Chrysler building 2013 SRT Viper in Detroit, sans Dodge

December 13, 2011

There's few vehicles more ardently awaited than the resurrected Dodge Viper, the V-10 beast that had grown stale by its departure a few years ago. Today, Chrysler announced it would build the new Viper in Detroit later next year -- and that it was no longer a Dodge.

Along with word that Chrysler would fire up the Conner Avenue assembly plant where the Viper had been previously assembled, it referred to the car as the "2013 SRT Viper." Under Fiat control, the SRT group had been elevated from some engineers who made go-fast versions of everyday Chryslers and Dodges into its own brand. That hadn't meant much until today.

By making the SRT Viper essentially a stand-alone vehicle, Chrysler can now style the car without having to call on specific Dodge cues like the gunsight grille. It can sell the car in any Chrysler-Dodge showroom. And should Fiat decide to borrow parts of the beast for a new Maserati, there's limited kvetching about sharing parts with a Dodge.

Enthusiasts are betting that the new Viper will be powered by a version of the 8.4-liter V-10 still built for drag-racing versions of the Challenger. That might happen to please Viper purists, but a smaller, force-fed engine of similar power would make Chrysler's fuel economy figures easier to meet.