A DIF­FER­ENT KIND OF DE­MON

YEARS BE­FORE DODGE OF­FERED THE CHAL­LENGER SRT DE­MON, BILL SEFTON AND MIKE STAVESKI BUILT A ’71 DE­MON WITH MOD­ERN-DAY PER­FOR­MANCE.

Mopar Muscle - - Contents - BY RICHARD TRUES­DELL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY THE AU­THOR

Years be­fore Dodge of­fered the Chal­lenger SRT De­mon, Bill Sefton and Mike Staveski built a ’71 De­mon with mod­ern-day per­for­mance.

Look­ing back on the de­vel­op­ment of Chrysler’s com­pact A-body plat­form through the 1960s and into the 1970s, of­ten over­looked is the in­tro­duc­tion of the Ply­mouth Valiant Duster in 1970 with its fast­back styling ap­plied to the boxy styling of its two-door sedan coun­ter­part. It was a huge suc­cess, and in an era when Dodges were mar­keted mostly through a dealer net­work sep­a­rate from Chrysler-ply­mouth, Dodge deal­ers screamed for their own ver­sion. For the 1971 model year, Dodge got their wish, the De­mon.

Re­port­edly named for a proposed ad line that said, “Come in for a De­mon-stra­tion,” the De­mon moniker was al­most im­me­di­ately de­nounced by some groups and sacked af­ter the 1972 model year, re­placed by Dart Sport. But for 1971 and 1972, the stylish De­mon fast­back hard­top was a sales suc­cess, even though it sold less than its Ply­mouth Duster coun­ter­part.

The orig­i­nal De­mon was of­fered with the ex­pected Mopar en­gine choices, 198 and 225ci Slant Six mo­tors and 318 and the high-revving 340 V-8s. With their light­weight bod­ies, the 340-equipped cars could sprint from 0-to-60 in less than 8 sec­onds — quite re­spectable for its time — but fall­ing far short of a con­tem­po­rary ’18 Dodge De­mon that will reach 100 mph in about 5 sec­onds on 91-oc­tane fuel.

But what if you wanted a ’71 De­mon with ac­cel­er­a­tion that would ap­proach that of its cur­rent name­sake? For starters, be­cause of the ’71’s lighter 3,353-pound curb weight, the 840hp mod­ern De­mon pow­er­house un­der­hood wouldn’t be nec­es­sary. So to an­swer the ques­tion, a built 426 Hemi from the De­mon’s era would most likely do the trick. This is ex­actly the road Mopar en­thu­si­ast Bill Sefton took when spec­i­fy­ing this ’71 Dodge De­mon, built by Mike Staveski in Hudson, Florida, who has built a num­ber of over-the-top cus­tom Mopars, in­clud­ing a se­ries of Viper-pow­ered clas­sic E-bod­ies, dubbed

Six-shoot­ers.

Sefton has been col­lect­ing cars for more than 25 years. He grew up in the Chicago area and started driv­ing in 1967, right at the heart of the mus­cle car era. Mr. Norm’s Grand Spauld­ing Dodge was one of his reg­u­lar haunts as he came of age. “I drooled over cars I couldn’t have. It made sense that I started Mr. Norm’s Garage years later. But I’m a brand X guy, I like all makes and mod­els. In my col­lec­tion, I have Chrysler, Ford, and GM prod­ucts but have more Mopars due to the fact that they have more va­ri­ety than the other man­u­fac­tur­ers. And while I like cars that are re­stored to stock, I also ap­pre­ci­ate resto­mods like this ’71 De­mon.”

Over the years, Sefton has owned many high-per­for­mance mus­cle cars, start­ing with his first, a ’71 Mus­tang Mach 1. His first col­lec­tor car was a ’67 435hp Tripower Corvette that he still owns. But at his heart, he’s an A-body Mopar guy. Over the years he’s owned many Darts, Bar­racu­das, and Demons. “Strangely enough, I’ve never had a Duster,” says Sefton. “With the Mr. Norm con­nec­tion, I’ve owned a ’68 Dart GSS, two ’71 De­mon GSSS, three ’72 De­mon GSSS ,and sev­eral other Grand Spauld­ing Dodge cars. I owned all four Hemi Un­der Glass cars and still have the ’69 Hemi Un­der Glass that rolled over with Jay Leno in it, along with a ’68 Su­per Stock Dart.”

Over the years, Sefton and Staveski have col­lab­o­rated on many hy­per-horse­power Mopars, sev­eral of them li­censed un­der the Mr. Norm’s Garage ban­ner. Ob­vi­ously, Mr. Norm be­ing Norm Kraus of Grand-spauld­ing Dodge fame, the leg­endary Chicago-based deal­er­ship re­spon­si­ble for many note­wor­thy street-le­gal and Mopar race cars of the mus­cle car era.

When asked what mo­ti­vated the pur­chase and build of the resto­mod De­mon, here’s how Sefton ex­plained it: “I wanted a resto­mod De­mon for an ev­ery­day driver. Mike Staveski built it. It’s a trib­ute to the ’71 GSS De­mon. It’s equipped with three two-barrel throt­tle bod­ies for its in­jec­tion and in­cludes a ’71 GSS Tri-power air

cleaner. Built many years ago, this Pro Tour­ing De­mon has re­mained in the Sefton col­lec­tion and re­mains one of his fa­vorite cars. Sefton has owned sev­eral clas­sic Dodge Demons over the years, in­clud­ing an orig­i­nal su­per­charged ’72 De­mon GSS, so he clearly has a bench­mark for a mod­ern-day ver­sion that de­vi­ates from the brute force ap­proach ap­plied by Dodge for its mod­ern-day, Chal­lenger-based edi­tion.

