Skip to main content

Well, Earthlings, we did it: the fastest muscle car ever is here, and it is Dodge’s final nuclear option to the soon-to-be-over horsepower wars. That’s right; the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170, like its 2018 predecessor, was the fastest production muscle car ever as soon as it hit the pavement. However, the latest Demon stands on the shoulders of American muscle royalty from past decades. So, how does the Demon 170 compare with titans like the 1966 Shelby Cobra and 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda?

Is the SRT Demon 170 the fastest muscle car ever?

A silver and black Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 does a burnout on a drag strip.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 | Stellantis

The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 isn’t just the fastest production muscle car; it’s the only factory coupe to run on a 170-proof Ethanol blend. Further, the Demon 170’s signature high-octane cocktail is the source of its name beyond the simple “Demon” moniker of its predecessor. 

Moreover, the Demon 170 is the final new Challenger model before the marque discontinues the namesake. In fact, the “Last Call” lineup marks the end of the Challenger and Charger models as we know them. Of course, the Charger will return as an all-electric coupe, complete with its own synthetic soundtrack. 

Just how fast is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170?

The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 produces 1,025 horsepower and 945 lb-ft of torque on its 170-proof blend. Along with a prepped surface, grippy drag radial tires, and myriad drag-strip-ready performance kit, the Demon 170 will hit 60 mph over half a second quicker than its predecessor. 

0 to 60 mphStanding quarter mile
SRT Demon 1701.66 seconds8.91 seconds at 151.17 mph
SRT Demon2.3 seconds9.65 seconds at 140 mph

Were the muscle cars of past decades fast?

A blue and white Shelby Cobra 427, one of the fastest muscle cars ever, shows off its roadster body.
Shelby Cobra | ISC Images Archives via Getty Images

While the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is the undisputed and over-the-top last word in the modern horsepower wars, the cars of yesteryear were no joke. For instance, the iconic Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” might have debatable muscle car status, but its performance credentials are undeniable. 

Still, traction limitations, tire technology, and analog simplicity kept many of the most beloved and fastest muscle cars of previous generations from being as fast as the Demon or comparable supercharged muscle cars. 

What are some of the fastest classic muscle cars?

A purple 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda shows off its bright color pallet and shaker hood.
1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images via Getty Images

Despite rolling off the assembly line over fifty years ago, these muscular mainstays are some of the fastest classic muscle cars ever. 

Year, make, and model0 to 60 mph 
1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake”4.5 seconds
1968 Dodge Charger HEMI (426ci)4.8 seconds
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 4295.3 seconds
1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda5.8 seconds

While none of these classic muscle machines will keep pace with a supercharged Dodge Challenger like a Hellcat or Demon, they are properly impressive relics of a pre-malaise era automotive landscape. For instance, Automobile Catalog says the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 will dispatch of a sprint to 60 mph in around 5.3 seconds. That’s quick enough to contend with a Coyote-powered Mustang GT from 2010. 

As different as these cars are, they all remind us of the V8-powered pioneering that led us to our current supercharged summits. It’s a victory lap ending with high-horsepower boulevard heroes bowing out to an alternatively-powered future.