’71 416 stroker Demon is a cool exorcize machine that tries to avoid the curse of our wealth of “devil” clichés.
By Jim Koscs Photos by TheBruntBros
Loyal Mopar Action readers know what to expect when they see a story about a Dodge Demon in this magazine. We usually dredge up every “devil” cliché we can think of, and then some. You know, something like “The owner acted like a man possessed, first putting his soul into the project, and then selling that to pay the B. Beelzebub body shop for a wicked paint job.”
Things like that usually lower the loyal reader count, but we can’t help ourselves. So we’ll try to resist the temptation to use such childish antics to tell you about Rod Lunt’s 1971 Demon 340. It’s a good thing Rod lives in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada rather than in Hell, Michigan, or we’d be up to our keyboards in clichés.
OK, maybe we’ll sneak in one or two, like how there’s some real fire under the fiberglass snorkel hood, in the form of a 340 stroked to 416 cubes and putting 605 hp and 568 lb.-ft. at the crank. Or how this past September Rod took the Demon for its first track pass scorched the pavement with an 11.31-second pass. That was with 3.55 gears in a stock 8-3/4” rear and 345/30R18 BF Goodrich drag radials. That’s pretty impressive, but Rod figures next season he’ll put in a set of 4.30 gears and shoot for the 10s.
The Demon, an original 340/4-speed car, had belonged to a friend of Rod’s in the 1990s. The friend sold the car to Rod’s now ex father-in-law, whose plans to do a full stock resto went up in smoke when an evil body shop scammed him out of his money. So he sold the car to Rod, who basically got a rolling body in primer and lots of boxes of parts. That suited Rod just fine, because he got a great deal and had wanted to wrench on cars again after a decade away from them. Where he was during that time he wouldn’t tell us. He’d built a couple of motors for his A-bodies back in the 1990s but had never done a full build.
“Everything that could be bolted was done by me,” Rod says about the Demon. He built the motor, except for the machine work, and left the paint to Joey’s Place in Edmonton, which repainted the Demon in the original GY3 Citron Yella. That grille is an original Demon piece, though not original to this car. Rod spent more than 25 hours painting it himself. (We’re just happy he used correct blackout paint behind it, because you know how flames shoot from E-Booger’s ears when he sees body color through the grille.)
Rod admits he had been away from cars long enough to not know about all this smallblock stroker stuff. But he learned all he could and found a 1973 340 block to start with (the original engine was long gone). In went a forged Eagle crank and rods, forged Mahle pistons, Indy 360-2 oval-port heads, a Mighty Demon (what else?) 850 cfm carb, Lunati solid roller cam and March pulleys. See all that great engine detailing? That’s Rod’s handiwork – no idle hands in his workshop.
When this thing fires up and bellows through the TTI 1-7/8-inch headers and three-inch exhaust with Dynomax mufflers, it sounds like the gates of … oops … it sounds like a really healthy Mopar small block ready to banish Chevys to the pits of hel… well, just to the pits.
The tranny is a TCI-built 727 with full reverse manual valve body, 3,200-rpm converter and B&M Megashifter.
The chassis is far from stock. The front end is an aftermarket unit that we’re loathe to name because we have concerns about its safety for street use. The back was mini-tubbed and given subframe connectors and a 4-link with coilovers. The Demon rolls on 18-inch Boze G-Machine rims, 12 inches wide in back and eight in front. There’s a fuel cell, too. Yes, Rod put lots of money into parts.
He did the interior work himself, too, mixing stock appearance and custom touches. The smoothed gray dash you see in the photos has since been replaced by a carbon fiber panel with Autometer carbon fiber gauges. Rod likes to get plenty of carbon fiber into his diet.
We were trying minimize devil clichés, so don’t blame us for the Flaming River steering column with repro Tuff wheel. Rod removed the stock heater controls but kept the glowing warmth with an aftermarket heater core. There’s a rotary knob on the dash to control it. He lives at 2,500 feet, so the cold comes early in the season. Modern touches include a 1,000-watt stereo that can add some warmth in a pinch, and a keyless ignition.
Rod wanted an “A-BODY” license plate, but while readily recognized in the U.S. he thought it might leave some Canadians scratching their heads. So he came up with the Canadian equivalent. Neat, eh? ‘Course we would have gone with something more like “FORKED” or something even more inappropriate to go with that cutesy demon cartoon.