After a two-year hiatus, the SRT (formerly Dodge) Viper is almost ready for a triumphant return. To build up anticipation, Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology division has been torturing car enthusiasts with vague teaser images.
The latest shows the 2013 Viper’s interior. The most easily discernible object in the interior is the six-speed manual tranmission’s shifter. Many companies offer paddle-shifted clutchless gearboxes on their high-end sports cars, but the Viper is strictly old-school. A manual will be the only transmission available, driving the rear wheels.
The rest of the interior looks suitably sporty. The red bucket seats have plenty of side bolstering, which should hold the driver and passenger in place during extreme cornering maneuvers. A vertical bar extends from the center console to the instrument panel; maybe it’s for the passenger to hold on to as they scream for dear life. The interior has plenty of red trim and stitching, which definitely livens things up.
This is one of several teasers that SRT has released over the past few months. These included views of the front end, side vents, and the design of the new Viper logo, called Stryker. None of these images revealed much; the public relations people at SRT would be very successful minimalist artists. The biggest hint was actually a leaked photo of a Hot Wheels Viper.
The Viper is an important car for Dodge, SRT, and Chrysler, so it’s not surprising that the suits didn’t want to reveal too much before the car’s official debut. It not have been around as long as the Corvette, but the Viper has a well-deserved reputation as America’s other great sports car. Gearheads love Vipers for their simplicity and high-horsepower V10 engines. A 2010 Viper ACR-X recently lapped the Nurburgring in 7:03.058, beating the Lexus LFA and other exotic sports cars. Viper production ended in 2010, and will restart later this year.
Other than being fast, Vipers have a reputation for being difficult to drive. Their simple suspension and lack of driver aids, combined with their titanic power, made these cars a handful. That makes the 2013 Viper even more important to watch because it will be the first to come with government-mandated stability control. That will make the 2013 version easier to drive, but will it make the new car a whole different animal?
Full specifications, and clear photos of the exterior and interior, will be available after the Viper’s official unveiling at the New York Auto Show. The 2013 Viper will probably have a V10 under the hood, just like every previous Viper. The last production Viper’s V10 displaced 8.4 liters and produced 600 horsepower; expect the new one to produce even more.
The sports car battlefield is dominated by high-tech machines like the Nissan GTR, Porsche 911, and Ferrari 458, but the Viper could bring some old school simplicity back to the road, and track. SRT will stop teasing the world’s car enthusiasts when the Viper takes the floor at the New York Auto Show April 4.