Well that was quick. Chrysler, restructuring everything down to the last nut, bolt and pencil during their bankruptcy has announced that the first of their idled plants to be reopened will be the factory that builds the Viper.
It’s an interesting move, and one that is sure to please performance car enthusiasts the world over, and seems to run counter to the rumors that Dodge is looking to sell off the Viper brand the way General Motors sold off Saturn and Hummer. The other part of that rumor was if Chrysler couldn’t unload the Viper marque, it would go the way of Pontiac (and AMC and DeSoto, et al).
Sad prospects for sad times. Sure, the Viper is about as unsubtle as an American car can get (which is saying a lot), but it’s not without its charms. Both the first gen Viper and the current iterations are very, very quick, and the handling, although not being light and tossable like, say, a Lotus Elise, is pretty good for a car that big. And the levels of steady-state grip, thanks to the steamroller-sized tires, is like a barnacle.
And don’t forget that they raced these beasts, and were quite successful. They acquitted themselves quite well in international GT class competition, winning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on more than one occasion. Oddly enough, the French LOVED these cars, particularly the bellow of the V10 at full chat down the Mullsane. Then again, the French love Jerry Lewis, so they might have a soft spot for the unsubtle and over the top.
Photo from Flickr user grendelkhan