By on June 29, 2011

With a new Viper being readied for a 2012 auto show debut ahead of a 2013 launch, Automotive News [sub]‘s Rick Kranz has discovered something of an issue in the development process: suppliers don’t want in.

Ralph Gilles, who heads Chrysler Group’s design organization and SRT, the automaker’s performance group, says many suppliers said “thanks, but no thanks” when the automaker knocked on their doors.

“It has been tough to get low-volume suppliers,” Gilles says. “We have had a few hiccups here and there as we get suppliers. That type of fringe business has really dwindled. A lot of people are looking for big accounts now, but now that is behind us.”

Kranz blames low volume (2,103 units in its best year, 392 units last year) and supplier consolidation for the “hiccups.” But as it so happens, this has been a recurring problem for the Viper since day one…

Today’s reading is from the First Book of Lutz (“Guts”), Part One, Chapter 3: “We Just Did It”: The Story of the Viper.

Our other problems concerned suppliers. The Viper program proved to be our first experiment in having suppliers do the core engineering for a new model’s components. Curiously, it wasn’t that tough a goal to reach for those suppliers who’d already agreed to sign on. Most of Chrysler’s suppliers had caught Viper fever and wanted to participate. (The fact that many of their CEOs lusted after having their own Viper probably didn’t hurt).

But some of our most trusted partners simply refused to join, contending that the low volume didn’t justify the effort. From a narrowly left-brained viewpoint, they were right. Had they engaged their whole brain, however, and considered the project’s total benefits, most, I suspect would have chosen differently. A German supplier whom we had asked to produce the Viper’s new six-speed transmission really let us down. When we were already well into the program (and when it seemed to late to change something as fundamental as the transmission) he told us the deal was off unless could cough up several million dollars not previously discussed (and not available in our budget).

What to do? Knuckle under to prevent delay? Or tell the supplier “Thank you; it’s been semi-nice working with you, but forget it”? Bravely, the team picked the latter course. Working quickly and creatively they found a excellent alternative in the all-new Borg-Warner T-6 transmission, which was then under development fir GM’s Camaro, Firebird and Corvette models. Viper remained on track, while the German transmission company won an empty victory: To achieve a trivial savings, they sacrificed their opportunity to become a supplier for Chrysler’s more mainstream products and, more importantly, the unquantifiable but undeniable luster they would have enjoyed from being associated with, perhaps, the most publicized car in modern times.

What’s the lesson? Bringing suppliers on board a low-volume project like Viper requires holding “more mainstream product” business over the suppliers head, but even more, relying on “Viper fever” to inspire suppliers to become part of the project. Lutz doesn’t just identify the “luster” from being associated with Viper, but even goes as far as to point out that suppliers may have participated simply because they wanted a Viper of their own. To Lutz, the product guy, this is simply testament to the visceral power of a highly emotional car. To the purchasing and supply chain managers, however, this emotional basis for a business deal is hardly a sustainable state of affairs. Not only does it have the potential to challenge the financial stability of supplier firms with already low margins, but it also makes the supply chain dependent on the hype generated by the vhicle.

And that seems to have been the problem this time around: though the new Viper will doubtless be an impressive machine, there is no way it could even hope to make the kind of splash that the original did. As a car, the Viper has improved with age… as an idea, however, the Viper is getting stale. Are there still supplier bosses who are participating in the project simply because they want a 2013 Viper of their own? Very possibly, but “Viper fever” as it existed back 1989 isn’t going to keep a low-volume project running. The implication of this supplier trouble: the new Viper could well become an even bigger money loser than before. After all, enthusiasm and industry have always been turbulent bed-mates.

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43 Comments on “Who Wants In On The 2013 Viper? Anyone? Bueller?...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Perhaps the Viper makes the most business sense being “frozen in time” making only saftey and emissions upgrades and producing it for as long as it will sell? It’s always been a throwback on the refinement front, sort of a shotgun at a sniper convention. If Chrysler starts making money hand over fist perhaps the Viper makes sense as a regular model, updated every few years, but till then… It’s like someone said on a thread a few days ago. Chevy doesn’t sell more Malibus by building a better Corvette, you sell more Malibus by building a better Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      A lot of Viper owners agree with you, counting myself among them. I don’t give two shits if it has power seats or a cup holder. Take out the AC and the stereo and spend those dollars on bigger factory brakes.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    They should build the car in the UK. They have an entire cottage industry devoted to building bits for low-volume cars. Would simplify things immensely, but I suppose that would not go over well with the flag-waving knuckle-draggers typically seen driving these things.

