The Dodge Tomahawk Concept Motorcycle
The Tomahawk is a Viper V-10 based motorcycle, a 500 horsepower engine with four wheels beneath it. The engine breathes through twin throttle bodies mounted right up front (the two round things above the front tires are). While the Tomahawk has the same number of tires as a car, it keeps the motorcycle form factor otherwise.
Chrysler sold nine replicas through Neiman Marcus, for $555,000 each. The motorcycles cannot be driven on public roads. A spokesman told Reuters they were meant as rolling sculptures, presumably to avoid legal liability. They are driveable - just not (legally) on public roads.
The rear wheel drive machine uses monocoque construction; the engine is a stressed member. The body is made of billet aluminum.
The Tomahawk concept is an awesome-sounding machine; we saw it started and revved. Clouds of blue smoke vied for attention with the throaty rumble of the mighty V-10, and hitting the gas visibly opened the twin throttle body blades up front where the headlight would normally be. Though deeper and more rumbling than most motorcycles, it did not seem to be louder overall - just deeper, with no shrill overtones.
Wolfgang Bernhard, Chrysler's first mate at the time, was said to be enthusiastic about that project, so much so that hundreds were projected to be built at under $200,000 each (probably below breakeven). They reportedly cost Chrysler over $100,000 to build (the work is outsourced), not including engineering costs.
The Dodge Tomahawk can reach 60 miles an hour in about 2.5 seconds, and has a theoretical top speed of nearly 400 mph. Each pair of wheels is separated by a few inches and each wheel has an independent suspension. Bernhard said four wheels were necessary to handle the power from the engine.
Car reviews and buyer advice
No reviews possible. No buyer advice feasible.
Is it a motorcycle?
Donald Poindexter, Jr., noted that the Tomahawk isn’t really a motorcycle; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proclaims that a motorcycle can have no more that 3 wheels on the ground during normal operation. Donald wrote,
“For the Tomahawk to have been sold in the U.S. for road use, it would have had to pass all of the automobile safety standards. Had the engineers replaced one of the tire pairs (either front or back) with a single tire (for a total of three), it would have been a motorcycle, although I think the lights might have been in violation of the regulations.”
The Tomahawk, then, was a concept motorcycle, but does not meet the legal requirements to be classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. government, or to be driven on the street — which may be one reason why it was never produced, save for nine copies sold by Neiman-Marcus for use only on private roads (or, as they phrased it, as automotive sculpture).
Viper V10 engine
Suspension, brakes, tires, and wheels
Front suspension: Outboard, single-sided parallel upper and lower control arms made from polished billet aluminum. Mounted via ball joint to aluminum steering uprights and hubs. Five degrees caster. Single, adjustable centrally located coil-over damper (2.25-inch coil with adjustable spring perch); pullrod and rocker-actuated mono linkage. Center-lock racing-style hubs.Rear suspension: Hand-fabricated box-section steel inboard swing arms, incorporating hydral-link lockable recirculating hydraulic circuit parking stand. Single adjustable Koni coil-over damper (2.25-inch coil with adjustable spring perch); pushrod and rocker-actuated mono linkage. Center-lock racing-style hubs
Front brakes: 20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled machined stainless steel rotors, one per wheel. Two four-piston fixed aluminum calipers per wheel (16 pistons total), custom designed. Blue anodized caliper finish. Hand-activated.
Rear brakes: 20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled cast-iron rotors, one per wheel. One four-piston fixed aluminum caliper per wheel (8 pistons total), custom designed. Blue anodized caliper finish. Foot-activated.
Tires and wheels: Billet aluminum discs, asymmetrical, twin 20x4 front, twin 20x5 rear, with custom made Dunlop symmetrical tires (P120/60R20 in front, P150/50R20 in back).
Alternator: 136-amp high-speed
Manual, foot-shifted, aluminum-cased two-speed, sequential racing-style with dog ring, straight-cut gears
Front Sprockets: 14 teeth
Dual-hub center type steering. Linkage uses rocker arm and push/pull rod with roller bearings. Billet aluminum steering yoke with aluminum grips and billet levers. Steering Lock: 20°; Lean Angle: 45°
Length: 102” •
Width: 27.7” •
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.