Last week we pondered the imponderable Dodge Demon and its 800-odd horsepower and its under-six-figures price. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it’s going to stop dealer gouging:
According to Motor Authority, FCA passenger vehicle head Tim Kuniskis says the brand doesn’t want anyone taken advantage of and is very aware of the exploitative pricing that occurred with the Hellcat. Kuniskis says that, since each Demon will have an individually numbered plaque on the dash with the owner’s name, dealers will be forced to order every car for a predetermined buyer. The same goes for the optional customized “Demon Crate” toolbox Dodge is offering.
If you’re wondering what’s stopping dealers from just buying models in advance and ordering those plaques from the manufacturer, Dodge is.
Kuniskis explained that the automaker will only add the plaque on the original vehicle at the factory. Dealers cannot change the plaque after they’ve ordered the car and, while they can order it blank and change it themselves, Dodge won’t associate the name with each car’s serialized number. It won’t be “official” and might look a little off — making the car far less desirable.
When asked if the subsequent owners of a Demon could contact FCA and order a new plaque with their name on it Kuniskis said, “Tough shit.”
I have my doubts about this. For example, the Complete Book of Collectible Cars 1940-1980 (New York: Beekman, 1982) recounts this sad tale of the 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Replica:
A novel touch was that the identifying “Pace Car” decals were supplied separately so the owner could apply them if desired … Standard equipment included power windows, electric rear window defroster, air conditioning, sport mirrors, and other features, which boosted the Pace Car’s price over $4000 above that of a standard Corvette. Because of the announced limited production run, however, the Replicas fetched upwards of $28,000 as would-be collector’s items when new. This tempted some owners of standard ‘Vettes to paint their cars to match to pass them off as “factory” Pace Cars. All this created much anguish for dealers and buyers alike. In fact, it still does. More than with any other factory special, it will pay to make sure that a ’78 Corvette Pace Car is, in fact, the genuine article.
Although the General did leave a hint:
The clue is the seats: similar to, but not exactly the same as, the ones used in production ’79s.
Which were used in no other ’78s, not even in the Silver Anniversary Edition. And there’s always the VIN.
Incidentally, $28,000 in the fall of 1977 today would be, um, $111,180.