Ted Parrott swears he was only there to grab a bite, enjoy a glass of bourbon, and cheer on the bidders. Perhaps, he jokes, he shouldn’t have skipped the food—at least not with an auction paddle in his hand.
“I can’t believe I won; I really can’t,” Parrott said after he won the opportunity to purchase a limited-edition 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon with a $14,700 bid in a charity auction at Bill Marsh Auto in Traverse City, Michigan. The total bill—car and charitable donation—comes to $103,761, before any sales tax.
“I did not come here to win. My only thought was, ‘I just don’t want to let anyone steal it.’ I set a price limit in my mind, and then when it went past that I started thinking, ‘Hey, it’s for charity.’ That final bid—that was sort of a nervous twitch. I told the other guy (who bid $14,600) that I was out after that, so if he wanted it, he just had to make one more bid and it was his. He didn’t.
“I guess I have some ‘splaining’ to do to my better half,” Parrott said with a laugh. “I may not have a house to go home to after this.”
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, street legal but designed for use on the drag strip, is the quickest production car ever built. With a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that produces 840 horsepower, the car can accelerate from 0–140 mph in about nine seconds. Only 3,000 are being built for the U.S. market and an additional 300 for Canada.
Dealers who sell the car at or below its MSRP are given priority for factory deliveries, but some found a loophole by using intermediaries to sell buyer allocations (the opportunity to purchase one) for $20,000 or more on eBay. Marsh Auto announced months ago that it would sell its lone Demon—painted white with black interior—for $1 less than its $89,062 sticker price, and with Chrysler’s blessing, Marsh auctioned the right to buy the car, with proceeds going to northern Michigan charities. Beneficiaries include the Father Fred Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Toys for Tots, and the Traverse City Patriot Game, a high school football showdown between TC West and TC Central that pays tribute to northern Michigan’s military veterans.
The only requirement: bidders had to be previous Marsh customers. Seven registered.
Auctioneer Ron Jolly
With more than 100 people present (including several Chrysler representatives), the event had a festive atmosphere, with complimentary appetizers and drinks. “We decided to make a big deal out of it like they used to back in the day,” Bill Marsh Jr. explained. “Back in the 1950s and ’60s, new models would come out at the same time, and dealers would bring in a high school band, create a lot of fanfare, and get the community involved. So that’s what we’ve done—we’ve stepped back in time. I can’t remember the last time we had a car that was this unique and had this kind of status.”
After watching a promotional video and unveiling Demon #576, the bidding began at $5,000. Parrott jumped in at $12,000, let two other bidders go back and forth, and then raised his paddle at $14,700.
“I was really excited about the Demon early on. I went to see it at Hagerty and I even got an insurance quote, just in case,” he said. [Hagerty, official insurance provider for the Demon, hosted one of three promotional vehicles in June.] “But as the months went by I was watered down a bit. I had my eye on an Avalanche Gray (Mustang) GT350 R, but I decided to wait and see. I drove by Marsh when the Demon was being delivered in December, and I turned around and went back to check it out.
“It’s really cool, and I’m a Mopar guy, but you can’t have them all. I really came here tonight to just have some fun and see how it turned out. This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
In addition to the many congratulations that Parrott received following the auction were suggestions that he could turn a tidy profit if he offered the car on eBay, where a half-dozen Demons are currently listed for $105,000 to almost $150,000. Parrott quickly dismissed the idea.
“I didn’t buy this to flip it,” he said. “I’m spot-welded to this thing. I just have to make some room for it now.”
One car that won’t be leaving Parrott’s garage is a red 2003 Dodge Viper that he calls Candace. As for naming the Demon, he said he’ll likely stick with Snow White, as suggested by one of the charity reps. “I think Candace and Snow White will get along brilliantly.”