    • 0 avatar

      The Conner Ave. assembly plant can probably assemble cars cheaper than a cottage industry company in the UK. As the article mentions, much of the heavy lifting is done by the suppliers. The Conner Ave. plant assembles the car from major subassemblies provided by suppliers. Some of Chrysler’s best workers are at the plant, you have to bid to work there and have a perfect attendance & timekeeping record and a clean work record just to even be considered. Even at the peak, they didn’t make much more than 10 cars a day so the pace there was pretty relaxed.

      When my son, my only son, whom I love, Moshe, was 10 years old we were building a model kit of a Viper. He asked me if that was how they really went together, and I told him that it was a nicely detailed kit and that some of the processes were similar but, no, it wasn’t how they really built Vipers. Then I told him that if he wanted to see how Vipers were built, that the president of Chrysler was a man named Robert Lutz and that his office was in Highland Park (this was before the move to Auburn Hills). I said that I’d get the address and he could send a letter to Mr. Lutz and ask about his class taking a field trip to the factory.

      Two weeks later I got a phone call from Chrysler’s general manager of manufacturing. He said that Mo’s letter got more attention than one from Pres. Clinton would have gotten and that it was a good thing that I had him address the envelope in his 10 year old’s scrawl. Had an adult sent the letter it would have “ended up in the circular file”. A short while later, both 5th grade classes at his school, about 50 kids, plus chaperones, got a V.I.P. tour of the Conner Ave. plant to see how they put together Vipers. That was one field trip where there was no shortage of parents volunteering to chaperone. I still have the red and black Viper t-shirt.

      It must have been about three years ago when I was working the NAIAS, I was talking to Lutz after a GM press conference and I reminded him of my son’s letter and the plant tour. My son, for many years, has helped me work the big Detroit show so I told Lutz that the 10 year old who wrote to him at Chrysler was now an engineering student and called my son over to introduce him. Lutz asked him what kind of engineering and then encouraged him to go into chemical engineering because of all the battery R&D being done.

      It was a nice little human moment. He wasn’t playing car executive, he was genuinely giving my son career advice.

      Lutz is a world class bullshit artist. I say that with both admiration and some cynicism. Yet I really believe that at the moment he says it, he believes it. He is a straight shooter in that he says what he thinks. It may be a self-serving version of history or reality, but I think that’s what is genuinely on his mind when he says it. I’m a bottom feeder compared to the Dutch Mandels of the world yet Lutz has always answered my questions and he’s given them the same amount of thought that he appears to give to guys like CNBC’s Phil LeBeau.

      Lutz shoots from the hip much more than someone like Mark Fields, who seems to never say a word to a reporter that he hasn’t first rehearsed in his mind. Lutz is an engaging and charismatic guy, the classic women want to be with him (I’ve watched him charm female reporters) and men want to be him kind of charisma. He gives good quote too. So it’s not surprising that he’s got his fans in the press. That kind of fanboi attitude might have deserved some balance from the likes of Farago, but my personal view of Lutz is more positive than negative.

    • 0 avatar

      The Conner Ave. assembly plant can probably assemble cars cheaper than a cottage industry company in the UK. As the article mentions, much of the heavy lifting is done by the suppliers. The Conner Ave. plant assembles the car from major subassemblies provided by suppliers. Some of Chrysler’s best workers are at the plant, you have to bid to work there and have a perfect attendance & timekeeping record and a clean work record just to even be considered. Even at the peak, they didn’t make much more than 10 cars a day so the pace there was pretty relaxed.

      When my son, my only son, whom I love, Moshe, was 10 years old we were building a model kit of a Viper. He asked me if that was how they really went together, and I told him that it was a nicely detailed kit and that some of the processes were similar but, no, it wasn’t how they really built Vipers. Then I told him that if he wanted to see how Vipers were built, that the president of Chrysler was a man named Robert Lutz and that his office was in Highland Park (this was before the move to Auburn Hills). I said that I’d get the address and he could send a letter to Mr. Lutz and ask about his class taking a field trip to the factory.

      Two weeks later I got a phone call from Chrysler’s general manager of manufacturing. He said that Mo’s letter got more attention than one from Pres. Clinton would have gotten and that it was a good thing that I had him address the envelope in his 10 year old’s scrawl. Had an adult sent the letter it would have “ended up in the circular file”. A short while later, both 5th grade classes at his school, about 50 kids, plus chaperones, got a V.I.P. tour of the Conner Ave. plant to see how they put together Vipers. That was one field trip where there was no shortage of parents volunteering to chaperone. I still have the red and black Viper t-shirt.

