QOTD: Is There Room for the Snake?
August 18th, 2017 5:41 PM Share
They closed the Viper line at Conner, they’re selling to Chinese
What was once the “engineering company”, now trembles on its knees
The money went to swift sedans, that need cash on the hood
There ain’t nobody left who thinks the Journey’s any good
And the Roadkill squad they’re restless, they need somewhere to go
As Sergio and I look out tonight from Desolation Row
We’ve said goodbye to the finest, fastest American track car ever produced and, although I don’t know exactly why it failed, I have my theories. The only question left is: Could it come back? Is there room for any sporting car from FCA besides the 500 Abarth and the super-sedans from both sides of the Atlantic?
Let me throw my hat into the ring for a moment: I think FCA should field the smallest, lightest RWD ponycar they can build. Something for a younger demographic, something to thrill the people who find the Challenger just too ponderous and exaggerated. It should be fun, it should be fast, and it should be priced to match or beat the Mustang. The Pentastar would do a great job of pushing 3,100 pounds, and there’s always room for a Hemi or Hellcat engine if things get serious. Heck, you could even try a four-cylinder turbo like the one from the Giulia.
The name of the car? Come up with it yourself. My suggestion is this.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Published August 18th, 2017 11:10 AM
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Chrysler has already tried to put out a Mustang competitor on more than one occasion. The first serious attempt was the Barracuda. It was at least respectable if not quite superior. And it was built during an era when Chrysler still built some decent, desirable and durable machines. The second attempt was the mid-80s Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Laser twins -snazzy looking cars with OK handling and acceleration (for the era). But there's a reason Phil Edmunston from Lemon Aid refers to the 80s as "the lemon years", and these cars were one of the primary inspirations for that assessment. So now we arrive at a point in history where some think it might be a good idea for FCA to produce a "Mustang-beater" with rear-wheel drive and a big honkin' V8 under the hood. Careful what you wish for because as always, the devil is in the details. (not to mention Fiat's influence and ability to turn everything it touches into sh!t, and the bean-counters' predilection for stuffing V6s in places where V8s should go). I suspect any bastard child hunk of steel, aluminum and plastic offspring from this marriage will have automatic transmissions with the life expectancy of a Taylor Swift relationship, consume head gaskets like it was tax-deductible and completely miss the point by trying to pass off the only engine option - a turbo 4-banger - as the best thing since sex. I think I'll stick to Mustangs thankyouverymuch.
The V-10 in the Viper was getting old, but I think that they could have stuck a Hellcat V-8 in the Viper and kept it in production. I would think that down the road they could switch the Viper to a platform shared with various big Maseratis. Similarly, they could develop a slightly smaller V-8 powered replacement for the Challenger (perhaps a 'Cuda?) that shared its platform the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
The Giulia weighs between 3,000 and 3,400 lbs, depending on drivetrain and equipment. They could probably take a few inches out of the platform like Chrysler did to make the Challenger out of the 300, and end up with a good basis for a RWD pony car.
Unfortunately, with the new tooling they would need to make a light RWD car, that pony car would cost about $50,000 in the base version. And there wouldn't be enough buyers who want something that won't hold God-knows-how much baby detrius. FCA would rather kill Chrysler and Dodge--and their respective heritage--and build another three-row Jeep crossover that will actually sell.