March 28, 2012
Recently, CBS’s staid block of news programming 60 Minutes sat down with Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and chatted about the roll coaster ride the company has been on for the last few years. Some of the topics discussed ranged from negotiating the controlled bankruptcy of Chrysler with the US government back in 2009, the horrible bureaucracy that plagued the company, to the recent introduction of the Dodge Dart. It’s all very interesting to listen to and, whether or not you care about Chrysler, you do gain a certain respect for Marchionne who, as it turns out, is one of the biggest workaholics in the automotive industry.
As we’ve seen in the past, though, when 60 Minutes sits down with a notable auto exec and takes their cameras inside the halls and rooms around company headquarters, what’s usually out of focus in the background of certain shots can sometimes be more interesting than the story that’s being reported on. And it seems members of the Chrysler-centric website Allpar may have locked in on something.
At around the 10 minute mark in the video, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft takes a break from chatting with Marchionne to talk to Chrysler’s SRT Division CEO and head of design Ralph Gilles. In the background of the footage of the talking Gilles, there appears to be a design for a coupe of some sort painted in red paint. Okay, so it isn’t hiding out in the weeds, but whatever it could be is hiding out behind Ralph Gilles. Chrysler has reportedly been working on the revival of Plymouth’s old Barracuda muscle car to be sold either as a Dodge or underneath the Viper as another SRT-branded model. Could this be it? What do you think?
When Automotive News picked up on Allpar’s findings, they contacted Chrysler where a representative responded and said the design was “just one of the many concepts and projects in our studios. That one [was] a student model.” While I have no reason to doubt any of that, the rep also didn’t say it wasn't a student design for a new Barracuda.
The 60 Minutes segment can be viewed here. Again, the car comes in around the 10 minute mark. It’s also worth watching, if you haven’t already.