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2013 SRT Viper Styling
Draws Cues From the Original

April 26, 2012 by Matt

2013 SRT Viper Dodge Red New Rear Back Taillights

The more things change…

The Viper has returned after a two-year hiatus, this time bearing an SRT badge instead of the old Dodge one, and with more power than ever, but design-wise, one could be forgiven for thinking they were in a kind of time-warp while beholding it.

Packing 640 hp from its signature 8.4l pushrod V10, the car’s developers insist a primary goal was to civilize the car, making it more livable and accessible while preserving its rawness and character, and I’ve no doubt they’ve made great strides in that direction. When considering its competition—the Corvette ZR1, Shelby GT500, various Ferraris and Porsches—its horsepower figure seems barely adequate; it was certainly easier top the supercar mountain when the original 400-hp Viper first exploded onto the scene in all its irreverent glory in the early ’90s. Brute power isn’t enough anymore, so there was little else for the engineers to do except make it more docile.

2013 SRT Viper Dodge Red New

That being the case, the chassis engineers seem to have charged the stylists with carrying the torch of the Viper’s innate essence. To accomplish this, the designers basically pretended that the previous generation ’03-’10 car never existed and penned a surprisingly cursory update of the original ’96-’02 Viper GTS coupe. Where the ’03-’10 car’s waistline was relatively undramatic, the new car’s flanks plunge in the manner of the original’s. The double-bubble roof and ducktail spoiler have even returned.

And as much as I’d like to criticize Chrysler for designing something so derivative of one of their previous products, I just can’t. See, the original Viper GTS coupe is hands-down one of the best looking American cars ever. It’s extroverted, yes, but all the lines resolve perfectly, whether on the front end, the side or at the rear. It’s a flamboyant, yet cohesive shape, and the new Viper’s stylists were right to recognize near-perfection when they saw it, and try to emulate it. It’s not like it’ll ever be mistaken for anything else.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Chrysler, Dodge, News, SRT

3 Comments

  1. John D says:

    Wow. Not much to argue with there… I’ve always had a soft spot for the Viper. The first version was a bit chintzy for my taste, but they just get better with age. As different as they are I’m having a hard time deciding if I like this one more than the previous iteration. They are very different styles, but they each have a distinct flavor and all I can think to say is ‘both favorites’. (Although my opinion might change if I ever saw them in person. ;)

  2. John D says:

    I love how they went over the top with the scoop on the front paired with the inverse scoops/vents on either side. Kinda crazy and bizarre…but I have to give them props as how the rest of it is so dramatic that it fits right in.

    • Matt says:

      It’s very obviously snake-like compared to the more tame 2nd-gen car, especially the new Viper’s hood. The cover of the latest issue of Car and Driver has a great shot of the new car’s nose.

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