      It must have been about three years ago when I was working the NAIAS, I was talking to Lutz after a GM press conference and I reminded him of my son’s letter and the plant tour. My son, for many years, has helped me work the big Detroit show so I told Lutz that the 10 year old who wrote to him at Chrysler was now an engineering student and called my son over to introduce him. Lutz asked him what kind of engineering and then encouraged him to go into chemical engineering because of all the battery R&D being done.

      It was a nice little human moment. He wasn’t playing car executive, he was genuinely giving my son career advice.

      Lutz is a world class bullsh!t artist. I say that with both admiration and some cynicism. Yet I really believe that at the moment he says it, he believes it. He is a straight shooter in that he says what he thinks. It may be a self-serving version of history or reality, but I think that’s what is genuinely on his mind when he says it. I’m a bottom feeder compared to the Dutch Mandels of the world yet Lutz has always answered my questions and he’s given them the same amount of thought that he appears to give to guys like CNBC’s Phil LeBeau.

      Lutz shoots from the hip much more than someone like Mark Fields, who seems to never say a word to a reporter that he hasn’t first rehearsed in his mind. Lutz is an engaging and charismatic guy, the classic women want to be with him (I’ve watched him charm female reporters) and men want to be him kind of charisma. He gives good quote too. So it’s not surprising that he’s got his fans in the press. That kind of fanboi attitude might have deserved some balance from the likes of Farago, but my personal view of Lutz is more positive than negative.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I didn’t know Chrysler still built these. I don’t, or very rarely see any on the road anymore. Yawn.

    I’ll take a Corvette, please. Please?

    EDIT: Maybe it’s me, but after looking at the photo again, I’ll swear that’s a cardboard cutout of a guy in the driver’s seat!

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Years ago I read an article where the new Viper with the aluminum V10 was pitted against its peers in a controlled test and the result was that the Viper sprang oil line and fuel leaks. It may be that as a result of that test that most people never embraced the Viper. Same QC problems as the rest of Chrysler.

    There are always aficionados and collectors but there aren’t enough of them to make a profit on the overall project. Does anyone remember the name of that retro hot-rod wannabe that Chrysler built for awhile? They discontinued it because they just didn’t sell enough of them. And how about that Roadster Coupe that was developed in Germany by Daimler? Are they still making that one or is it dead as well?

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      You mean the hand-built aluminum chassied Plymouth Prowler with the rear-mounted transmission that gave it perfect weight distribution, don’t you? It was a marvel, but you’re so blinded by hatred that you’ll never admit it.

      The Crossfire was yesterday’s news at its introduction, and was never anything other than a reskinned R170.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        Is that the thing that looks like a 1930′s hot rod? I never seen one in real life, maybe the perfectly balanced chassis didn’t go with the hot rod looks or something.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I think the V6 (lack of) power and standard 20″ (or so) wheels nullified the rear mounted transmission cred. Weren’t all the Prowlers automatics, too?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        iNeon, yeah, the Prowler! When I first saw it, in purple, it reminded me of a fiberglass Replicar ’32 Ford Roadster (with Rumble Seat) I helped my brother build for his HS autoshop project when we were youngsters. He chose purple as the color of choice. We used a ’62 Ford Falcon chassis and differential, a Ford 390 salvaged from a junked Thunderbird and a Ford C6. He used that ‘car’ (and I use the term loosely) all through High School and College. Got him girls.

        Why would you say that I’m blinded by hatred? I didn’t kill Chrysler. It died of its own unnatural volition. Maybe if Chrysler had made better cars and trucks it wouldn’t be an Italian company now. Maybe it would still be German. It quit being an American company a long time ago. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and that certainly is the case with the company that was formerly known as Chrysler. I don’t hate them. It doesn’t affect my lifestyle either way. Nor do I lose sleep over them.

        I drove American brands all of my life and didn’t buy a Jap-built Highlander until 2008. Our first! But, hey, our experience with that Highlander was excellent and motivated me to check out the Tundra 5.7 to replace my 2006 F150. The rest, as they say, is history. No hatred. Just benign neglect on my part and lack of interest for offerings from Ford and GM.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @iNeon: I still believe that the lack of a V8 power train and the $40K price tag killed the Prowler. I get the fact that the 3.5 V6 was pretty powerful for the times, and the car really wasn’t a slouch, either.

