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Definitely Maybe: Marchionne Hints Viper Might Not be Dead

In August of 2017, the last of the current generation Dodge Viper rolled off the assembly line. At that point, many enthusiasts assumed that was the last we’d hear from the potent snake.

But late last month, we started hearing rumblings that reports of the Viper’s death might have been premature, and that Ma Mopar is planning another version, this time using V8 power as opposed to the ten-pot mill we’ve historically seen under the beast’s lengthy hood.

Adding further fuel to the fire were some comments FCA chief Sergio Marchionne made in response to questions from Autoweek during the announcement of the company’s latest five-year plan. First, he called another Viper “a great idea,” then clarified his initial enthusiasm by saying, 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.”

Ultimately, Marchionne seemed to be a firm maybe on the Viper subject, or at least that’s what we got from this statement: “I think it’s a great halo car. I wouldn’t mind having it again, but it’s not in the plan.” For the record? FCA’s last five year plan was hardly followed to the letter, and if we had to bet, we’d put our money on the new Viper sharing a chassis — but not an engine — with a large GT car from corporate cousins Maserati or Alfa Romeo.

At this point, it might be worth noting that the Dodge Viper was actually never supposed to happen in the first place. When it debuted as a concept at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show, there were actually no plans for a production model. And even the vehicle which wound up in showrooms was pretty minimalist, in that the along with lacking proper windows, traction control, air bags, or air conditioning, it didn’t even have exterior door handles — or, like, any provision to lock it.

But it did have a massive 8.0-liter V10, and boy, was it cool. Many enthusiasts saw this bare-bones machine as the second coming of the legendary Shelby Cobra. Since Carroll Shelby drove one of the prototypes as the pace car during the 1991 Indy 500, it’s likely he agreed.

Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long to see a new Viper at your local AutoNation Dodge dealer…

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