May 28, 2012
ou had to know that once Chrysler got its financial mojo back, it would not let Chevrolet’s Corvette ZR-1 or Ford’s Shelby Mustang go unanswered.
Ready to hiss it out, an all-new Viper was introduced at the New York Auto Show. Slithering away from Dodge’s rock, Viper will be sold under the Street Racing and Technology (SRT) brand.
“After a gut-wrenching period of uncertainty, the Street and Racing technology brand team is extremely proud that our hand-built in Detroit, flagship supercar is back and ready to take on the performance car world,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of SRT.
“Beyond being the flagship for the new SRT brand, the launch of the 2013 Viper proves that we simply would not let the performance icon of the Chrysler Group die. Willed to live on by a very special group of performance enthusiasts inside the company and across Viper Nation, this SRT team under our new leadership was challenged to not just continue the legendary Viper, but to create a world-class supercar that would showcase the very best we have to offer.”
You will never mistake the cross-bar air intake, arching fenders, and sloping backlight as from anything but a Viper. More attention was paid to aerodynamics for enhanced performance, but all of the iconic styling cues remain.
Fortunately, designers finally gave the car an interior worthy of its pedigree. All of the expected electronics, with touchscreens and voice controls, are present.
Under the aluminum and carbon-fibre skin is an 8.4-liter all-aluminum V10 engine that generates 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. A Tremec 6-speed manual transmission and driver-selectable suspension system compliment the wicked engine.
For those of you who though Fiat’s control of Chrysler might doom such hyper-exotic machinery, remember the Italian company also keeps Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo in its stable.
Over 20 years ago, a Dodge Viper concept car showed the world Chrysler was alive and roaring back to health. History does tend to repeat itself.