While it’s not totally uncommon for a sleek European sedan to be called feminine, it’s never been a term you’d really use for the Dodge Viper. But that may all change according to an odd recent announcement. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, the head of Chrysler design boss and head of the Dodge brand, Ralph Gilles, told the press that the next generation of the Dodge Viper is going to be “drop-dead beautiful” and have a look inspired by “a naked woman on the beach”.
A completely new design is a good idea considering sales of the previous generation model steadily declining over the years with only 392 sold in 2010, when production ceased.
Gilles also confirmed that the new model won’t be based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, and clarified that it’s not going to have Ferrari powerplants either. He also went on to state that the next Viper would try to steal buyers away from traditional foe the Chevrolet Corvette and also the Porsche brand. But neither Porsche or Chevrolet are probably too worried at this point. The Dodge boss was also confident regarding the cost-effectiveness of the Viper, stating that it will be profitable.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Viper is scheduled to be first show next year – without any tan lines.
It hasn’t been the easiest road for the Dodge Viper supercar recently. When the last model rolled off the assembly line back in July, there were only loose rumors about the possibility of a new generation. It was a few months later that new information leaked about a possible successor, which was to share a platform with the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, much to the dismay of hardcore Viper fans.
Now, according to The Detroit News, Chrysler has confirmed that next year the world will get it’s first look at the new 2013 Viper and it won’t be based on Alfa’s supercar.
“There won’t be a part of the car that remains untouched,”Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles said, and would apparently not rule out the potential for a brand-new V10 engine.
“Where the cabin is, relative to the wheels, is unique” said Gilles. “The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore” he added.
Late last year, Gilles confirmed that the new Viper would draw on the Alfa-owned Ferrari brand’s knowledge, but would not use any of its technology. “They really know sports cars. We just want some advice,” Gilles said at the time. “Ferrari is Ferrari, Viper is Viper. Please don’t go there.”
Mr. Gilles also added that the 2013 Viper will be “a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people”.
The previous generation Viper was an unforgiving machine, without any real electronic assistance it quickly scorned anyone who treated it with disrespect. While this has given the supercar a hardcore appeal a more drivable Viper is not such a bad idea.
How far Dodge plans to dilute the sports car’s aggro nature is not known for now. But Chrysler will be looking to keep a fine balance between the ingredients.
Something quite special for the muscle car scene happened at the recently held SEMA show in Las Vegas. Ralph Gilles, the big cheese at Chrysler’s Dodge brand in the states came out and told a crowd of Mopar-obsessed fans that a resurrection of the classic Barracuda may be on the cards.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds, especially with Dodge already re-released the Challenger, which was the Barracuda’s fellow pony car sibling from 1970 through 1974, so the new vehicles platform has already been developed. The bigger question is how exactly would Chrysler differentiate the two models if they shared a platform and featured similar styling? Also, how would the model fit into the current Chrysler range? Being that the Plymouth brand was phased out from the Chrysler Group’s portfolio back in 2001, if the ‘Cuda brought back from oblivion, it would most likely be marketed under the Chrysler brand.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us to bring the ‘Cuda back,” said Ralph Gilles, he added that “the customers have been stomping their feet for it.”
This is the second occasion that the Chrysler Group has looked into bringing back the ‘Cuda nameplate, but due to ownership changes and of course, last year’s bailout, the company was forced to put all plans on hold. But now, with improved financial stability it could be time for this motoring icon to return to the fold. Stay tuned.
Dodge has just unveiled its newest turn-key race car, the Viper SRT10 ACR-X.
Based on the Viper ACR, the ACR-X is a track-only race car designed to compete in the Viper Racing League, the Sports Car Club of America, and the National Auto Sport Association.
Awesome power is delivered by a 8.4-litre V10 engine that produces 640 horsepower (40 hp more than the standard model). Other performance enhancements include a specially-tuned sports suspension, a 65kg weight reduction (compared to the production Viper), improved aerodynamics (for increased downforce), and a complete safety package (with a roll cage, fuel cell and race seat).
During testing at the Laguna Seca racetrack, the Viper ACR-X averaged a time of 1:31.00. The street-legal Viper ACR set the production car lap record recently at the same track with a time of 1:33.944.
According to Dodge CEO, Ralph Gilles, “The Dodge Viper ACR-X takes the performance attributes of Viper to an even higher level for a wide range of drivers starting with the grassroots racer all the way up to the professional. This project is a result of many years of performance engineering expertise from our SRT team, combined with the passion and dedication of Viper Nation, to keep the Viper racing tradition going strong on tracks around the country and the world.”
Set to go into production this spring, the Viper ACR-X will be priced from around $110,000 USD.
With the dust still settling on the Fiat and Chrysler alliance rumours remain plentiful. One of the most interesting is that Ferrari will get on board in the development of the next generation Viper.
Dodge brand chief Ralph Gilles recently confirmed that while the next generation Viper may benefit from Maranello’s knowledge and experience, no platforms or technology will be shared between the two companies.
Gilles had previously fueled speculation with this statement “When we have partners across the ocean who are known as the best sports-car makers in the world, the future opportunities are huge.”
In a later news conference, Gilles backed down a notch.
“They really know sports cars. We just want some advice,” Gilles said. “Ferrari is Ferrari, Viper is Viper. Please don’t go there.”
The current generation Viper is due to be retired in mid 2010, and a replacement is not expected until later in 2012.
Ralph Gilles, big boss of the Dodge car brand has dropped some big news on the Viper in a very recent interview. After going back and forth for the past 18 months on what to do with Viper, Chrysler has decided that production of the current Viper will end in July 2010. But before that happens, 500 final cars will be built that will apparently be the most special Vipers ever. Gilles stated that the company wanted to preserve the value of existing Vipers by not simply continuing the current generation indefinitely. He talked it up but didn’t give any real details on what would make the final 500 cars so special.
However, Viper fans don’t need to go into mourning just yet. Gilles also revealed that an all-new sports car is being developed with a launch targeted sometime in 2012. It gets better, the replacement Viper will be getting some help from Chrysler’s new Italian brothers Fiat. This may mean that Ferrari could be involved in development of this mysterious new model. Muscle car fans everywhere will be hoping Chrysler retains the Viper’s raw nature in the new generation.