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Is a new Viper being created?

by Patrick Rall on

During a press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said that “a new Viper may surface.”

He went on to explain that is was unclear whether or not the arrival of this next generation Viper would be timed to meet the end of the current Viper, but this is still good news for Viper fans.

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The scheduled closure of the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit, which builds the Viper, was discovered during labor negotiations last year. There was no information on production continuing in a different plant, and since this type of thing would be disclosed in a labor contract, it was assumed that the Viper would be dropped in 2017.

These new comments from Sergio Marchionne show that the Dodge Viper might be leaving the lineup for now, but there has at least been some consideration for a revival of the Mopar supercar in the near future.

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Automobile quoted Mr. Marchionne as saying that having just one car (the Dodge Viper) build on a single platform is not a good strategy. This Viper was designed and engineered as the company climbed out of bankruptcy, so a new platform was not feasible, but with a jointly-developed midsized platform, the company could be working on a truly new Viper, which would share with (at least) an Alfa Romeo.

Should FCA look to create a new Dodge Viper, there is a good chance that they may also look to get away from the legendary Viper V10. This engine has made the Viper one of the best performing road cars in the history of the American auto industry, but with the industry going away from huge engines, Dodge’s cousins in Italy could help design an engine that is smaller, lighter, and more powerful. Fiat has engineers who have been involved with the big, bad Ferrari engines, so a big power V10 is possible, but it could be much smaller than the current 8.4 liters.

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There has also been some demand from the enthusiast market for a Hemi powered Dodge Viper, which would likely be far less expensive than the V10. Chrysler engine team members point out that the Hellcat won’t fit in this Viper. They always specify “this” Viper – leading me to believe that there could be a different Viper with a Hellcat engine. Should the company go that route, they would still look to cut some weight from the Hellcat, as it is quite a bit heavier than the higher-displacement V10.

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With regards to the Italian input of this new engine, the very first Dodge Viper V10 back in the late 1980s was developed with help from Lamborghini, while newer versions were produced with help from McLaren. Fiat hasn’t had much input on the Viper’s engine – and that is surely something that they might like to change.

The bad news here is that this new Dodge Viper could be years away, but if the mighty Mopar supercar does see a new generation in the future, we can expect it to be a state of the art supercar.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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