Dodge said it would be back. Although the current Viper is no more, a new model -- a thoroughly updated car -- is reportedly headed our way by 2012.
"It's not based on anything else," Dodge CEO and styling chief Ralph Gilles told the Detroit News. "There won't be a part of the car that's untouched."
With Chrysler merged into Fiat, there's been rampant speculation about the future of the Viper, with rumors suggesting that it could be derived from a Ferrari or the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, itself Ferrari-derived. Gilles says that's all nonsense and that while there are some similarities between the Viper and 8C, their proportions will be very different.
"Where the cabin is, relative to the wheels, is very unique," Gilles said. "The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore."
Gilles also said that the next Viper's engine won't be lifted from a Ferrari, as has also been speculated. He didn't elaborate, though, so it's not yet known whether the existing 8.4-liter V-10 will be updated or replaced. That's not to say Fiat won't have its hands in the new Viper, though. In fact, Gilles said that Fiat will help tune the car's driving dynamics. Viper fans, though, may be disappointed by what they read next.
"We will use their expertise to open the performance envelope in the Viper," he said. "Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars. I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car."
Adding stability control, of course, isn't Dodge's idea -- it's federal law for new cars these days. If there was a hallmark of the Viper, though, it was that the car was unaided and intolerant of subpar drivers. The wild, unbridled nature of the Viper was part of its charm, and many fans aren't likely to be happy about a "more forgiving" car that's more "accessible." Still, Gilles is a known Viper fan who even races the current car, so there's reason to believe the next Viper won't be completely watered-down.
Of course, we won't know for sure until we drive one. For that, we'll have to wait until the summer of 2012.
Source: The Detroit News