Chrysler Group's engineers can't seem to keep the 2013 SRT Viper a secret: not only did a leaked Hot Wheels toy rendering preview the car's design, but our spy photographers managed to catch a Viper roadster testing on public roads. The car spotted here was driving with a last-generation Dodge Viper SRT10 roadster.
The fact that this 2013 SRT Viper wears a fabric roof confirms that this car will be available as a convertible, in addition to the coupe model already announced. Though the heavily camouflaged car is clearly an early development mule, several styling elements are immediately visible: side-exit exhausts, giant brakes with red calipers, a lack of visible door handles, and the Viper's signature long hood. The front of the hood appears to have the triangular air intake and dual hood vents seen in the first and second teaser photos of the car.
The view inside reveals what appears to be an LCD screen for the instrument cluster, complete with a speedometer that reads up to 220 mph. (That almost certainly overestimates the Viper's maximum velocity; the 2010 Viper SRT10 had a speedo reading to 220 mph, but had a claimed top speed of "just" 202 mph.) The remainder of the interior is filled with test gear, tangled wires, and ill-fitting plastics, further proving that the Viper seen here is a development mule rather than a finished product.
We expect the 2013 SRT Viper will continue to use a V-10 engine, now displacing up to 8.7 liters and possibly producing as much as 650 hp, up from the 600 hp on offer from the old car's 8.4-liter V-10. A six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive will remain the sole drivetrain option. Federal law also means the new Viper also will adopt electronic stability control for the first time, though we hear that SRT boss Ralph Gilles still wants the new model to be a pure and exciting sports car.
The 2013 SRT Viper coupe will make its public debut on April 4 at the New York auto show. Expect this convertible model to appear several months later -- possibly at the Los Angeles or Detroit auto shows.