        But without a V8 in those things, it kind of lost the ‘real hot rod’ vibe. Now, if you could put a HEMI into one of those… Woo hoo!

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        “Why would you say that I’m blinded by hatred?”
        Not hate, just blind cynicism.

        “I didn’t kill Chrysler. It died of its own unnatural volition.”

        It suffered (almost fatally)under Daimler. Before that it made huge profits, had a war chest of 8-10 billion, and was the only American company to make money off a small car. Even it’s international sales were growing every year.

        “Maybe if Chrysler had made better cars and trucks it wouldn’t be an Italian company now. Maybe it would still be German”

        Please. If Chrysler is no longer American (even though the vast majority of their wares are designed engineered and built in the US and Canada), and it didn’t make better cars and trucks, then aren’t those same cars German and not American? The cars are Italian now, right? But they were American when Cerberus owned them? That doesn’t make any sense. Maybe I’m reading you wrong but you seem to be dismissive of Italians.

        “I drove American brands all of my life and didn’t buy a Jap-built Highlander until 2008″

        Hopefully not the Japanese as well. “Jap” is derogatory term.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        windswords, my wife is half Italian and our daughter-in-law is 100% Japanese. My Mom was 100% German.

        If you are a fan of a company formerly called Chrysler, I’m cool with that. But you gotta realize that, as another poster so eloquently put it, Chrysler has been dead for a long time, and is still dead. What we have now is Fiatsler, with all the shots called from Italy.

        Suck it up and deal with it.

        If you don’t like my posts, feel free to skip over them. I am not one of your politically correct green-weenies, and I’m never offended by any one criticizing me. I figure opinions are like as sholes. Everybody’s got one, and that includes me. I write as I see the world from my perspective, not from the way you want the world to be.

        I think Bush and Obama made a huge mistake with the taxpayers’ money by bailing out failed companies (all failed companies). They only delayed the inevitable by a couple of years in the US auto industry. I believe that in a couple of years Chrysler products will cater mostly to niche markets, like with the Viper, and markets outside the US where Fiat wants to expand their brand.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Yeah it was the Plymouth Prowler. It may have been a marvel (I was never particularly enamored with its appearance, which was its sole attribute), but it was a marvelous departure from the Plymouth brand’s raison d’etre of cheap entry-level cars.

      I don’t recall anyone accusing it of having marvelous handling despite any weight distribution perfection. I think a balanced chassis and its hot rod looks went together just fine, but it’s anemic 3.5L V6 was what was out of step. Call it blinded by hate if you will, but my hatred is overburdened with objective reason that states you don’t build a halo retro-rod for a penalty-box brand and stuff it with an undersize wheezer of an engine (the 3.5L was a good engine…for the Intrepid and LH class cars. Not for a hot rod). I still consider myself a “Mopar” guy and even I can see this.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The front suspension of the Prowler was unique for a production car. IIRC, it was developed by Reynard and was conceptually similar to what they were using in indycars at the time. It had pushrod operated springs and dampers that were located near the center of the car. I saw some literature for the Porsche Carrera GT that claimed it was the first road car to use pushrod operated suspension, but they seem to have forgotten the Prowler.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      “Years ago I read an article where the new Viper with the aluminum V10 was pitted against its peers in a controlled test and the result was that the Viper sprang oil line and fuel leaks.”

      You’re going to have to cite a source before I believe that.

      The Viper is probably one of the most bulletproof cars to ever play in that performance range. They suffer enormous abuse and simply don’t break. Everything in the driveline is so insanely over-specced they routinely handle double their factory power without breaking a sweat.

      They’ve all had aluminum V10′s going back to the original in 1992, and if it’s a “controlled test” where the Viper is setting the limits, not many of those “peers” can hang if the man in the seatbelt is remotely competent.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        M 1, yeah, that was a long time ago. At that time I subscribed to PopSci, Pop Mech, MT, C&D, R&T, Autoweek, and a few others I don’t recall. One of those mags had this insane comparo that involved the (then new) Viper, a Vette, a Porsche, and a couple of others. The Viper was sidelined with oil and fuel leaks after one or two runs.

