The new Viper – fangs and a sting in the tail

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Many years ago I had the opportunity to drive the first version of the Dodge Viper on a race track.  Eight liters of V10 engine up front producing more horsepower than the chassis could handle, brakes an optional extra, and I returned to the pits with a smile that would have taken a team of undertakers two weeks to get rid of.

Since then, along with many others, I have remained a dyed-in-the-wool Viper fan. However, a couple of years ago the Viper production was halted and enthusiasts feared the worst.

Viper - a man’s car.Viper – a man’s car.

However, at the New York Auto Show this month, Chrysler revealed the fifth iteration of the Viper.  With the take-over by Fiat, the Dodge Viper is now called an SRT Viper, but it is the same Viper formula.  Great big engine up front (now 8.4 liters of V10 with 640 BHP), a long bonnet, strictly two seats, sidewinder exhaust system and is a real man’s car.

The new Viper will go on sale at the end of 2012 and is officially a 2013 model year car.  LHD again, and we will be unlikely to see any examples on our local goat tracks, more’s the pity.  I’d like to give another one a fang around a circuit.