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Vipers to be crushed (updated again)

by David Zatz on


The fourth Dodge Viper prototype ever built will be destroyed within the next two weeks, according to an article in The Olympian.

The car, valued at $250,000, was assigned to South Puget Sound Community College years ago, but on the condition that it be destroyed if Chrysler required it. The newspaper quoted faculty member Norm Chapman as saying that all 93 Vipers assigned to schools [corrected: this originally read “given to schools”] for educational purposes are to be destroyed, because two were used on the road and involved in accidents which cost Chrysler millions of dollars.

Many car companies provide vehicles for student training, including prototypes and other unsellable cars.

The 1992 Dodge Viper is a pre-production car, not legal for street use, with no speed limiter and no emissions controls. It has a one of a kind hard top, which did not enter production until 1996. The car is still owned by Chrysler, as is customary in this type of arrangement.   Thanks, oh2o • forum thread

Update: A Chrysler employee wrote that, starting six months ago, the company “moved every stone to try to save these cars in some capacity, and it was not going to happen.” The problems were a combination of the nature of the agreements between the schools and the company, and future legal liability. There appeared to be no way for Chrysler to limit their exposure, presumably even if schools violated the terms of the agreement.

Chrysler has hundreds of prototypes and other cars in storage, as most automakers do, including adopted AMC and Jeep models. The cost of maintaining and protecting these vehicles reportedly runs into millions of dollars per year.

Second update: Chrysler issued an official response: “Approximately 10 years ago, Chrysler Group donated a number of Dodge Viper vehicles to various trade schools for educational purposes.  As part of the donation process, it is standard procedure — and stipulated in our agreements — that whenever vehicles are donated to institutions for education purposes that they are to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for their intended educational purposes. With advancements in automotive technology over the past decade, it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any educational value to students. Chrysler Group fully understands and appreciates the historical significance of the Viper and is very active in preserving many of its legendary models and designs for historic purposes however, none of these vehicles fit into this category.

“Chrysler Group has no record of any legal proceedings involving Dodge Viper vehicles donated to educational institutions being involved in accidents and product liability lawsuits.”

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