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1971-1972 Dodge Dart Demon 340

In this edition of Muscle Car Milestones, the 1971-1972 Dodge Dart Demon 340 is the star of the show. This devilish compact filled a niche that was becoming prevalent in the early 1970s. With insurance companies asserting lofty premium on big block muscle and Uncle Sam pushing his clean air agenda, compact muscle cars provided an alternative to those seeking affordable performance. This card-carrying member of the Dodge Scat Pack proved good things do come in small packages. Let’s see what makes the 1971-1972 Dodge Dart Demon worth checking out.

1971: The Devil in the Details

A walkaround of the 1971 Dodge Dart Demon 340 reveals front hood and fender edge molding, body side and lower deck striping, and “Demon 340” badges on the front fenders and rear deck. Bright drain trough molding, ventless door glass, and frenched rear lights round out a few other highlights of the Demon 340. Notable options include a dual scoop hood, hood pins, and a rear spoiler. Also of note, this compact A-body was available only as a coupe.

The 1971 Demon Dart 340’s plethora of standard performance equipment includes 14 x 5.5J wheels, E70 x 14-inch wide-tread bias-ply tires, and heavy-duty brakes. A Rallye Suspension package with heavy-duty torsion bars, heavy-duty shocks, sway bar, and heavy-duty rear springs was also standard.

Inside, the Demon comes equipped with a 150-mph speedometer, trip odometer, and fuel, engine temperature, alternator, and oil pressure gauges. A vinyl front bench seat in black, blue, or tan, dome lamp, and heater/windshield defroster with two-speed fan also come standard. Optional equipment includes a tachometer, power steering, and a foam covered “Tuff” steering wheel.

The 1971 Dodge Dart Demon 340 came equipped with a 340 cubic-inch V8 with 275 horsepower and 340 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine featured a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, and a forged crankshaft. This powerplant also included a double-roller timing chain, unsilenced air cleaner, and a 10.3:1 compression ratio. A three-speed floor-mounted manual transmission came standard, but drivers could opt for a four-speed manual with Hurst shifter or a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic.

So how well did the 1971 Dodge Dart Demon 340 perform? Motor Trend pitted the Demon against other pint-sized performers such as the AMC Hornet SC 360, Chevrolet Nova SS 350, and the Mercury Comet 302. In the January 1971 issue, the Demon 340 ran from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds and sprinted the quarter mile in 14.49 seconds at 98.25 miles per hour. From 0 to 60, the Demon 340 was 0.2 seconds than the AMC Hornet SC 360 all the way up to 2.2 seconds faster than the Mercury Comet 302. In the quarter mile, the Demon 340 was faster by 1.43 seconds than the Chevrolet Nova SS 350 and 1.81 seconds quicker than the Mercury Comet 302.

1972: The Times Are A-Changin’

1972 brought some changes to the Demon 340’s exterior. A new grille with a horizontal partition replaced the previous year’s vertical split. The extra-cost double-intake single scoop was traded for 1971’s single scoop. Metal “Demon” and “340” fender badging replaced the previous year’s decals. Revised parking lights and side mark lamps, along with brighter backup lighting, also round out some of the exterior updates.

The 1972 Dodge Dart Demon 340 was still powered by a 340 cubic-inch V8. However, power was now rated at 240 horsepower and 290 lb.-ft. of torque with an 8.5:1 compression ratio. That may seem like a drastic drop in horsepower, but keep in mind, a significant percentage of the lower rating was due to the shift from gross to net horsepower ratings.

The Demon 340 was still fairly quick on the track. With a quarter mile time of 14.97 seconds at 91 miles per hour, this compact cruiser was still a decent performer.

Options available for the 1972 Dodge Dart Demon include power-assisted front disc brakes, Sure-Grip differential, and Rallye wheels with chrome trim rings. An option of interest was the manually operated, soft folding sunroof which few drivers took advantage of and is rarely seen.

The Dodge Dart Demon 340 disappeared after the 1972 model year. Word is backlash over the “Demon” name drew the ire of religious groups and this helped bring about its demise. It was replaced in 1973 by the Dart 340 Sport. Even though the Demon 340’s time was short, it left its mark on the compact muscle car market.

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