By on March 20, 2014

chrysler-firepower-concept

Years ago, after my first trip to the Detroit Auto Show, I was browsing the inventory at Lamborghini of Ohio with Jack. There was snow on the ground—Phaeton weather—and the cozy showroom seemed the perfect attraction to kill a few hours before my flight back to Baltimore. Jack was going on and on about the throat-stompingly awesome Murcielago. “That’s the only one to have,” I think he said. “I dunno,” I said, “I kind of like the Gallardo.”

“That,” he replied, “is because you have girl parts.”

I’ll admit, he had a point. The Gallardo was the baby Lamborghini—the “poor man’s” Lambo, if such a thing ever existed. If you’re going to lust after an Italian supercar, why not lust after the most super-ific supercar they build? Perfectly valid reasoning. But in the real world, where money is spent and things are purchased, people bought Gallardos.  It thus stands to reason that there are those in the world who are Gallardo-rich, but not quite Murcielago-rich. That doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, right? Though I suppose it’s possible that some people just have girl parts.

At one time, that choice did not exist. Until the Urraco went on sale in 1973, there was no fakerich-spec vehicle in the Lamborghini lineup. You had only two options at a Lamborghini dealership: Buy a V12-powered Lamborghini or buy no Lamborghini at all. Lamborghini’s chief domestic rival, on the other hand, did offer such an alternative. It was called the Dino.

Today, Chrysler faces a similar, though not identical predicament. For twenty years, there has been only one Viper. And for most of those twenty years, one was enough. No longer.

The time has come for a second Viper—a V8 Viper.

This isn’t an original idea. In 2005, Chrysler showed the Firepower concept. It was, in my not-so-humble opinion, the most beautiful concept car shown by any domestic manufacturer in decades. It was to be powered by a 6.1L Hemi V8 engine mated to—I’m bracing myself here—an automatic transmission. This was blasphemy on top of blasphemy, if you ask the die-hard Viper faithful. But it was exactly what Chrysler needed to keep the sub-brand healthy. It was a play for volume. Even if the Firepower was destined to carry a sticker price nearly as a high as its rough-and-tumble, V10-powered brother, it was the kind of car that would have attracted buyers Chrysler needed to keep the brand relevant—the Corvette crowd.

And now, nearly ten years later, that domestic rival is poised to eat the Viper’s lunch. In 2001, the Viper ACR laid waste to the first-generation Corvette Z06 in just about every performance category out there, and it should have, considering it cost nearly double what you would have paid for the Bowling Green bruiser. In 2015, the Viper will still cost you an entry-level luxury sedan more than what you’ll pay for the forthcoming C7 Z06, but I’ll bet a fine steak dinner that it won’t be winning any comparison tests.

Vipers are not selling now, a full year ahead of the C7 Z06 arriving on showroom floors. In what sort of shape to they expect to find themselves when that time comes?

SRT CEO Ralph Gilles insists that the Viper is not built to beat the Corvette, and maybe he believes that. But shouldn’t it be? The Viper is a 6.2L aluminum-block Hemi away from a serious C7 contender. In the age of aluminum F150s, a lightweight truck engine certainly isn’t out of the question, and something has to power the Challenger’s replacement. And mind you, I don’t think the Viper should compete with the Corvette on price. It doesn’t have to. But the Viper buyer demographic has not historically been one to purchase cars with triple-digit price tags. These guys are Viper-rich, not Gallardo-rich.

I grew up with Viper posters on my wall and Viper die-casts on my dresser.  I watched the terrible Viper TV show. As much as I believe that the V10 is critical to the Viper-ness of the Viper, my fear is that the two choices we now have at the SRT dealership—buy a V10 Viper or buy no Viper at all—will soon be taken away from us entirely.  Add the V8 option. Bring back the ragtop. Hell, offer an automatic if you have to. It will sell.

But better than that, it will win.

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113 Comments on “SRT Needs More Firepower: The Case For A V8 Viper...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Naah, the whole point of buying a Viper is to get a V10. Otherwise, one could just get a Corvette or a GT-R.

    • 0 avatar

      The whole point of buying a Viper is owning a Viper.
      A GT-R doesn’t appeal to that audience. A Corvette might, but that would be like me picking a Chevy SS over a Charger SRT.

      NO F’IN WAY!

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        Obviously, that audience is too small, or they wouldn’t be suspending production. Revive the Prowler with a V8 this go-around, if they need more V8s in the line up.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The Corvette used to be a reasonably-priced sports car and they still build a lower-priced model for those who can’t afford the top end. Why can’t Chrysler do the same thing and appeal to a broader audience?

