Sold under the Dodge badge in Canada and the United States, and under Chrysler everywhere else, the 1992 Dodge Viper is in a class all its own. One that doesn’t make any sense. Be that as it may, the Viper was a game-changer for Chrysler. Introduced as a concept car at the Detroit Motor Show in 1989, Chrysler soon discovered that there was a huge interest in the car, so they actually built it, on a shoe-string budget by automotive standards – around $160,000,000 if memory serves. The Viper wasn’t a convenient car; it was very wide, a problem everywhere but in North America, and because of its rushed production, had a bit of a kit car feeling to it. The handling, despite being very good for experienced drivers, was panned as being ‘unforgiving’.
What everyone loved about the Viper was its engine, and it’s what got everybody so excited. Based on a humble truck engine, and tuned by Lamborghini, the Viper was fitted with an awesome 8-liter V10 engine, that produced 450 horsepower and an eye-popping 450 lb/ft of torque as well. Performance followed, of course: top speed of 180 miles per hour, and a screeching, rubber-burning 4.5 seconds to 60 mph. What customers liked less was the fuel consumption, which was commensurate with the size of the engine. But who cares about that? It’s a VIPER! If you’re worried about the price of gas when you drive a Viper, maybe you should get another car. Seriously. Get another car.
In an effort not to be too obnoxious on the fuel consumption, Chrysler geared the sixth gear so high that the engine was just above idle at 100 mph when driven in top gear. That’s the kind of stuff you can get away with when you oozing torque from every joint. Needless to say, the 1992 Dodge Viper and its awesome-sounding side-pipes were a huge success, and the car improved continuously in later model years.