value at a similar retail price to the Holley, not to mention the fact that I got it on sale.  It comes with a lot of additional features, and it looks slick, too.  Only time will tell the performance, though.  I’m certainly optimistic.