Chrysler last year tried to sell its Viper sports car—production facilities, tooling, and all—and failed. But the Viper isn't dead yet. If the rumors are right, the Viper might be very much alive in the company's future-product plans—and getting its own Ferrari/Maserati-derived engine.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, as we've reported previously, has plans to make Dodge a performance brand for the U.S. in the same way that Alfa Romeo is in Europe.
Reports have been circulating for many weeks now about how under Fiat control the Viper will be revived, underpinned by Maserati's platform. And recently TheCarConnection.com was told that if we do see a next-generation Viper it surely won't include the carry-over 8.4-liter V-10—which had been developed with some help from Lamborghini. "You wouldn't believe what it costs to make," a Chrysler source recently mused.
Now Car and Driver editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman affirms (albeit as a rumor) that Fiat has a plan to produce a new V-10 version as part of its next-generation V-8 design; the engine would include separate attributes for Ferrari and Maser versions, and the V-10 Viper version would still include pushrods.
It's likely that yet another version of the engine would power a select Alfa model, such as the current (and scarce) Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
2009 Dodge ViperEnlarge Photo
In TheCarConnection.com's Bottom Line review of the 2009 Dodge Viper, we point to the Viper's bold, brash styling; formidable, supercar-class power; and buttoned-down handling as positives. Performance and styling—after all, what really matters to Viper buyers—are perfect tens in our ratings system. The Viper has many flaws, however, including a very loud, rough driving experience and an uncivilized cabin.
The Viper's lumpy V-10 has never been refined, and finesse has never been part of the Viper's outrageous, cartoonish character. If the Fiat team produces anything too smooth and rev-happy, it wouldn't be a Viper, would it?