    • 0 avatar

      There are very simple reasons it isn’t selling.
      Too expensive.
      Manual transmission
      Too small/impractical.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        +1 on the too expensive. They need a $75K entry point to make this work. If that means using a tuned 6.4 V8 then so be it.

        Also agree on the transmission. As sacrilegious as it may sound, an 8 speed ZF auto option will also help to move product.

        As for too small and impractical – that never seemed to be a problem for the Corvette.

        • 0 avatar

          carguy – when you can have a car like the GT-R for less money than the Viper – which is actually large enough to be practical – the price and transmission become compounding and synergistic negatives.

          The Nissan GT-R would be my choice if I had to choose between it, the viper and C7.

          I’ve driven one. That car could turn my high-school dropout cousin into the next Mario Andretti.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          As bizarre as this may sound, if you’ve ever seen the transmission tunnel on a Viper from underneath, there isn’t much room there to fit anything other than a manual transmission without major re-working and a loss of passenger compartment leg-room.

          • 0 avatar
            Bluegrass

            The corvettes transmission is in the rear of the car rather than directly behind the engine. Meaning the Viper would have to be totally redesigned to fit an auto.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        About 60% of 2014 ‘Vettes are sold with the auto.

      • 0 avatar

        > Manual transmission

        Srsly, whose idea is this. Stick-only in a predominantly US spec car is suicide. 90% of the driving population can’t even operate them so it precludes most of the market from the get go.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    You can definitely sell cars based on 0-60 times, tow ratings, approach/ departure angles, and cylinder count. The problem with money and hypermasculinity is that the less you have of the former, the more appealing is the latter. And that in itself can be marketing poison.

    Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller discussed the 4 ways of conspicuous consumption, and wastefulness occupies the realm of the nouveau riche, the vulgarian, and the unsophisticated.

    So the problem isn’t that there isn’t a large market of hypermasculine products, it’s just that there isn’t a large market for expensive hypermasculine products.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/03/01/advertising_masculinity_why_ads_in_magazines_like_playboy_depict_men_as.html

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      That’s one of the most interesting and actually innovative comments I think I’ve ever seen in discussion of cars and well…anything. Which is probably why the Viper suffers in comparison to the Corvette and the much higher-priced competition. It occupies a very lonely place in the system of class and social appeal. I had to look up production numbers and it is a very telling story: Corvettes were about 14.5K last year, Porsche 911 were hovering near 30-35K, Gallardo sold about 2K a year (for a total production run of around a year’s worth of Corvettes). So the more money you get the likelier you are to go towards Porsche which has the prestige and social class-enhancing status before the funds simply taper off at Gallardo prices. Vipers are simply too expensive for their social image. It almost makes you wonder if a much-cheaper sub-60K or even sub-50K machine with a V8 or Turbo-6 would make a better sales point since that hyper-masculinity tapers off quickly.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    Two possible options for the Viper:

    1) Hemi-headed V10.

    2) Hemi-headed straight-6 (aka the Aussie Hemi).

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Isn’t it called the SRT-10 now? Even though it still carries a Viper logo? Or was that just a temporary thing, and now they have switched back.

    I’m legitimately not sure of the name of the car, which is disconcerting [for Chrysler] given how I follow automotive things. I should be very sure.

    The CrossFirePower looks too much like the awful Crossfire, and thus cannot be built in guise as above.

  • avatar

    #1 The Viper SRT should be built to order.

    A Viper needs to have a V10 just so people will be talking about it. Putting a V8 in it will decrease the price and lighten mass, but it’ll essentially be another Corvette – which I’m not interested in.

    Perhaps a supercharged or Twin Turbocharged 6.4 HEMI might be even better than the V10, but unless SRT does that, I don’t support it.

    #2 Instead of putting efforts behind the VIPER, Chrysler should have been building a Pentastar, HEMI and 392 SRT version of the MAGNUM – a car which is actually practical and not priced so ridiculously that 99% of Chrysler buyers can’t afford it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      They already built the Magnum once, and no one bought it. What makes you think the second time would be different?

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Come on BTSR, as much fun as a revamped Magnum SRT would be, look at so many articles on this site alone. People are overwhelmingly choosing C/SUVs instead of wagons.

        What you want exists as the Grand Cherokee and Durango.

        • 0 avatar

          The Magnum had very strong sales. The problem is that the low-end engines sucked and the interior refinement did too.

