Kings are often dethroned in the automotive industry, but they almost always come back with a vengeance. That’s the thing about power; it’s hard to give it up once you’ve tasted it.
With its massive, 8.4-liter V10, the Viper has been Dodge’s power champion for years, drinking fuel like a Viking and scorching tarmac like the god of thunder. Its power output has ranged from 415 horsepower to 645 hp over the years, securing its spot as Mopar’s big dog.
The, the Challenger Hellcat was born, or rather spawned. It’s world-breaking 707-hp shifted the attention (and the sales) of the automotive world away from the Viper, but don’t expect the venomous coupe to lay dormant for long.
We reported in July that the Viper was sticking with the V10, and those reports have held true. In order to surpass the Hellcat’s monumental 707 hp, Allpar is projecting Dodge may add forced induction to the big V10, creating upwards of 750 ponies.
Much more than that, though, and you’d probably have to start swapping parts to keep the monstrous torque from ripping the vehicle apart. The Viper’s Tremec TR-6060 transmission can only handle 650-pound feet of torque stock, and although Tremec has a 700-lb/ft capable “Magnum XL” under its stable, it would take considerable modifications to bolt up to the V10.
The Viper weighs some 800 pounds less than the Challenger already, so it likely won’t need a huge boost to overtake the Hellcat in the quarter mile. Its track-racing heritage already guarantees it will best the Hellcat around a circuit, but muscle car fans like numbers. Big ones.
If Dodge can make the supercharger work, it could not only force more air and fuel into the combustion chambers, it might inject new life into sluggish Viper sales.
If the reports hold true, the stake-raising Viper will surpass not only the Hellcat, but also its GM rival, the 650-hp Corvette Z06. Like any good economics professor will tell you, “When companies compete, we win.”