Best Muscle Cars

Memories of the Original Dodge Demon

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By Mark Weisseg

Once upon a time when I was just a kid my older brother had friends with these cars. Sort of normal looking cars back in the day but Dodge stuck a 340 under that hood. With that they had dual exhausts, real hood scoops and a few other touches. It made the car a serious contender on the flat streets of Chicago. Remember, back in the late 60’s and early 70’s the streets were littered with hot rods and punks.
So, a friend of my brother had one and I always loved the sound the dual exhaust made. Even back then the smell of gasoline was filling my brain. His name was Roger. He was a bit of a wild man even as a teenager but he was also a good friend. He loved doing burnouts and he loved speed. He raced all the time on the streets without fear. The guy maybe had a screw loose up stairs but we loved Roger. He even had a motorcycle and a International Scout. Out of the goodness of his heart he would plow the snow out of our driveway to score extra points with Mom and Dad.
So, one innocent summer afternoon I found myself the passenger in Rogers Dodge Demon. Nice guy, nice car, and all was going smoothly. Now, if you know Chicago at all the entire city is laid out in plots. Everything runs north , south, east, and west. It’s impossible to get lost there. But, many streets, side streets and alley ways abound. So, Roger and I are slowly going through the streets and suddenly out of nowhere he slams the gas pedal to the floor and the car takes off like a missile.

I expected this to last ten seconds or so but Roger is gaining speed and I can see the speedometer getting close to 90 and climbing. We are on city streets now where cars are crossing in front of us and yet his foot is on the floor. Before I know it we are over one hundred miles per hour and I am now begging him to stop. After nearly a mile and a half of this terror he slows down and stops. He looks at me and I must have been sheet white with fear. We were on city streets with streets that crossed in front of us. He blew through stop signs, yield signs and more. At first I was relieved I was not killed. It was the worst terror I had felt to that point in my life. He acted as if there was no problem. Now, I got angry and told him how I felt but he ignored me. We drive silently home after that. I guess he wanted to show me what the car was made of and his driving skills. Upon arrival at home I later told my brother what happened and he was furious with Roger. However, they stayed friends but I never got in a car again with him. Ever.
It was not much later into the following year Rogers luck ran out. Turns out he was riding his motorcycle and loved to do jumps at railroad crossings as there was always a hump at the tracks. The story I got is he made his fast run , hit the hump like always, went into mid air as he always did, but there was one problem. There was a car on the other side of the railroad tracks and he and his bike went through the rear window. The two people in the car were shaken badly but Roger took a big hit. In the end, he lost a leg as a teenager but survived the accident. That was many years ago and I have lost touch with Roger. Fearless Roger as we called him. I wonder about him now and then and wonder with age and one leg if he settled down. He would be in his early 60’s now. So, every time I see a Dodge Demon I think of Roger and how we both cheated death one very quiet afternoon in Chicago.


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