Sefton’s Pro Tour­ing, mod­ern-day De­mon, built well be­fore the new Chal­lenger SRT De­mon, started out as a solid-yet-not-per­fect ’71 De­mon. Auto Metal Di­rect sup­plied the re­place­ment sheet­metal. It was used as a pro­to­type by Staveski as a tem­plate for other new-gen-pow­ered Demons built to owner spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Un­der­hood is a new-gen­er­a­tion 6.1L Hemi with a twist, the Imag­ine In­jec­tion Six Pack Elec­tronic Stack sys­tem. The en­gine is con­trolled by a by a FAST En­gine Man­age­ment Sys­tem. It’s backed up with a clas­sic five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion, and the power is transmitted to the pave­ment through a Moser-built Dana 60 dif­fer­en­tial. Stop­ping power comes by Will­wood disc brakes with Mod­ern Mus­cle 20-inch wheels and Pirelli Pzero Rosso tires. AFCO sup­plied the fully ad­justable coilover sus­pen­sion, which when com­bined with the mod­ern rolling stock give this vin­tage-look­ing De­mon ca­pa­bil­i­ties sim­i­lar to its mod­ern-day coun­ter­part.

On the in­side, while sport­ing a vin­tage look, this De­mon is to­tally up­dated. To keep cool, Sefton and Staveski in­stalled a Vin­tage Air sys­tem and dis­carded the crank-down win­dows, re­plac­ing the cranks with a power win­dow setup from Elec­tric Life with the four switches mounted in the cen­ter con­sole. The bol­stered seats and the trim pan­els were cov­ered in ma­te­ri­als sup­plied by Yearone. While this De­mon lacks a state-of-theart ucon­nect in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, it’s equipped with a mod­ern all-sony sys­tem with an in-dash re­ceiver, a trunk-mounted multi-chan­nel am­pli­fier along with up­graded speak­ers and sub­woofer. Up­dat­ing the re­ceiver re­cently, the sys­tem now has fully in­te­grated Blue­tooth ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Sefton can di­rectly in­ter­face his iphone for mod­ern nav­i­ga­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties, with turn-by-turn in­struc­tions that play through the speak­ers … just like a mod­ern De­mon.

Be­lieve it or not, this is one of Sefton’s reg­u­lar driv­ers. He ex­plains: “The way Mike Staveski built the car, it has very mod­ern han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics — some­thing that Mike is well-known for hav­ing built so many ex­cep­tional cars over the last two decades — and runs very strong. It has tremen­dous eye­ball ap­peal ev­ery time I drive it; I get lots of thumbs up. It’s got style, with­out ques­tion. Some lib­er­ties were taken with the build to make the car rec­og­niz­ably a De­mon, but with an up­dated look. Like the way Mike han­dled all the De­mon graph­ics, es­pe­cially on the tail­panel, with air­brush­ing by Jaymz Air Stu­dio. Over the years, I’ve ex­hib­ited the car at MCACN, the Play­boy Man­sion, and Mus­cle Cars at the Strip.”

Cars like Sefton’s Pro Tour­ing De­mon il­lus­trate that in­no­va­tive builders like Staveski can work won­ders with the sup­port of a vi­brant af­ter­mar­ket that con­tin­ues to pro­vide the com­po­nents to match their vi­sion and cre­ativ­ity. The driv­e­line, as­sem­bled more than a half-decade ago, re­mains con­tem­po­rary and up-to-date, with the fuel in­jec­tion and air con­di­tion­ing, it has daily driver abil­i­ties — even in the sum­mer­time in Ari­zona, where tem­per­a­tures of­ten rise above 120 de­grees F. This is one De­mon that has come a long way from what the Dodge prod­uct plan­ners en­vi­sioned when, in 1970, they pre­pared the De­mon as the Dodge ver­sion of the Duster. Even al­most five decades on, things turned out pretty well.

The con­tem­po­rary 6.1L, Srt8-de­rived Hemi fea­tures an Imag­ine In­jec­tion Six Pack sys­tem with a FAST En­gine Man­age­ment Sys­tem. From the front, 6.1 liters of mod­ern Hemi mus­cle barely fit be­tween the wheel­wells.

What a ’70s-era De­mon in­te­rior should look like to­day with bol­stered buck­ets keep­ing you planted at up to 1g lat­eral ac­cel­er­a­tion

This is the view that Bill Sefton shows the un­wary: his tail­light, when cruis­ing the streets of the greater Phoenix metro area. Im­proved in­stru­ment il­lu­mi­na­tion and the ac­ces­sory gauges are ev­i­dent from this view. The in­te­rior mod­i­fi­ca­tions are sub­tle,...

The qual­ity of the body­work is ex­hib­ited by this top-front, three-quar­ter view.

Jaymz Air Stu­dio pro­vided the up­dated De­mon graph­ics over the paint done by Time Ma­chines — Steveski’s com­pany at the time.

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