          Now look at a new 300 or Charger.

          For less than $40,000 – a 3rd row LX with the current tech package, engine options and AWD would be damn-near a Luxury car.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’m not arguing whether or not it would be an awesome vehicle, it would be.

            I just don’t think the sales numbers would back up the case for it. Keep in mind, the Magnum was released almost 10 years ago. The C/SUV revolution has been in full, rampant swing since then. There were more wagons (of all stripes) for sale in 2005. Barely any now.

      • 0 avatar
        bigdaddyp

        It looks like they averaged about 30,000 a year over its production run. That’s not huge numbers but I wouldn’t call that a flop.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I thought the death of the Magnum was based on the whims of one executive, rather than the sales numbers. I think there’s a case for a new Magnum, it would have the low-end of the wagon market all to itself.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      The Merc’ SL’s, have done just fine over the years, offering L-6′s, V-8′s, and V-12′s.

      Would be cheaper for Chrysler/SRT too have a V-8 Viper, then to offer a completely new vehicle with the V-8.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      They are working on a supercharged V8 called the Hellcat and it is 6.2l displacement. Power output is rumored to be 550 – 650 hp.

      I think that the 392 in a Firepower looking vehicle or the 300 concept car from a couple years before that which was a 4 seat V8 Viper would help move the platform.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Let’s try this again. I truly hate using an iPad and Notes with WordPress.

    You can definitely sell cars based on 0-60 times, tow ratings, approach+departure angles, and cylinder count. The problem with money and hypermasculinity is that the less you have of the former, the more appealing is the latter. And that in itself can be marketing poison.

    Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller discussed the 4 ways of conspicuous consumption, and wastefulness occupies the realm of the nouveau riche, the vulgarian, and the unsophisticated.

    So the problem isn’t that there isn’t a large market of hypermasculine products, it’s just that there isn’t a large market for expensive hypermasculine products.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/03/01/advertising_masculinity_why_ads_in_magazines_like_playboy_depict_men_as.html

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Nothing like ‘hypermasculine products’ to deny your fear of latent homosexuality. The hyper-masculine products help mask, and affirm your masculinity to yourself, and others.

      Sex sells, but not always as we normally think it does, sometimes a marketing component of sex, is fear.

      • 0 avatar

        “Nothing like ‘hypermasculine products’ to deny your fear of latent homosexuality. The hyper-masculine products help mask, and affirm your masculinity to yourself, and others.”

        Wouldn’t it simply be easier to just tell everyone you’re not gay and date/have sex only with women?

        Comedian Patrice O’neal had an even better discussion about homosexuality on Youtube if you look up “patrice o/neal tracy morgan opie anthony”.

        No one is gay unless they say they are.

        I personally buy the stuff I buy because I do car shows and I’m in SRT clubs. WOMEN don’t care that my engine is a 6.4 instead of a Pentastar so long as I keep it neet. Nothing homosexual about having cool toys right?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Personally, Murilee’s Daihatsu Rocky from yesterday is probably a better driver than my current one, which is odd because I’ve loved cars before the Countach added fender flares. So much for mismanaging my life so that it is not possible to get one. I’d go ahead and save some wild horses, seals and the rain forrest also. If the Firepower had come to fruition, it would boosted Viper sales considerably, though it would have probably sold 6 to 1 over the Viper. The brand image would have been heightened with an expensive sports car actually on the street. Luxurious and fast, and with the safety nannies and automatic buyers with purchasing power demand. All the Firepower had to do was offer a few tics better performance than Aston, Jag, SL and softer leather.Those two would have paired well on the showroom floor.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Bring in a V8 Viper, and price it equivalent to a V8 Corvette. I can guarantee they’ll sell more Vipers.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Yes! Bring on a V-8.

    Nothing in the automotive world sounds as bad a a V-10 Viper. I have heard threshing machines and combines that sounded better.

    In fact, I will never forget the first time I heard a Viper V-10. One was parked behind me at PIR, I had looked at it and then climbed into my Miata to leave the track. I was delayed by a phone call and the next thing I heard was the Viper starting up, though, at first, I didn’t realize it was the Viper. When I finally determined the source of that gawd awful sound, I was shocked. Say it isn’t so….. it was.

    Would love to see a V-8 sporty offering from Chrysler that competes with the Corvette on price, but then, what will happen to the NA aspirations for the Alfa’s?

