Dodge Viper to return? Marchionne leaves the door open

2016 Dodge Viper ACR

In August 2017 the last Dodge Viper slithered off the assembly line, and for a second time, it was said to be dead forever. In recent weeks, however, reports have popped up stating that the Viper would return in 2021, minus the iconic V-10 engine under its hood.

Last Friday at an investor conference in Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles laid out its latest 5-year plan. During a Q & A session with reporters, asked FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne about the possible return of the Viper, and he responded by saying, “That’s a great idea.”

Marchionne wanted to end it there, but then went on to say it “cannot survive as a stand-alone product. We just don’t sell enough of them. We need to find a way to share the architecture with somebody, and effectively Americanize it.”

By Americanize it, Marchionne meant it shouldn’t use a European engine, which he described as turbocharged.

Funny Marchionne should mention that the Viper would have to share an architecture not hours after FCA laid out Maserati’s future, which includes an Alfieri flagship coupe and convertible sports car set to ride on an aluminum spaceframe.

As for an American engine or two, a report from claiming the Viper would return stated it would be powered by a choice of V-8 engines, one naturally aspirated and another supercharged, with no V-10 set to return.

Rumored engines include a new aluminum-block 7.0-liter V-8 code-named Banshee and a second-generation Supercharged Hellcat engine.

If the Viper were to return using the upcoming Maserati Alfieri’s architecture, it wouldn’t be a stand-alone product and it would share Maserati’s development costs.

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The 2019 Detroit auto show marks the 30th anniversary of the Viper’s debut, and pegged that show for the reveal of the next-generation Viper, with the car hitting the streets in 2021. It seems ambitious, but weirder things have happened. It could also take some of the thunder away from Chevrolet, which will likely roll out the mid-engine C8 Corvette at that time.

Marchionne ended the Viper conversation by saying, “I think it’s a great halo car. I wouldn’t mind having it again, but it’s not in the plan, if that’s what you’re asking.”

But given the platform issue could be handled, the engines could be in development for other vehicles, it’s not too far fetched.

Plans change. Never say never, as the Viper doesn’t seem to want to die.

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