For Sale By:Dealer
Exterior Color: Purple
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Number of Doors: 2 Doors
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Students and teachers at a Washington community college are up in arms following an order from Chrysler that it must destroy the pre-production Dodge Viper that was donated to the school's automotive technology program ten years ago.
The Viper in question is said to be the fourth off the production line, based on its VIN, and has had its emissions controls disabled, allowing its ten-cylinder engine to produce 600 horsepower, according to a report from Yahoo! Autos. As one of the first Vipers ever produced, the school's AT instructors claim it could be worth $250,000 in a museum, while a local news report purports that Jay Leno once tried to purchase the car, but the sale was prevented by Chrysler.
As pointed out by our friends at Autobytel, though, there are a lot of things in this story that don't quite add up. Immediately noticeable from the news report embedded below - which shows the car at South Puget Sound Community College - is that the car in question is not a 1992 model. When the Viper went on sale in 1992, it was only available as an RT/10 with a (flimsy) soft top, like the red car shown above. But the car featured in the report from KING5 News (inset image) is clearly a hardtop Viper GTS, which didn't enter production until 1996. And even if, as reported by a local newspaper, the hardtop featured is a prototype, it doesn't explain the lack of another iconic feature of the first Vipers - their distinctive side pipes. This kind of pokes holes in the school's argument that this is the fourth Viper to ever roll down the line. At best, this appears to be a pre-production Viper GTS.
Dodge isn't going anywhere. Despite some rumor and speculation over the future of the crosshair grille and the cars that wear it, Dodge brand boss, Tim Kuniskis, sat down with TheDetroitBureau.com, explaining that the marque isn't going anywhere. His sentiments echo those of SRT boss Ralph Gilles, who told a group of enthusiasts in July that "Dodge is here to stay!"
Dodge's death won't be "a part of a master plan to consolidate brands," Kuniskis told TheDetroitBureau.com. Instead, the brand, which is ultimately under the command of Fiat/Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, will likely ditch some of its badge-engineered models, like the Dodge Grand Caravan. A more focused Dodge, which was something Gilles has already hinted at, will likely see it exploring areas of the market that haven't been exploited by other Chrysler brands.
Kuniskis, not surprisingly, wasn't willing to delve into any detailed product plans, telling TDB that the size of the brand's lineup "remains to be seen." Regardless of how big the brand actually ends up being (it is presently Chrysler's volume brand - and not by a little), hopefully the statements from Kuniskiss can put the rumors of a Dodge closure to bed.
Lawsuits are an unfortunate part of doing business in just about any industry, so the latest complaint filed by a California-based aftermarket firm against Chrysler would seem to be nothing more than business as usual. But this isn't the first time the two companies have sparred over this particular issue.
According to a report from Automotive News, the dispute revolves around the Scat Pack name that Chrysler first offered on the Charger, Coronet, Dart and Super Bee starting in 1968. Scat Enterprises, a manufacturer of crankshafts and other components for Dodges and other vehicles, sued Chrysler for using its name. A few years later the Scat Pack disappeared from the Dodge catalog.
Fast forward to August 2013 when Chrysler applied to register the Scat Pack name anew. The US Patent and Trademark Office turned down Chrysler's application, but the automaker proceeded anyway, unveiling new Scat Packs for the Challenger, Charger and Dart at last year's SEMA show.