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      They sound much better at full throttle.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        “They sound much better at full throttle.” That was quite a few years ago, the Viper had just came out. Since then, I have had the opportunity too track and drag race a Viper, and have heard plenty of them on the track, and, yes, it doesn’t sound as bad at the higher RPM’s, but it still isn’t a great sounding engine at any RPM.

        The gen-1 Vipers, were a clumsy club on the track and quite crude, comparatively, but its raw demeanor, was quite endearing in an old school sense of brute power and little else. You really had to put some effort, thought, in how to get through a corner with speed, because it sure wasn’t going to make it easy.

        We have also ran a couple of Vipers through the shop, quick flips. One of those, a 2006 SRT-10. We took it to the drags at PIR on a Wednesday night and we damn near got our shit handed back to us by a 2007 E63-AMG wagon. We both ran sub 12 sec times right out of the box, and couldn’t make any more runs with out a roll bar or cage, and other safety additions, the helmet wasn’t good enough for any sub twelve runs. Doesn’t seem fair when scoots can run any speed with just a helmet. But, rules are rules, and are there for a reason.

        Now days, you see video road tests with the reviewer/factory test driver driving over 150mph and they aren’t even wearing a helmet, let alone have a bar/cage and other safety considerations. And some of these guys/gals should know better.

        • 0 avatar

          > The gen-1 Vipers, were a clumsy club on the track and quite crude, comparatively, but its raw demeanor, was quite endearing in an old school sense of brute power and little else.

          Still better than Shelby Cobra in every way. I have no idea why people pay money for those things.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            Better how? A proper replica handles rather well, is light and simple.

          • 0 avatar

            > Better how? A proper replica handles rather well, is light and simple.

            For one a replica isn’t a Shelby Cobra any more than a replica-kit Ferrari.

            For more, they’re usually over-engined for such a short wheelbase, with minimal driver safety. I can guarantee most owners will kill themselves if they ever tried to race which was rather the point of them in the first place.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “…some people just have girl parts.”

    Some of us have girl parts more often than others…

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Yes, bring a cheaper V8 version, but make it different enough to not ruin the image for the people who can afford the V10. And then build the Chronos, with the v10…

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    More importantly, what about the Dodge Demon? Lets get one of those to compete with the Toyobaru and Miata. I know there might be an Alfa roadster here, but I like the looks and the name of the Demon. SRT Demon sounds nice.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      Seconded. My brother, who owns an original, numbers matching Grand Spaulding GSS ’71 Dodge Demon 340 Six-Pak, would wet himself over an SRT Demon – and open his pocketbook.

  • avatar
    koreancowboy

    I was *just* saying this yesterday (in light of the Viper line being suspended for a few months)…they need to expand the SRT brand, beyond the Viper and Challenger.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m not opposed to this. With the 6.2L Hellcat Hemi poised to meet or beat the Viper V10′s peak power numbers, the car will still be a serious contender with that motor. Perhaps even more-so as it would be better balanced and more drivable for pilots that aren’t Superman.

    Yes, the panache of the V10 won’t be there, but that alone clearly isn’t cutting it anymore, The Viper needs to step beyond the V10 now. Don’t get me wrong, the silly raw power that’s available everywhere in the power band is incredible, but raw power alone won’t keep the sales rolling in.

    If it does in fact keep the V10, make it a Hemi V10 derived directly from a 6.4L to put it back into the truly stratospheric, stupid power category of today.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I was surprised after the Hemi engine architecture was launched that they didn’t develop a V-10 version (with cylinder deactivation, no less!) to replace the aging LA based Viper V-10. Yes, I know the resemblance to the other LA series engines is a bit thin, but that was where the design started from, even if it deviated pretty dramatically when it was all said and done.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You’re right though, the V10 has more in common with a Magnum 360/5.9L than it does a Hemi. I read an article a while back about some proposals for the revived Viper. I recall one proposal called for the use of a Hemi V8 with KERS. Would have been neat, but obviously cost too much.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    IIRC Chrysler’s concept was called the Firepower!…Can’t forget the exclamation point!

    Nice lookin’ ride, but I preferred the mid-engine Four-Twelve, which still looks awesome (and rather Lambo-ish) today.

  • avatar

    I agree wholeheartedly. The brand has to expand in order to stay relevant. Redesign the car every 4 yrs to keep interest. Try new things. How about a V6 with Turbo making more than a V8?

    Tone down the hypermasculinity a little. It scares the rich young ones away. Keep it masculine, but more classy. Improve the interior.

