Finder’s Keepers: Chris Yates’ 1971 Dodge Demon Sizzler


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“My father and I had been looking for a 1971 Dodge Demon off and on for a few years and even started gathering parts before we even had the car,” Chris Yates began. In August 2010, Chris saw an ad for a Demon Sizzler for sale for $600 not that far away from them in Raleigh, North Carolina. It looked like a good project based on the pictures in the ad. He asked for a couple pictures of the frame rails and was told by his father if the car looked solid then they would make the trip.

The car was being listed for sale by John Pasemann at US Car Tool, LLC. Chris said, “John took the time to lie down in a nest of fire ants and snap a couple pictures of the underside just to truly show the full condition of the car. That’s a true honest and dedicated seller!” The pictures of the frame rails showed that they looked surprisingly clean, so Chris and his father borrowed a car trailer and made the trip down to the US Car Tool facility. If you haven’t heard of US Car Tool, they make all kinds of parts like chassis stiffening sub-frame connectors, driveshaft loops, and rotisseries to name a few of their products.

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Once there, John greeted them and took the two out back to show them the Demon. They both looked over it and agreed that it was exactly as it appeared in the pictures. So, they made the deal with John and started to load the car up to take home. Chris noted, “It was so hot outside that it fried the electric winch, so we had to hand crank and push it onto the trailer. The heat also played havoc on my digital camera, as I took a bunch of pictures while loading the car and also of the neat stuff in John’s shop, but none of it saved onto the memory card for some reason!”

While talking to John about the Demon and what their plans were for it, he told them he’d be right back and walked off into his shop. Shortly after, he came back holding a long cardboard box. Inside the box was a brand new set of US Car Tool laser cut sub-frame connectors for the Demon!

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According to the inspection sticker on the windshield, the Demon had been off the road since 1988. It appeared that at some point the car struck a deer (well, they hope it was a deer) and that is why the windshield was smashed in and the hood, grille, bumper, and front valance had been changed. The rest of the Demon was all original in its GY3 Citron Yella paint with the remnants of the white side and tail stripes and black hood stripe up the cowl. Unfortunately from being parked for 22 years, someone smashed in both side windows and stole the original Rallye wheels, body color sport mirrors, Tuff wheel and radiator.

After vacuuming out all the broken glass and headliner debris, they ripped out the old carpet and discovered perfect floor pans! Chris said this was the first Mopar that he had ever bought that didn’t need floors put in it. Chris was really curious to see if the Demon still had the original build sheet so he decided to pop out the back seat. Removing the back seat revealed a mouse nest and two of the original small bolt pattern Rallye wheel center caps hidden away.

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Chris also discovered most of the original build sheet to the car! Chris explained, “The interior is also really interesting as it is the 1972 black and white houndstooth inserts put into the 1971 pattern seat covers and not the black and white plaid that was offered in 1971. He also noticed the door frames were not gloss black like most other black interior cars but instead, they were a type of flat black. The door frames had been painted the same black lacquer suede finish as on the dash and it was even called out on the build sheet.”

The Slant Six in the Demon turns over and even cranks with a battery but Chris says the plan is to pull the drivetrain in favor of a modern 5.7L Hemi V8 that he has with fuel injection and a 5-speed transmission. His plan is to keep the bench seat interior and the outside of the car completely original like it came from the factory, just with a modern drivetrain. Chris says, “If the Slant Six and transmission in the car turn out to be the original numbers matching pieces then I’m going to store them away and maybe one day, decide to re-mate them with the car.”

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Cody Cole

Cody Cole

Car Feature Editor – cody.cole@shawgroupmedia.com Since the age of 4, Cody has been obsessed with everything Mopar. On Christmas of 1998, Cody's parents gave him a rusty '69 Charger shell that his father saved from a field. Cody's garage still features that '69 Charger as well as the additions of a '70 Coronet, '71 Charger R/T, '71 Road Runner, '04 SRT-4, '06 Grand Cherokee SRT8, '08 Challenger SRT8 and a '17 Ram 1500 Rebel. Cody can truly and proudly say him and his wife are true Mopar nuts in love with all types of Mopars!

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