MANY MORE PHOTOS:
It’s just a concept car. Just keep saying that – for now, anyway, but
Chrysler officials couldn’t disguise their interest in bringing the distinctive
little Dodge Demon roadster into showrooms. And with the
The small and ostensibly nimble roadster is vaguely reminiscent of the less-than-successful Chrysler Crossfire, though its proportions are more in line with classic British entries, such as the old Triumph Spitfire or MG. Front to back, the 2600-pound concept two-seater measures just 156.5 inches, with a 95.6-inch wheelbase. That’s in line with the Mazda Miata, the long-running benchmark of the affordable roadster segment. But visually, the Demon is significantly more distinctive.
Influenced by the bigger and radically more powerful Dodge Viper, the downsized Demon features a huge Dodge crosshair grille bookmarked by dual projector headlamps in black bezels. The hood opens, like that on the Viper, in clamshell style. The rear fenders flare out around functional cooling ducts. The overall look is “a combination of curves and creases,” suggested Chrysler’s design director, Ralph Gilles. Large, twin exhausts, 19-inch wheels, and a striking, amber pearl paint job complete the bold package.
The goal was to “do more with less,”
the design chief added, as the Demon debuted in
Chrysler has made a point of
introducing new concepts and production vehicles at key European auto shows, in
recent years, part of its effort to cultivate sales outside
To keep the momentum going, the
automaker hopes to add some smaller, more fuel-efficient models to its current
mix of big sedans, SUVs and minivans, which target, at best, a niche market
The Demon would not be able to share the same “architecture,” or underlying platform as Hornet, however. It is instead based off various existing Chrysler components, Gilles explained to TheCarConnection.com, so it will require some creative work to make a convincing business case – especially at a time when Chrysler is slashing jobs and may be sold off by DC. But given initial, strong feedback, Gilles and other executives are hoping that they can make a successful pitch to put the roadster into production, perhaps before the end of the decade.