    Whatever you do, don’t do a PU or a CUV.If that proves the only way, do it only after Lamborghini and Ferrari have done it.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I still think making “SRT” its own brand a stupid idea. Everyone knows the Viper as a Dodge. Most people who know about SRT think of it as a high performance trim level, not a separate brand.

    So what does Chrysler do? Make it as difficult as possible for anyone to access information about the car. They don’t own SRT.com. Go to Dodge.com (logical as it use to be a Dodge)? No Vipers to be seen. Go to vehicles, no Viper listed. Go to the SRT tab? When hovering over it only the Challenger and Charger SRT are shown (further reinforcing its a trim and not a brand, but that is another story). Only when you click it does it go to the SRT site and you can see the Viper. There are probably people who think the current Viper was just a limited run model.

    Contrast to the formerly Dodge Rams. On the upper right of the screen of the Dodge website is the Ram name and logo so users can easily see and go to the right place. At the very least add the Viper name and logo.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    You guys are going at this all wrong. The thing to do is offer a 12.8L DoubleHemi V16. That way the V10 becomes what you want the V8 to be.

  • avatar
    meefer

    It absolutely needs a non-manual option. It won’t sell in any numbers till that happens. I’m sure the unit from the SLS/F12 would do just fine.

  • avatar
    mcs

    How about an SRT version of the Alpha/Miata? I wonder if the Pentastar would fit? Call it the Krait in keeping with the snake theme.

  • avatar
    Christian Gulliksen

    I drove both the Gallardo and the Murcielago when they were new, and preferred the Gallardo. The Murcielago was the superior performer in absolute terms, but in real-world day-to-day driving I’d choose the Gallardo every time. Smaller, lighter, less drama — it was like driving around in the best go-kart ever built.

    There are people, certainly, who bought the Gallardo because it was the Lamborghini they could afford. Good chance they’re in the majority. But I’d have chosen it even if I had Murcielago money. In the same way that I’d also take a Cayman over a 911 or a Ghost over a Phantom.

    From my perspective, therefore, the proposed V8 Viper ain’t such a bad idea.

  • avatar
    GoCougs

    The Viper won’t be a whole lot less expensive with a V8, and it will still be the ‘meh’ car it is today.

    The Viper doesn’t sell because rabid Mopar/Viper fanboys able to buy a $100,000 car are extremely few, and becoming even more so with each passing year.

    Also, the Viper was designed from the ground up to use the V10 – it would need HUGE reworking to use a V8.

  • avatar
    imag

    None of this addresses the real problem: you need snob appeal to make profits in this area.

    Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini are making record profits. The GT-R, the previous ZR-1, and the Viper are all failing. And it’s not because they aren’t fast enough.

    Making the Viper cheaper won’t give it an automatic, and Chrysler doesn’t have the money to give it the sophistication of the Corvette (let alone a 911). Even if they could get it down to the $70-$80K range, it won’t sell in bigger numbers than the Cayman, a car which only exists because it shares the 911 platform.

    I think the Viper was a worthwhile marketing exercise for the brand, a way to say that Chrysler hadn’t given up after the carpocalypse. It answered the question, “Will wealthy people buy an American-style supercar if they gave it a good interior?” The answer, unfortunately, was a resounding “No.”

    Its volumes will not justify more development money. They will let it live its life, possibly give it an ACR, and then let it go.

    I do think the low volumes will make it very collectible. This Viper will likely remain a high water mark for large displacement sports cars.

    • 0 avatar

      > Cayman, a car which only exists because it shares the 911 platform.

      More accurately the new 911 only exists because of the Boxster/Cayman.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Even more accurately, the new 911/Cayman/Boxster only exists because of the Cayenne/Panamera.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          The 911/Cayman/Boxter/Cayenne/Panamera only exist in the first place because of the Beetle.

        • 0 avatar

          > Even more accurately, the new 911/Cayman/Boxster only exists because of the Cayenne/Panamera.

          No, the 911 is literally a massaged boxster. It’s closer than an rx8 is to the miata it shares a platform with. It literally cannot exist without the cheap sports car base.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            You have a different idea of “cheap” than I do.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            My response was more tongue in cheek pointing out that the volume and money that the Cayenne/Panamera bring in is what really allowed for the design and production of the new platform for the Cayman/Boxster/911.

          • 0 avatar

            > You have a different idea of “cheap” than I do.

            Just about everything in the boxster from the interior to the strut suspension screams cheeep.

