As a thinly camouflaged Fiat 500 made its way down Ann Arbor's Main Street yesterday, crowds pointed and young boys cheered, "nice car!" A rather encouraging sign for a car that's supposed to rejuvenate Chrysler's image, don't you think? Only one small problem: they weren't buzzing about the little Fiat. No, all the attention was raining on me, as I pulled up right behind the 500 in a Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR. Oh, how I love the symbolism!
Chrysler is now relying on its new masters in Europe for salvation, but the Viper reminds us that there certainly is a lot of talent back home. OK, so maybe it's not all that great a car in the traditional sense -- the interior is lousy, the noise is deafening, the heat in the cabin nearly insufferable. But that's all part of its character. And in terms of character, the Viper is still a home run. Chrysler aimed for a modern day Cobra, and that's still the overwhelming impression -- a very refreshing contrast to cold capability that defines most modern wundercars.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor