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The Dodge Tomahawk Concept Motorcycle

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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.

The rear wheel drive machine uses monocoque construction; the engine is a stressed member. The body is made of billet aluminum.

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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.

Chrysler COO Wolfgang Bernhard was said to be enthusiastic about that project, and hundreds were projected to be built at under $200,000 each (probably below breakeven). They reportedly cost Chrysler over $100,000 to build, not including engineering costs.

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The Dodge Tomahawk could reach 60 miles an hour in about 2.5 seconds, and had a theoretical top speed of nearly 400 mph. Each pair of wheels was separated by a few inches and each wheel had an independent suspension. Bernhard said four wheels were necessary to handle the power.

Car reviews and buyer advice

No reviews or buyer advice is feasible since only ten were made; aside from the original, nine replicas were sold through Neiman Marcus, for $555,000 each. A spokesman told Reuters they were meant as rolling sculptures, presumably to avoid legal liability; they are driveable, but not (legally) on public roads.

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One reason is because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proclaims that a motorcycle can have no more that 3 wheels on the ground during normal operation. Donald Poindexter, Jr., 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." Even as a motorcycle, the lights may not have been legal.

Specifications and performance

0-60 mph:
2.5 seconds •
Top Speed:
300+ mph (est.)

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Viper V10 engine

  • 500 bhp (372 kW) @ 5600 rpm (60.4 bhp/liter); 525 lb.-ft. (712 Nm) @ 4200 rpm
  • 10-cylinder 90-degree V-type, liquid-cooled, 505 cubic inches (8277 cc)
  • 356-T6 aluminum alloy block with cast-iron liners, aluminum alloy cylinder heads
  • Two pushrod-actuated overhead valves per cylinder, with roller-type hydraulic lifters
  • Sequential fuel injection with individual runners
  • Cooling was handled by twin aluminum radiators mounted atop engine intake manifolds, force-fed from front-mounted, belt-driven turbine fan. Takes 11 quarts of antifreeze.
  • The exhaust used equal-length tubular stainless steel headers with dual collectors and central rear outlets
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

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Brakes: 20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled rotors, one per wheel; in front, it used machined stainless steel, and in back, cast iron. The front calipers had two four-piston aluminum calipers per wheel, and the rear used a single four-piston aluminum caliper per wheel; both were custom designed. The calipers were anodized blue. The front calipers were hand activated, the rears foot activated.

The wheels were billet aluminum discs - twin 20x4 front, twin 20x5 rear, with custom made Dunlop symmetrical tires (P120/60R20 in front, P150/50R20 in back).


136-amp high-speed alternator with 600 CCA battery.
Headlights consisted of 12 five-watt LEDs, in front, with masked lenses; the tail lamp used eight LEDs. Headlamps articulated with the wheels.


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Manual, foot-shifted, aluminum-cased two-speed, sequential racing-style with dog ring, straight-cut gears
Gear Ratios: 1st 18:38; 2nd 23:25
Clutch: Double-disc, dry-plate with organic friction materials, hand lever actuated with assist
Final drive: Dual 110-link motorcycle-style chains

Front Sprockets: 14 teeth;
Rear Sprockets: 35 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" •
Height: 36.9"
Wheelbase: 76"
Seat Height: 29"
Weight: 1,500 lb • Weight Dist: 49F/51R
Track: Front: 8.75" • Rear: 10"
Fuel: 3.25 gal

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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.

Concept cars • popular: FCGladiator

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