          • 0 avatar

            > My response was more tongue in cheek pointing out that the volume and money that the Cayenne/Panamera bring in is what really allowed for the design and production of the new platform for the Cayman/Boxster/911.

            Yes I know. But the 911 is literally and not just figuratively impossible without taking a boxster, flipping the drivetrain around, and added an upper arm to justify the extra 30k+.

          • 0 avatar
            cycleguy55

            The Boxster platform is the 981, while the 911 is on a 991 platform. Please explain how these are the same platform and/or provide your source.

          • 0 avatar

            > The Boxster platform is the 981, while the 911 is on a 991 platform. Please explain how these are the same platform and/or provide your source.

            The fronts of these cars are the same. They use variants of the same drivetrain (though 911 engines are tuned for more power). The main difference in the rear is said drivetrain is flipped one way to be mid-engine, and the other way for more money. Pretty clever but not that clever.

            This can be empirically verified by looking at samples of both.

          • 0 avatar
            cycleguy55

            Appearances can be deceiving. What you see is similar styling – there are no body panels interchangeable between the 911 and the Boxster.

            Automobile ‘platforms’ are the structures you can’t see, to which the suspension, engine, bodywork, etc. is attached – and the 981 (Boxster / Cayman) and 991 (911) platforms are not the same.

          • 0 avatar

            > What you see is similar styling – there are no body panels interchangeable between the 911 and the Boxster.

            It’s interesting that you fail to grasp what this implies when you can figur out that putting slightly different looking panels on the same thing works just as well.

            Don’t faint when you find out both the Panamera and Cayenne were derived from the A7 (though less than the 911 from the boxster): just measure from the engine to the firewall. Surely a bespoke platform for a “Porsche” 4dr wouldn’t coincidentally place the heavy motor so far out in front.

          • 0 avatar
            cycleguy55

            Actually the PL51 platform is shared by the Audi Q7 (not the A7), Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg – but not the Panamera.

          • 0 avatar

            > Actually the PL51 platform is shared by the Audi Q7 (not the A7), Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg – but not the Panamera.

            Speaking of misspelling, it’s the PL71. Porsche used the Audi fwd longitudinal eng specs (specially the D platform, A8 not A7) as the basis.

            The Panamera is also D derived with cross-pollination from the Cayenne to reuse the same drivetrains.

          • 0 avatar
            Reino

            Bender has it right. The rest of you are overthinking this. Basically, the Boxster was a brand new car, designed and produced in 1997. When Porsche redesigned the ‘new’ 911, they didn’t evolve the air-cooled 993 like we’d expect them to. They dropped the 993 completely, and modified the Boxster into the ‘new’ 911. Therefore the 911 we know today wouldn’t exist if not for the 1997 Boxster.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        That is not how it works with Porsche. The 911 brings in the profit to justify the platform. They don’t make nearly as much money off the lower priced models.

        • 0 avatar

          > That is not how it works with Porsche. The 911 brings in the profit to justify the platform. They don’t make nearly as much money off the lower priced models.

          The two are in a symbiotic relationship much like how platform sharing works in general, but I’m simply making the observation that the 911 is a tarted up boxster. This is more accurate than boxster is a decontented $100k 911.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Hell put in a infotainment system, seat warmers, and more cup holders. Sheez what a bunch of pansies. Rip out 500 lbs and make it go like stink. Go out in a blaze of smoking tire fire. Phuck you Corvette mid-life-crisis weenies.

  • avatar

    It needs a drop top. The viper was always supposed to be a top down roadster.

    They built a v8 (360) first gen as a mule. Lutz said it was a decent car and they considered making it. I think a hellcat with a auto may help sales. They also need to drop the price to start under 100k.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I think trying to make SRT it’s own brand is a failed experiment. It’s a damn DODGE Viper. SRT as a hyper-performance trim level is fine. As its own brand, not so much. I think that Sergio is not handling the Dodge brand very well, at least what’s left of it.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Oh, no, if the Viper goes away how are rich spoiled teenage boys who are sons of the “Dodge Sales Leader in the Tristate Area” cartel going to off themselves in spectacular fiery, alcohol fueled midnight wrecks that also take out an innocent family of five?

    The drug addicted scion of the Dodge empire can’t be seen driving a… Corvette!

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do know Chrysler when the Phoenix project was in full swing was considering a V8 Pentastar.

    Why not build this Pentastar V8 similar to the Maserati turbo Pentastar.

