Dodge Viper: So It’s Not Coming Back. What Happened?

26 Oct 1997: General view of a Dodge Viper GTS-R during the Visa FIA GT race at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Mandatory Credit: David Taylor /Allsport
26 Oct 1997: General view of a Dodge Viper GTS-R during the Visa FIA GT race at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Mandatory Credit: David Taylor /Allsport /

We were supposed to get a new Dodge Viper. This was reportedly straight from the horse’s mouth. Conflicting reports from multiple reputable news outlets work to obscure the truth, but we think we knew it all along.

It was just too good to be true. A new Dodge Viper! It’s been dodging and weaving its way in and out of production for years, so you could almost hope that the rumors would be true, but with Chrysler saying things like, “it’s not in the plan,” and, “it didn’t make much money,” we can only assume that the legendary snake is dead.

The Erroneous Reports

Why then, was it reported (and re-reported) via multiple reputable news outlets, that the mighty, long-nosed, straight-line killer was making a return in the near future? The internet will be the internet, and we’re smarter than believing every ray of sunshine we hear, this seemingly reputable information had to have come from somewhere! Even we reported on it! Read it here!

Car and Driver, just about as reputable as they come, reported that a 2021 iteration was set to make a comeback in a May 2018 article. (Very specific information.) Maxim (admittedly not the best source for automotive news) reported the same news that very same month. They are hardly the only offending parties. I hold them to next to no fault, as they undoubtedly do diligent research – Car and Driver especially. Either way, a massive rumor spread about the Viper for a very short-lived moment.

Chrysler stepped in and denounced the rumors within a  week or so, but the hype was real, and the people wanted the Viper back! How could you blame them? (In Chrysler’s defense, most of the people lobbying to keep the Viper alive are NOT of the Viper-owning demographic – myself included.)

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Setting Sun – Day of the Muscle Car

This news isn’t really a surprise. Chrysler is very public about their intent to molest their muscle car legacy with a hybrid Challenger (one that is already in the works). There is a strong surge to shift from fossil-burning fuels – and to do so as quickly as possible.

While this is admirable, the few extra years we spend burning ultra-low sulfur fuels in highly-efficient engine designs is hardly restitution for blowing copious amounts of NOx gasses of all types into the atmosphere for the last 200 years. Really, nature isn’t going to notice a difference. The Dodge Viper could very well stay, and not make a significant ecological impact.

It’s still puzzling, however, that such a rumor could be allowed to gain so much momentum, and so quickly. Obviously, there is an exceptional level of love and support for the aging supercar. It was a pioneer in its day; it defied the import-influence by making the hood longer, the engine bigger, and the attitude badder. In the end, it appears that the optimum performance setup has always been the mid-engine configuration; but the Viper, with no hopes of transition by design, held valiantly onto its perch as one of the most formidable American supercars that ever existed.

Out Like A Champion

The Dodge Viper may not be able to compete with the fastest cars in the world, but there are some facts worth considering – ones that make a compelling argument for the former road king. The linked video below shows the 229mph capabilities of a highly-modified Viper in action. Although highly modified, a Viper is a Viper. This was circa 2017.

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Even though this 3,000hp Nissan GT-R holds a 255mph speed record over the Viper’s head, that’s 3,000hp! And 200mph-plus is respectable no matter how you look at it. Nevermind that smoke pouring into the passenger compartment on hard pulls – he’s a professional!