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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Viper will become the first vehicle to be produced exclusively by Chrysler sub-brand SRT. The 2013 SRT Viper will drop the famous Dodge branding when it hits North American showrooms before the end of next year.

SRT brand and motorsports CEO Ralph Gilles confirmed the rebranding as he announced the impending re-opening of the ‘Snake Pit’ – Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, which was home to Viper production between 1995 and 2010.

“The next-generation Viper will make its return to the product line-up in late 2012 as a 2013 model,” Gilles said. “We’re extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City.”

The relaunch of the Viper will bring back 150 jobs to Detroit, with many of those to be filled by employees who produced the old muscle car.

SRT (Street and Racing Technology) is the high performance branch of Chrysler, similar to Mercedes-Benz’s AMG. Up until now, there have been SRT variants – like the Chrysler 300C SRT8 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 – but never a standalone SRT-branded vehicle.

Although the announcement means the end of the Dodge Viper nameplate, fans of the car should be encouraged by the SRT shift, which suggests the car will maintain its hard-core performance edge, rather than becoming diluted, tame and unnecessarily refined.

Details of the 2013 SRT Viper are sketchy at this stage. It could be unveiled as early as next month’s Detroit auto show, although a debut at New York in April appears most likely at this stage.

Reports suggest the SRT Viper will be powered by an 8.7-litre V10 engine, potentially producing in excess of 450kW of power and 760Nm of torque.

Only ever built as a right-hand drive delicacy, the new Viper is unlikely to find its way to Australia without the help of a skilled converter.




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