Whether it’s the apocalypse or the arrival of the midengine Corvette, if you predict something long enough, you’re eventually gonna get it right. So we might as well get the rumor machine going with regard to the dearly departed Dodge Viper, which ended production last year -- if for no other reason than we really miss that thing.
Car and Driver is leading the speculative charge this time around; in a recent report cobbled together from unnamed sources, we’re told that an upcoming
fifth-gen (make that sixth-gen) Viper could make its debut as soon as 2019 with sales slated for 2020 or 2021. This rumored car would get:
- some type of new V8 engine in a front-midmounted configuration
- a manual transmission
- a convertible at launch, with a coupe to follow
- and more!
You can read more at Car and Driver; how much you choose to believe is up to you. For our part, we hope there’s truth behind the speculation. The Viper was a very special car: a hand-built, driver-oriented machine capable of slaying giants on the track, turning any on-road journey into a bona-fide occasion and, every so often, scaring the crap out of you if you failed to give it the respect it deserved.
Sure, the trademark V10 seems to be off the table for any future Viper incarnations, but this isn't as huge a blow as it might first seem. The big 8.4-liter V10 made the Viper different; though its 645 hp had been far surpassed, output-wise, by the end of its run, and it tended to drone at expressway speeds, it had enough grunt to make the car a cinch to drive even in stop-and-go traffic (believe it or not!) and had unique engine note in reserve for those willing to really wind it up.
But building an engine with one low-volume application is tough to justify -- and besides, the very first Viper prototype was V8-powered. Dropping two cylinders opens the door on some interesting possibilities for both road and race cars, and interestingly, the idea of the Viper as a family of vehicles, or at least a vehicle with a range of substantially different powertrain options (including a wild KERS setup), has been proposed in the past.a href="/article/car-life/dodge-viper-saying-goodbye-to-a-legend"">>
Long after sundown, on a quiet stretch of I-65 an hour or so north of Nashville, an RX-8 materializes in the rearview mirror. The guy wants to race. No real surprise there. It’s the kind of ...
Engine aside, there are a handful of things that we'd like to see on a future Viper:
- The front-midengine configuration should stay. Especially with a certain midengine GM offering on the way, this adherence to a tried-and true setup will only help the car set itself apart. Plus, it’s the only way to make the Viper’s signature long hood/short deck proportions work.
- Ditto the manual; if it’s not the only option, it should be the default one.
- The overall experience -- and the the ability to demolish the competition on a closed course -- should drive the car’s development, not the quest for horsepower. Hopefully the existence of something like the Demon makes chasing high outputs for the sake of bench racing a pointless exercise.
- It should be a little bit raw, even in this age of electronic safety nets. It’s hard to define what makes a car feel visceral, but visceral the old snakes definitely were. We don’t want an American AMG GT; we want a freaking Viper.
- Ideally, the Viper should be built in Detroit, but the closure and conversion of the Conner Avenue facility where the last car was built presents a significant obstacle on that front.
If it can touch all those major points, we’d say it will have earned the Viper badge. Oh, and it should get side pipes, too -- that goes without saying.
Will any of this come to pass? It's tough to say. Even if we can assume that FCA is serious about a new Viper right now, shifting strategies or economic uncertainty could spell its premature doom.
So, as always, we'll keep our ears open for any tantalizing rumors but remain cautiously optimistic until we're in the driver's seat of a production version.
Graham Kozak - Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they're doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.
This news has been published by title We Hope The Rumors Are True Because America Nay, The World Needs Another Dodge Viper
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