        The reason I mentioned the ‘aluminum’ V10 is because at that time I had a RAM3500 with the cast-iron V10, for a small construction/contractor business with my brother I was in the process of building my house. The RAM3500 V10 had several problems which included the transmission, engine oil leaks and fuel leaks, that my brother and partner (who broke down in the desert in that truck one day, before cell phones) begged me to trade for a one-ton Dually from Chevy with a 454. We did, and had the better experience.

        I can appreciate overspec’d. We used to drag race my dad’s 426 Hemi Rails on Nitro during our youth. I was the mechanic, not the driver. My light-weight brother got to aim that sled down the track.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        Yeah I had an ’01 2500HD V10 that I kept until ’07. I didn’t have any of the common issues (really only the #3 cylinder burn-out concerned me) but I was well aware of them. The only problem I had was blowing up the NV251HD transfer case, and my truck was very hard-working so I didn’t feel too bad about that one.

        Except for basic things like the dimensions, the Viper V10 has always been a completely different engine for all practical purposes.

  • avatar

    The Viper is still one of the most badass American cars ever made in every respect. Hopefully whatever they come up with for the next one doesn’t stray from that, but the words coming from people in Chrysler don’t give me a whole lot of hope.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I can certainly understand the suppliers reluctance considering recent events. What surprised me was that there was such resistance during the original program. I’ve thought that supplier health issues really surfaced during the late 90′s, not earlier in the decade.

    I suspect that concentrating on making lots of money on every mainstream car model continues, specialty cars will wither and die. Really, similar to the Japanese producers. They build a fine sedan, but where are the Supras, NSXs, etc.

    I know the GT-R is available now, but it’s not an inexpensive car. I foresee trouble with cars like the Mustang going forward, because of the unique chassis. GM and Mopar are using the economies of scale to produce the Camaro and Challenger for now. Apparently there are rumbles about Corvette development, too. And not the kind from big block engines, either.

    But after the bulk of the baby boomers start wearing Depends on a regular basis, who the h*ll is going to buy those cars? My 20-something kids aren’t interested. They’d rather have a new smartphone. Sometimes I can’t blame them.

    Maybe, Chrysler/Fiat can leverage some other chassis from it’s now formidable lineup and make a “Viper” for the US, and something else for somewhere else. As much as I love the homegrown stuff, I think it might be tough to pull off without some kind of economy of scale.

  • avatar
    LeadHead

    The Viper was never a money loser as far as I know. The next-gen is supposed to be profitable as well.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      To the contrary, the Viper has always been considered a loss-leader.

      When the Gen III re-model came along, part of the Daimler demand was to make it cost less to build (hence the loss of the clamshell hood), but even then it wasn’t really profitable.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “But after the bulk of the baby boomers start wearing Depends on a regular basis, who … is going to buy those cars?”

    geozinger, you don’t know how much that hurt! Me? I do not intend to have any part in that group.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Zackman: My bad. I should have used a tag in front that sentence. That was pretty rough.

      I’m at the tail end of the boomers, for sure. But, after witnessing my older boomer family members age, I have no illusions what can happen to me as I get older.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I know my daughter would rather have a Viper than a smart phone. But then she is only 9.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I’d like a Viper, with which I would run-over a smartphone. Perhaps mine. It’s nice to have about 10% of the time. Otherwise, it’s a PITA.

      I’d also like to just drive a Viper, but my thought is that I’ll never be able to afford a new enough one to make it worth buying, and I don’t care to look like a poser in an expensive sports car. This adds up to a feeling of ‘why bother lusting after one’. Never mind the costs to fix things when they wear out/break since parts are, by definition (being the car is a low volume, niche vehicle), scarce.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        I used mine as a daily driver for about two years, just because I was going to the office super early when there was no traffic and I could really open it up in places.

        They’re actually pretty comfortable. I’ve done 900-mile one-day trips in mine.

        Parts for the older ones are becoming scarce, but much of the car is straight from the parts bin (things that don’t matter much, like a fuel cap which matches those used on Ram trucks) and many parts were remarkably reasonably priced.

        Plus, quite frankly, they just don’t break down that often. My biggest Dodge parts-desk cost was usually fog lamps, which are a very painful $400 each, and no quantity of protective tape will make them track-friendly.

        Also, Dodge REALLY backed these cars. As long as you were under warranty, even an extended warranty, EVERYTHING was covered with no questions asked. I’ve seen Vipers rolled in on a flatbed with a blown-up rear end, trackday number decals still on the doors. Warranty repair. That’ll make a true-believer out of anybody.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    As I think about it I don’t see how the Viper could ever have been profitable with a peak sales rate of 2,103/yr dwindling to 392. Nor do I view the Viper as a halo car in classical terms because I seriously doubt anyone who purchases any Chryco product is doing so because of the Viper.

