The Dodge Viper has always been an ambitious car. When it first arrived, it was an unruly racecar for the road, capable of killing you if its raw chassis and power were not respected. It is a car of long odds, so even when we heard it was being discontinued, there was always the possibility that it could come back–again.
Last year, we were disappointed by the news that the Viper was being discounted for a second time. But like Michael Jordan coming out of retirement twice, there is word from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles that the Viper could make a second comeback. Let’s just hope it goes better than Jordan’s time with the Wizards.
According to Automobile Magazine, a new Viper is being considered, with a far more modern architecture. But developing a new architecture costs money, and the price was really an issue in creating an American sports car. In a world where the Mustang GT V8 starts at $32,000 and a Corvette starts at $55,000, a Viper that starts at $87,000 always positioned as a tough sell.
The answer to lowering costs would be sharing a platform, and the report suggests that the likely candidate would be the new rear-wheel drive platform that underpins the Giullia (Alfa’s BMW 5 Series competitor, pictured below) and is slated to underpin the replacements for the Dodge Challenger and Charger.
So a more svelte coupe based on the same platform on a Challenger replacement makes sense. Another inevitable move is FCA dumping the V10 that has been the Viper’s engine blueprint ever since it hit dealers. That’s not all-bad, considering Chrysler’s 707-horsepower Hellcat engine. It is more compact than the long V10 and makes more power than the 645-hp V10.
In short, the Viper could live on, but the exclusive platform just doesn’t make financial sense. Hopefully we see a more common-man Viper, that costs significantly less thanks to sharing platforms and engines with existing products.