The Chrysler PVO Team
The PVO team was similar to Ford's Special Vehicles Teams, Mercedes' AMG, BMW's M team, and the Shelby Dodge team. Dodge PVO vehicles will be called SRTs, while Chrysler and Jeep versions will be introduced with presumably different labels. The team has already designed a Neon SRT-4, Viper SRT-10, Ram SRT-10, and is reportedly working on a Stratus SRT-6. The Viper and Neon have been introduced.
Chrysler writes that:
Compared with Dodge's R/T credo of "contemporary interpretations of performance," SRT will come to stand for "ultimate interpretations of performance."
PVO performance models engineered for the Dodge brand will carry the SRT badge. Chrysler and Jeep performance lines will be announced in the future.
The Dodge SRT performance signature includes high-output engine performance, sport suspensions, fully functional aerodynamic packages, higher performance wheel and tire packages, sporty interiors and performance-oriented exhausts and brake systems.
John Fernandez, Director of the PVO team, is responsible for directing performance car and motorsports engineering for Chrysler Group. Beginning in 2002, PVO is making an impact on the Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup program by combining the technical expertise of Chrysler Group's specialty vehicles with the engineering program of Dodge Motorsports. Fernandez also oversees product direction for Mopar Performance Parts and other technical aspects of motorsports. Fernandez joined Chrysler Corp. in 1969 as a co-op intern who grew up watching Richard Petty racing on the dirt tracks of upstate New York. Fernandez became a full-time project engineer in 1972 after receiving his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Detroit. Five years later, he earned his MBA at his alma mater. Fernandez came to Team Viper as Executive Engineer in 1997 and has brought his passionate focus to specialty vehicle engineering ever since, pioneering low-volume vehicles such as the new Neon-based Dodge SRT-4 and the Dodge Viper SRT-10. We have a separate biography of John Fernandez here.
Other biographies, presumably written by Chrysler, were provided by Travis Kittlitz of Apex Performance Parts. Note that Chrysler's experience as the #1 seller of turbocharged vehicles in the world hardly seems to have been tapped, in favor of younger people (their age is noted after their names). The following people were on the Neon SRT-4 team.
Stephan A. Zweidler, 30, Lead SRT-4 Development Engineer
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: Four (plus one as a summer intern)
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: It's the first sub-compact car that can give a V-8 Mustang or Camaro a run for their money, right after you drive it out the dealer showroom. Ever seen a grown man in an expensive muscle car cry? Just wait until he catches up to you at the next red light.
NAME: Judy Willoughby, 32, Electrical Systems Engineer
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: Less than two
DOLLAR AMOUNT INVESTED IN CURRENT VEHICLE: Nothing in my current car, but hours in my father's '71 Vette.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: Speed.
Marques McCammon, 26
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: Four this July
CURRENT POSITION: Program Manager Neon/PT Cruiser, Small Vehicle Platform Team
DOLLAR AMOUNT INVESTED IN CURRENT VEHICLE: Most recent number is about $1100. Sad to say that is almost all audio, but I had a bad speaker in the car that needed to be replaced. I can't even enjoy my morning commute if the speaker's buzzing. Then, if you replace one, then the others sound out of place. It's a vicious cycle.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: It's REAL, and not everyone believed that it would ever be. That means a lot considering that I (and several others) mortgaged by life to see it happen. Also, the fact that it's just so right. I mean, com'on, I smoked a Camaro with an early mule. Our team helped create a small part of car history, and it's a piece we can own.
Dave Chyz, 36
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: 15
CURRENT POSITION: Vehicle Build Specialist/Engineer/Fabricator/Welder/Build Coordinator/Driver Mechanic/Stockroom Attendant/Hi-lo Operator/Machinist.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: Everything.
Marc Musial, 35
CURRENT POSITION: Engine Performance Development/Calibration, I-4 Engine Systems DOLLAR AMOUNT INVESTED IN CURRENT VEHICLE: Untold thousands in each of my five toys.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: The fact that we finally got someone to listen to us and build it. (Now I can replace my '92 Dodge IROC R/T with a turbo.) I love the speed and power.
Brad Dotson, 39, SRT-4 Program Manager
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: 16
DOLLAR AMOUNT INVESTED IN CURRENT VEHICLE: About $1,000.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: The potential to go and pounce on some unsuspecting "muscle" cars.
Jeff Reece, 32, Vehicle Synthesis Engineer
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: Eight
DOLLAR AMOUNT INVESTED IN CURRENT VEHICLE: As little as possible (I get my fix from the cars at work).
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: Torque.
Tom Wierzchon, 28, RT-4 Engine Engineer
YEARS AT CHRYSLER: Seven
DOLLAR AMOUNT INVESTED IN CURRENT VEHICLE: My daily driver is unmodified, and I avoid actually adding up what I've spent on my racecar.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DODGE SRT-4: Showing people the tail lights.