    Make a 4.4 litre turbo V8 and drop that into the Viper. A V8 turbo Pentastar should be good for 600hp and 520ftlb of torque. This should be more than ample and provide much better FE with great performance.

    For the entry model Viper use the Maserati turbo Pentastar V6.

    You can then do away with a couple of outdated ideas. First the (in reality non Hemi) Hemi engines, which are dinosaurs and create a fantastic Viper, lighter and probably better handling.

    Also, see how far the VM V6 diesel can be pushed. BMW have a 285kw and 700 odd Nm 3 litre diesel. See if Fiat/Chrysler can do the same and have one in the Viper. Imagine this Viper in a sub second 0-60 and able to get over 30mpg!

    This would modernize the Fiat/Chrysler US large engine vehicles and bring them into the 21st century.

    Create something for the future.

  • avatar
    Ion

    They would have to seriously drop the price for that to work. Why would anybody go for a V8 Viper when there’s a Corvette for 54,000.

  • avatar
    Hillman

    Please forgive my ignorance but how much really does the extra 2 cylinders cost? I can’t imagine that the V10 would be that much more then the V8.

    • 0 avatar

      > Please forgive my ignorance but how much really does the extra 2 cylinders cost? I can’t imagine that the V10 would be that much more then the V8.

      If they made like a million of the v10s it prolly won’t cost that much more, but they don’t. These are almost bespoke engines.

      • 0 avatar
        Hillman

        So it is a matter of the amortization of the engine development not having enough units to spread the cost?

        • 0 avatar

          > So it is a matter of the amortization of the engine development not having enough units to spread the cost?

          Amortization is an inverse function, like 1/x, where 1 is the fixed costs of r&d/tooling/factory. If you move towards many units, the extra savings aren’t very much. OTOH if you move towards very few units, the extra costs per unit are large even if the fixed cost isn’t extravagant.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I forgot how good that Firepower! concept looked. Chrysler missed the boat when they decided not to go to production with it. A V8/auto Firepower! would keep that plant running so they could build SRT Vipers to order.

  • avatar
    cycleguy55

    The original Viper was Chrysler’s updated re-make of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra and even had Mr. Shelby as a consultant. It was raw and visceral, but was hampered by the fact it had to meet the necessary regulations and standards of the day. Since then it has been developed further to become more sophisticated and less of a handful to drive.

    One of the tenets of successful business is to compete only where you have competitive advantage. Other than image and loyal repeat customers, where does the current Viper have a real competitive advantage?

    There are lots of well-developed cars that are as fast and easier to drive than the Viper for less money (e.g. Nissan GT-R, C7 Corvette), so how is the Viper to compete in this space? A V8 model may be able to shave a few pounds and $$, but probably not nearly enough to compete with C7 Corvettes.

    If I was spending the money I’d build a good Cobra replica with a strong crate engine. Something like a 535 HP 427 CI small block in a well-sorted, 2,400 lb. Factory Five Roadster or Type 65 (a.k.a. Daytona) Coupe would be scary fast with a better power-to-weight ratio than the Viper. Loud, crude, rough, and ready to bite you in an eye-blink if you’re not paying attention – but that’s the whole point.

    • 0 avatar

      > If I was spending the money I’d build a good Cobra replica with a strong crate engine. Something like a 535 HP 427 CI small block in a well-sorted, 2,400 lb.

      You know what else is “Loud, crude, rough, and ready to bite you in an eye-blink if you’re not paying attention”? A hand grenade.

      A miata engine in the same chassis would accomplish cobra owners goals just the same and generally make for a better car except revving it to show off.

      • 0 avatar

        The concept of the Cobra, and presumably its appeal to those who build and buy replicas, is based in the notion of an American V8 in a small roadster. A Miata engine in a Cobra replica would be a Miata with a custom body, not a Cobra.

        Carroll Shelby’s idea wasn’t particularly original. Allard and Healey did it before Shelby. As a matter of fact, the Nash Healey was originally planned by Donald Healey to be a Cadillac Healey, using the then new high compression OHV Cadillac V8, but on his way over to the States on what I think was the Queen Mary, he saw a tall, heavyset man using a stereo camera (likely a Stereo Realist) on board the ship. Healey, a photography buff, approached him and discovered it was George Mason, who ran Nash Motors. Healey told him of his plan, and Mason told him that if things didn’t work out with Cadillac he should call him in Kenosha. Cadillac was selling every V8 powered car they could and turned Healey down. Mason offered him complete drivetrains on credit and access to Nash’s American dealer network, an offer Healey couldn’t turn down. So that’s why Nash Healeys had inline sixes, but the original plan was the 331 Cadillac V8.

