Say hello to the new SRT Viper. Most enthusiasts still call it the Dodge Viper, but we’ll let the marketing guys at Chrysler have their branding fun. Prior to Chrysler’s bankruptcy, the Viper’s future was uncertain. Street Racing Technology Chief Executive Officer Ralph Gilles alluded to this, saying:
“After a gut-wrenching period of uncertainty, the Street and Racing Technology brand team is extremely proud that our hand-built in Detroit, flagship supercar is back and ready to take on the performance car world.” In a bid to generate cash, Chrysler attempted to sell the Viper brand to the highest bidder, which failed. Then, Chrysler was overtaken by Fiat and the Viper’s future was in question yet again.
When Chrysler started up its plants post-bankruptcy, Conner Avenue Assembly (where the Viper is built) was the first to reopen. That sent an important signal about the Viper’s future. The car guys at Chrysler fought for the future of the Viper. Thanks to some governmental regulations that the previous Viper no longer met though, production was stopped until a new model could be readied.
The 2013 model is a fresh interpretation of the classic sports car design loved by many. To our eyes, it is still instantly recognizable as the Viper. Unlike some reports indicated, the playbook hasn’t been thrown out entirely. For instance, the shape and deep inset of the doors is a recognizable cue from the original. Also, the large rear gas cap is a throwback detail. For 2013 the Viper is much more refined though. The previous Viper always had a crudeness to it that, for a particular buyer set, constituted some of its appeal.
A lot of those rough edges appear to have been ironed out (for the most part) with the 2013. Out back the impression is almost Aston-Martin like. It works brilliantly, and it is our favorite view of the car. Moving to the interior, the new cockpit is impressive. The overall layout is still the same, but it features more modern surfacing and textural elements. Technology now plays a central role, with a large screen dominating the center stack.
Instead of a traditional gauge cluster, there is a screen that offers new functionality right within the driver’s line of sight. Now we’ll get to the question you really care about: what is under the hood? The answer is a naturally-aspirated 8.4-liter V-10 making 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. How is that for politically incorrect? We love it. 600 lb-ft of torque makes the Viper’s V-10 the most powerful naturally-aspirated production engine on the planet. Once again, the Viper has taken its place as an unabashed, All-American supercar. This time around it suits that role better than ever before. Until the 2013 Viper hits the streets, check it out in our gallery below.