Courtesy of Mecum Auctions

Mr. Norm’s street machine

Supercharging was a slick solution that boosted the factory 340 V8 to a stout 360 hp

  • Built by Mr. Norm’s Grand-Spaulding Dodge
  • The only one finished in Petty Blue
  • Authentic Paxton-supercharged Mr. Norm GSS Demon
  • Complete rotisserie restoration
  • Date code-correct 340-ci V8
  • NOS Paxton supercharger specifically for GSS Demon
  • Console-shifted Torqueflite automatic transmission
  • Black bucket seats, console, factory gauges
  • Sport steering wheel
  • Black hood accents
  • Twin hood scoops, hood-mounted tach
  • Solid-state AM radio
  • Auxiliary gauges
  • Multiple award winner with judging sheets
  • Numerous magazine features
  • Signed by Mr. Norm Kraus

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Dodge Demon GSS
Years Produced:1972
Number Produced:Approximately 100
Original List Price:$3,695
SCM Valuation:$50,000–$75,000
Tune Up Cost:$150
Distributor Caps:$19.95
Chassis Number Location:VIN plate on the driver’s side instrument panel behind windshield
Engine Number Location:Pad on the right side of the block, to the rear of the engine mount
Club Info:Mr. Norm’s Sport Club
Alternatives:1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS5, 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440, 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot U72, sold for $69,550, including buyer’s premium, at Dana Mecum’s 26th Original Spring Classic in Indianapolis, IN, on May 18, 2013.

The ’60s was the era of the muscle car, but not everyone was content with what the Big Three considered fast. Some buyers wanted cars that were faster than fast. And for those buyers, there were dealers who would oblige their every need.

More speed? No problem

These dealers knew how to make the cars the manufacturers wouldn’t — or couldn’t — build themselves. Most car guys knew who those dealers were. If you were a Chevy man, you’d see Yenko in Pennsylvania, Baldwin-Motion in New York, Dana in LA, and Berger in Michigan. Blue Oval fans flocked to Tasca Ford out East. Royal Oak Pontiac was almost in the shadow of the GM Tech Center, and made the fastest “Tin Indians” around. And for the Mopar crowd, 3300 Grand Avenue in Chicago was the place to be: Mr. Norm‘s Grand-Spaulding Dodge.

Norm Kraus knew the market. He and his brother Len began selling used cars from their father’s gas station on the corner of Grand and Spaulding streets in 1948. They built a new Dodge showroom in 1962, and sensing the growing performance market, they turned their focus on selling Dodge’s hottest cars in the mid-’60s. When those cars weren’t fast enough, Mr. Norm and his lead mechanic, Gary Dyer, started building their own. The team built the first 383-powered Dart in 1967, which became the factory’s prototype. Their first series-built “GSS” was a ’68 Dart stuffed with 440 power, which also became the prototype for the ’69 Dodge Dart M-code.

Ducking premiums, boosting power

In 1971, at the twilight of the horsepower era, Mr. Norm’s developed the Dodge Demon 340 Six Pack. This car kept performance high while leaving the insurance premiums relatively low. On paper it looked like any other 340 Demon, but it wasn’t — this was a full-blown performance machine with quarter-mile times to prove it.

Most muscle-car history books will tell you the market for these cars ended by 1972. For the most part, it did, thanks to a number of converging events. Skyrocketing insurance rates, government emissions mandates, and changing market demographics made the market all but disappear, but Norm Kraus knew some Americans still had that need for speed.

But it was a new automotive era, one in which ever-larger engines, higher compression and wilder cams could no longer be used to create power. Mr. Norm knew that significantly modifying the factory engine would raise the ire of the government, so he performed an old hot-rod trick: He installed a Paxton supercharger.

Force-fed speed

That supercharger fed seven pounds of boost to a custom-made aluminum air box around the factory carburetor. Mopar’s A-block 340 made 275 hp in 1970, but the compression had to be lowered in 1972 to accommodate the move to lead-free gas, which allowed Mr. Norm’s to supercharge this engine without internal modifications. It was a slick solution that boosted the factory 340 from a wheezing 240 hp all the way to a stout 360 horses.

The GSS package also included oversize pulleys, a modified fuel pump and pressure regulator, a heavy-duty oil pump and valve spring retainers, and a Sure-Grip 3.55 rear axle. Before delivery, every GSS was dyno-tuned on Mr. Norm’s Clayton chassis dyno. My first car was a 1970 Duster 340 4-speed with 3.23 gears that was ridiculously fast to 60 mph, so I can only imagine what an extra 85 hp and 3.55 gears would be like.

The base price was a reasonable $3,695, but these were truly custom cars, and Mr. Norm’s could make them as plain or as fancy as the customer wanted. That bought 0–60 in about 5.6 seconds, and the quarter mile in around 13.92 at 106 mph — these were true muscle machines.

First of its kind, last of its era

Mr. Norm’s 1972 Dodge Demon 340 GSS was essentially an early version of today’s performance cars. Look under the hood of a late-model ZL1 Camaro, ZR1 Corvette or Shelby GT500 and you’ll see a modern interpretation of this methodology.

The 1972 Demon GSS was the last performance car Mr. Norm’s built in the period. Sensing the potential explosion in the conversion-van market, Norm Kraus turned his attention there. In 1974, Grand-Spaulding Dodge became the world’s largest Dodge dealer, thanks to conversion-van fever.

Some records from Mr. Norm’s performance years were lost in a flood, but Norm Kraus remembers “about 100” GSS cars were built out of 8,750 1972 Demon 340s. But unlike COPO Chevys, Hemi 4-doors, and other special-order factory anomalies, these were just stone-stock Demons, according to the VIN and build sheet, and that makes them difficult to authenticate — especially when the original engine is missing. That was the case when our feature car was discovered in 2003. An entire month was spent verifying that this truly was a GSS before the decision to restore was made.

Russo and Steele auctioned this car at Scottsdale in January, but it was a no-sale. Five months later, Mecum was able to sell it at Indy for $69k.

The 1970–74 Plymouth Duster/Dodge Demon A-body twins have never had the market presence of the more traditional Mopar performance cars, and the only factory cars to have any real value are the ’70 340 and, to a lesser degree, the less-powerful ’71 340 cars. Normally, the 1972 Demons would have value only as the basis for a custom car, but Mr. Norm’s GSS is no ordinary ’72. $69k for a little slice of Mr. Norm’s magic? That seems like a good deal for both buyer and seller.

(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.)