        A Cobra with just a four cylinder engine is called an AC Ace, a very pretty (with styling ultimately cribbed from the Cisitalia) but rather pedestrian perforing British roadster. Actually, a four cylinder Ace would be kinda weak, image wise, since before Shelby stuffed Ford V8s in them, AC sold them with six cylinder engines.

        Sure, a modern 2 liter four with a turbo can put out as much power as an mid-60s 289 Ford, as was fitted to the first Cobras, but then there’s a reason why that chicken farmer from Texas replaced the 289 with the big block 427 Cobra when he got serious about beating the old man in Maranello.

        • 0 avatar

          > A Cobra with just a four cylinder engine is called an AC Ace

          My main point is the Ace is a better car than the Cobra.

          Outside of balls to the wall racing for those who don’t care for living, a big block Cobra is basically the extreme form of this:

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/srt-needs-more-firepower-the-case-for-a-v8-viper/#comment-2979457

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I love that idea. You can’t go wrong with the Factory Five or Superformance Cobra replicas in my opinion.

      A LS7 powered Superformance Grand Sport replica would also be quite interesting…

      • 0 avatar
        cycleguy55

        Perhaps, but there’s something wrong about a GM engine in a Cobra, even if the Cobra is a replica. Regardless, I have speculated about what a Cobra would be like with a modified Nissan VQ – light weight, (relatively) high output and even better weight distribution.

        FWIW, I have noticed replica Cobras with non-Ford engines seem to have lower resale values than those with Ford engines. Those with automatic transmissions take a hit as well, and a double whammy if they’re GM engines with autos. YMMV.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    As someone here said the V10 is an almost bespoke motor. So why not just make it a V12, there are pelnty of Chev V8s recreated at 12′s ryan falconer to name 1.

    A V12 viper could still be the samne architecture, pushrods etc, just 2 more cylinders on the front of the block. Then the viper would offer somethign no vette in fact nothing till you get close to a 400K ferrari or lambo offers.

    That would also leave space for the 600HP V8 model. As the body si plastic, the styling can also be differentiated.

    Hell For 140K I know I would buy a viper V12, for 140K a V10 that sound sliek crap, not so much. Expemsive cars not only have to perform they have to sound great too.
    The V10 came about because it was based ona truck motor, that day si long gone, if you are going to do bespoke a V12 ont he same arcitecture uses the same bore spacing and tooling.

    • 0 avatar

      > As someone here said the V10 is an almost bespoke motor. So why not just make it a V12

      Usually v12 are most harmonically balanced at 60deg or multiple of, whereas these v8s are largely 90deg. I don’t know how crappy a modern 90deg v12 would be but maybe crappier than the slightly less tumored v10.

  • avatar
    cycleguy55

    Would a flat-plane crank help the acoustical properties of the V10? It certainly works for Ferrari, but that’s generally in V12s.

    • 0 avatar

      > Would a flat-plane crank help the acoustical properties of the V10? It certainly works for Ferrari, but that’s generally in V12s.

      Ferrari also uses flat in their V8′s (akin to racing engines). Light but expensive rotating masses help reduce the vibration.

      Whether two i4′s (or i5′s) in “harmony” sounds better than the Murican crossplane burble is somewhat subjective.

  • avatar

    “That,” he replied, “is because you have girl parts.”

    Well, 10% of the people who get breast cancer are men, so I suppose we do have some girl parts.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    ‘Try new things. How about a V6 with Turbo making more than a V8?’ – going V6 is ‘too much’ .. but V8 is very good idea:
    Entry level ‘Corvette rival’.. v8 HEMI 6.4L(500bhp) and(or)
    6.4L Supercharged(600bhp) shouldn’t be a problem for ‘enthiusiasts’ .. and keep V10 for exclusivity ..


    and please stop with this:
    > My response was more tongue in cheek pointing out that the volume and money that the Cayenne/Panamera bring in is what really allowed for the design and production of the new platform for the Cayman/Boxster/911. ‘
    – Por$che makes money on every Cayman/Boxster/911 .. nouvoriche Cayeene and Panamejra are not sponsors for Cayman/Boxster/911 !

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    – Por$che makes money on every Cayman/Boxster/911 .. nouvoriche Cayeene and Panamejra are not sponsors for Cayman/Boxster/911 ! .. Por$che just loves money more than Cars !


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