By on August 5, 2016

2016 Dodge Viper ACR

We know that Chrysler put its Viper operations up for grabs as the company — and country — spiraled into economic disaster back in 2008, but the date of the V10-powered sports car’s near-salvation at the hands of investors is hazy.

James Glickenhaus, the actor, economic adviser and small-batch supercar builder, told TTAC’s Ronnie Schreiber that a group of buyers almost saved the Viper and its Detroit assembly plant, but the deal fell through. Which is why the Viper is going away, right about….now.

But Glickenhaus left out a key detail of his recollection — the date.

“A private group wanted to buy Viper and approached FCA who were receptive. This private group asked me for advice and I gave it to them,” Glickenhaus told TTAC. He added that he advised against the plan (which he describes as taking place several years ago), and the would-be deal ultimately went nowhere.

Glickenhaus can’t recall exactly when the wealthy investors approached the automaker, but Road & Track believes it was between the 2008 Viper offering and the company’s 2009 bankruptcy. That means the proposed deal wasn’t with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but Cerberus, then-owner of Chrysler LLC.

Glickenhaus told R&T that the group had the cash to back up any deal. “They were a bunch of enthusiasts and they thought there was value in the Viper name, the plant, and [the car itself],” he said.

Why didn’t Glickenhaus approve of the deal? “I thought that car was pretty tired, and it needed a revamping,” he told R&T. “They would have come up with a better car . . . [but] they’d be spending a lot of money to do it.”

At the time of Chrysler LLC’s bankruptcy filing, the automaker claimed there wasn’t much interest in the Viper. Court documents later revealed that wasn’t the case. At least two groups approached Chrysler before May, 2009, but that’s ancient history now.

After the limited-edition 2017s leave the factory, it’s lights out for a model introduced by Lee Iacocca a quarter century ago. Three corporate makeovers since Iacocca told Bob Lutz to “Go build the damn thing, will ya?”, the company wants nothing to do with its halo car.

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7 Comments on “Attempted Viper Buyout Likely Occurred Before Chrysler’s Bankruptcy...”

  • avatar

    He could fix his slight memory lapse, quite quickly.

    Jim: “Ms. Secretary, please pull the files for the Viper diligence, and tell me the date.”

    -seven seconds elapse-

    Secretary: “Yes sir, that was 2006.”

    He was being intentionally vague because lawyer.

  • avatar

    The Viper did what it was supposed to do, it really was a “halo” car that got people excited about Chrysler.

    It was an absolute piece of junk if you ever saw one up close (at least the early models) but was worth its weight in gold when it was introduced.

    I don’t think for a minute it could stand on its own 2 feet as a separate car company and the public has moved on.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re actin like single-model car companies don’t do well, pfft.

    • 0 avatar

      Well if you bought the company, you’d need to announce “hybrid” and “full ev” variants. Then talk about all the “good paying jobs” those will create. Hire a [email protected] lobbyist and find a sucker state / municipality that will bankroll the move. Conceivably you could keep the party going for quite a while…

      • 0 avatar

        That is an ass backwards way to run any company, and a completely idiotic gamble on the part of council members if they approve. It is also guaranteed to work.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “They would have come up with a better car . . . [but] they’d be spending a lot of money to do it.”

    This is exactly what I suspected. Sometimes the blind squirrel gets the nut.

    It’s not today’s Viper that matters; it’s tomorrow’s.

  • avatar

    The chasis and suspension of the curent viper is by alla counts pretty excellent, the bodywork is easily changed as its plastic cladding.

    What really holds the car back imo is the engine. Not the power thats ecellent, but it sounds like a vacum cleaner fart, and its simply not exotic.

    Within the scale of doing things “inexpesively” a viper with a ryan falocner pushrod v12 for under 150k would be an extremly compelling car.

    Maybe there is a group to buy viper now, we know sergio is a seller.

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