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Viper: 640 hp and much more

by David Zatz on

640 horsepower, 600 lb-ft of torque, one hundred pounds less weight.

Ralph Gilles came out first, said hello to the group, and said hello to those who were watching via Web.

It was designed in Auburn Hills, by Americans, and will be built in Detroit, “but we did consult with our friends in Ferrari and Maserati,” to get their skills in low-volume products, and are using some of their suppliers, e.g. for seats, to give the Viper some more “magic.”

During the “three headed dog” time, as Ralph called it, they almost sold the Viper off; Sergio, though, said, “We don’t sell our own.” He noted that it’s an icon, so they respect what the styling is all about. He mentioned the Hot Wheels car (pulling one out of his pocket), and said “As much as it’s been annoying to us, it’s been fun to watch the car being imagined on line.”

The car shows that “we still have a soul at Chrysler.” They did look at some platforms from Italy but decided to stick with what they had; the completely updated the frame, brought back the magnesium beam which really does stiffen the platform, an aluminum and used new technology to make it 50% stiffer than the 2010 Viper. The engine is 28 pounds lighter and is more powerful but still an 8.4 liter V10. There are seven part numbers for wheels, and Pirelli is supplying tires, 355 in the back and 295 in the front, with a unique compound front to back.

The Viper’s always been a place to experiment with technology, and now uses super-formed aluminum on the sills and doors; the body is mostly carbon fiber, it’s taken a lot of weight, the body is 32% lighter. The owners demanded a clamshell hood and now has one; composite intake manifold which flows much better; the torque comes on earlier than before, Viper has the highest torque of any naturally aspirated car in the world.

Track Pack takes another 57 pounds off for the lightest Viper ever, 3297 pounds, 5.15 lb/hp all together. Using dry weight, the Viper is at 4.91 pounds/horsepower, after Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F12. Ahead of ZR1, Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Aventador.

For the first time, Viper has launch control, and cruise control.
It was designed in Auburn Hills, by Americans, and will be built in Detroit, “but we did consult with our friends in Ferrari and Maserati,” to get their skills in low-volume products, and are using some of their suppliers, e.g. for seats, to give the Viper some more “magic.”

During the “three headed dog” time, as Ralph called it, they almost sold the Viper off; Sergio, though, said, “We don’t sell our own.” He noted that it’s an icon, so they respect what the styling is all about. He mentioned the Hot Wheels car (pulling one out of his pocket), and said “As much as it’s been annoying to us, it’s been fun to watch the car being imagined on line.”

Four drivers have been chosen for Viper in the American Le Mans series; the racing car drove up on stage, silver and festooned with decals.

For many more details, see our 2013 Viper page.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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