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NOS2006

Dodge Viper: Reborn

6 posts in this topic

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Can the Viper be saved from distinction? I think so.



With Fiat acquiring a piece of Chrysler, a question to ask is whether or not the Dodge Viper should still cease to exist. Some rumors have circulated that Dodge will be selling the Viper as a brand, and have already been contacted by some purchasers. However, I see that this new deal with Fiat could spell a new age for the Viper. Since Fiat owns Alfa Romeo, the Viper could be positioned as the brawn little brother to the 8C Competizione.

While the two models would not share powerplants, the size of the two are very similar. The Competizione possesses some very sexy and compelling characteristics that the Viper needs to live on in a new generation. The Viper needs influence for a longer wheelbase and slightly smaller body while the Competizione could use more of the dynamics the Viper's character possesses. Both, however, could use less weight and more finesse on the track to throw itself through any corner with the greatest ease. Sharing components could slightly drop the Competizione's price while helping justify the Viper's high price for its market with use of better and lighter materials.

Though the Viper does not need the superior refinement and sophistication of the $200,000 Competizione, it's no longer necessary to mention that the Viper will need more sophistication to stay in direct competition with the Corvette and other more luxurious cars in its class.

Now let's not forget of the Viper's heritage and reason for existance: to be the ultimate all-out American sportscar where power is the main ingredient. And, believe me, that is a terrific formula. However, would it hurt to up the Viper's character with more elaborate design and more extraordinary attention to detail in this process? This would help deter customers from buying Porsches and other expensive sportscars to buy the Viper instead because of its much more refined feel and performance superiorities. Imagine a much higher implementation of lighter materials on the body and chassis along with leather and Alcantra surfaces in the interior making the Viper not only feel feel more nimble and threatening on the track, but have a much more impressive fit and feel from the cockpit too.

The interior on every Viper thus far has been outclassed by every vehicle in its price range. Now it's well known that the Viper isn't being sold for soft-touch materials on the dash, but it wouldn't hurt. Putting high-end materials in the very driver-oriented interior, coupled with better technology like Heads Up Display and a unique radio design not found in a Caravan, would make this car much more marketable. Then add race-inspired seats and switches on the dash, like the Ford GT, and keep the many gauges to know the exact dynamics of the car at all times. This would spice up the interior and make literally anybody want to own this vehicle.

Add with these upgrades a Brembo brake system, Tremec six-speed manual transmission, tight steering, and an even tighter suspension and you've got a machine that any driver would love. A big change, though, would come in the powertrain where a very unique twin-turbocharged 6.1L Hemi V8 engine would replace the current 8.4L V10 engine. This would save weight while maintaining a very impressive amount of power. Of course the Viper is famous for its exclusive V10, but twin-turbo V8 setups are even more exclusive and rare, and despite the engineering changes, there would be long-term cost savings in implementing the Hemi engine into the Viper.

With all that power and potential for performance, one more factor has to be considered, and that's the exterior design with special attention focused on the aerodynamic details of the car. Past Vipers haven't been very aerodynamic, but this Viper will close the gap between itself and the competition and push the coefficient of drag closer to 0.30 for quicker maneuvering, higher top speeds, and better overall performance. That being said, the Viper would maintain its very masculine look in a slightly smaller package, but with a stretched wheelbase from the Competizione to enhance the Viper's already sexy stance.

Back to the basics, Chrysler and Alfa Romeo would jointly engineer the chassis. Once completely satisfied, Chrysler would use this in the Viper. From there, the two brands would go in their own directions and Alfa Romeo would take the next step in having Maserati fine tune the chassis to their own standards for use in the Competizione as they already do. Alfa Romeo would continue the building of their sportscar and purchase engines from Ferrari like the current model. On the other hand, Chrysler would have SRT design, engineer, and strengthen the 6.1L Hemi engine to be able to handle the boost and extra power of a very symmetrical twin-turbo setup, right down to the side pipes. This engine would then be mated to a Viper-specific Tremec transmission and mounted to the frame with the very beefy suspension and braking system already in place. The Viper would continue being hand-built in its Conner Avenue plant while the Italians would piece together the specialized Competizione.

All in all, this would be the perfect fix for the Viper's future. It would take a lot of work and time to engineer this car to be as perfect as we'd all hope for, but what masterpiece doesn't take a lot of time to perfect? This Viper would be everything and more than everybody's hoped for since the car's introduction. This would be the ultimate American sportscar, and its fangs would dig deep in its competitors' skin.



Specs of the Viper compared to the 8C Competizione and the Corvette ZR1:

viperspecseu0.jpg


And a comparison of the Next-Gen Viper:

ngviperspecsfl0.jpg
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Add with these upgrades a Brembo brake system, Tremec six-speed manual transmission, tight steering, and an even tighter suspension and you've got a machine that any driver would love. A big change, though, would come in the powertrain where a very unique twin-turbocharged 6.1L Hemi V8 engine would replace the current 8.4L V10 engine.

It doesn't need anything extra as far as performance, handling, and braking go. It already posts some fantastic numbers in these categories. In ACR form it can best the ZR1 around the Nürburgring. As far as powertrains go...an 8.4L naturally aspirated V10 is far more unique than just another turbo V8...or V10. Tell me how many N/A V10's are on the market today, and how many of them make 600 horsepower.

I agree the interior could use a rework, more fitting of the price. That being said...the Viper has always stood for raw engineering. It's not about 274 computers doing the work for the driver, it's not about how it can cuddle your pansy ass over bumps or any of that. What makes the Viper so special in today's market is that it's one of the few cars that have not succumb to computer nannies, 14 cupholders, 97 speaker sound system, the need to be able to fondle the dash, and such.

Take that away from the Viper and you're left with just another fast car. The Viper is everything I hoped for since introduction, and much of what you propose would take away everything that makes the Viper what it is.

Now had you suggested this very same article but replaced Viper with Firepower or some flagship Chrysler GT along those lines...well then I would agree completely.

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I love the 'gills' on the current viper hood, I'd like to get a hood like that for my vette.

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When you're packin' a 500+ cubic inch V10 under the hood the

words "little" or "lighter materials" should never be used.

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