Speculation. Though it is a fine flagship car, its factory has no official commitments past 2017, which suggests that the Dodge Viper’s  days may be numbered.

The Viper is quite expensive to engineer, with its unique engine and chassis. The huge V10 has already been beaten in peak power by the Hemi Hellcat, which won’t fit into the snake car.

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Some argue that the Challenger Hellcat is a better Dodge flagship, and it has certainly drawn many people into showrooms. FCA leaders, though, have hinted that more limited-production cars will carry the Hellcat forward, though that may not happen until after 2020.

Combine the two legacies of Hellcat and Viper, and we can see the potential for a new direction.

The plan calls for a new Alfa Romeo Alfieri; it’s possible that a jointly engineered replacement for both cars is being created, using the new FCA rear wheel drive plans as a starting point.  The Dodge Viper would use the Hellcat, while the Alfa Romeo would use a Ferrari engine. Adding an automatic would broaden its draw, and that extra market could mean more sales per year, which would mean lower costs for each car.

Another option, less likely, would be switching to a full-fledged racing frame with carbon fiber body panels, or even a dedicated carbon fiber tub and body, using FCA’s experience with the 4C, to directly compete with the high-priced Ford GT40. Doing this could lose almost all repeat Viper buyers and defeat the purpose of the car.

A final option is revisiting engineer Ian Sharp’s proposed Viper  with a kinetic hybrid design — technology now being used in Formula 1.

There’s no telling which, if any, of these plans is being implemented, or even discussed, in Auburn Hills and Turin now.