    Not that a new version won’t be nice to see but Fiatsler has a lot more larger fish to fry than devoting time/money to a new Viper.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I think Fiatsler will do very well with the 500 in the large metropolitan areas but I cannot see anyone looking forward to a cross-country road trip to “See The USA In Your Fiat 500″. Imagine a 300 pound cow and her 400 pound husband stuffed in a 500 along with their two grossly obese children. I saw exactly that with a Civic at Golden Corral the other day. It was an image I wish I had never seen. It would look even worse in a 500.

      I also think Fiatsler will do very well when it moves production to South America and rebadges their American offerings with established Italian names, like Lancia, Alfa, and maybe a Napolitano Town&Country minivan. It worked for VW. Why not Fiat?

  • avatar

    Pretty cool car for 1989. No wonder it was a big deal.

    And yes Bob does look like he’s made of paper.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    The Viper was a cool car, while blowing by on the road, in magazine pages , and possibly in concept too. Seeing one up close was one of my two most dissapointing automotive experiences. It looked like a toy. All of the sudden the cheap plastic look of a 90′s Corvette was forgotten. Visible molding lines on the bumpers, and something that looked like ‘ghetto-blaster’ speaker grilles on the hood?
    Still, putting an aluminum truck engine under the hood of a plastic toy sounds a bit fun, even if it’s a handful. With a hint of aerodynamics it could have been fast too.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      “Visible molding lines on the bumpers”

      You never saw that because those parts aren’t made that way. I have seen many hundreds of Vipers and I’ve never seen it either.

      The original design (through 2002) is quite fast bone-stock up to about 165 MPH, then the aero becomes a major issue. It takes about two miles to reach 175 MPH, and another 8 to 10 miles to reach 185 MPH. Theoretical maximum is something like 198 MPH but I’m sure it has never been done in stock configuration.

      From Gen III on (2003+) they are even faster.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        My memory could be wrong, but I believe it was around the fogs and turn signals, maybe even along the hood line, but there was still a level of cheapness to it’s looks that would never be acceptable on a german car at the same price. (but to be honest a german car at that price would probably have less than half the engine and good looks)
        I don’t really mind though, since it gives the car a certain kit-car look, and I love kit-cars :P
        I agree it was fast enough, but it’s aerodynamics matched a 70′s Corvette, and I don’t think european buyers will ever understand how you can make a car ‘just for the f**k of it’ like the Viper. I can now though :)
        Most of the initial dissapointment was forgotten when looking at the GT-S coupe standing next to it :)

        Edit, I owe you an apology ,I just remembered, the Prowler was the one with the nasty bumpers. They always looked like you were supposed to take them off as soon as you brought the car home….

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        “I don’t think european buyers will ever understand how you can make a car ‘just for the f**k of it’ like the Viper”

        I think a lot of people put the Viper into the wrong category. It really isn’t a 90′s car, it was really the last, best 80′s sports car. Ok, the 959, the F40… maybe not the BEST, but if you’re only dropping 55-60K… you get my point, I’m sure.

        And believe me, no apology necessary: as a Viper owner I’ve heard worse than somebody claiming we have mold-lines on the bumper, LOL.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    What I’d be interested in knowing is how adversely an effect (if any) the continuation of the Viper had on the cessation of Challenger convertible development.

    If it was matter of one or the other, they should have went with the Challenger. While the convertible wouldn’t have been high-volume, either, it would have beaten Viper sales numbers (and surely been more profitable and easier to produce, too).

  • avatar

    Im amazed at how the “best and brightest” on this site continue to show ignorance of most chrysler news…. the new Viper is supposed to be one of the more exciting vehicles coming in the next few years and will have some Fiat/Maserati/Ferrari breathed into it to hopefully refine (to an extent that is keeps its edge) the car and make it a true competitor. This supplier news is frustrating, but the Viper is in no way dead.

  • avatar
    jonny b

    I wonder about the whole idea of the halo car. Should a mainstream brand have a halo car that competes against Ferrari and Aston Martin? Doesn’t the Challenger SRT suffice as Dodge’s halo? The Ford GT is one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen, but couldn’t Ford get by with whatever the latest top of the line Mustang variation they came up with this week?


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