Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Editorial: Keep the Dodge Viper on our roads

(Item: Automotive News, Keep the Dodge Demon off our roads)

The 645-hp Dodge Viper Coupe from Fiat Chrysler is so inherently fulfilling to the common desires of enthusiasts that 
its production as a road-worthy automobile should be extended indefinitely.

We don't reach this conclusion lightly. There are more powerful, and even faster, vehicles available from other automakers that have rightly ended production.

But just as Nissan is (still) wrong to not build the IDx in favor of a seemingly endless series of CVT-equipped crossovers, Dodge is wrong to no longer offer a purpose-built road racer as a street-legal automobile.

From its barely legal slick tires to its monstrous acceleration, the Viper introduced in Detroit in 1989 is the result of a sequence of inspired corporate choices that places visceral driving thrills ahead of dreary focus group preferences.

Lamentably, the entire industry has made great strides toward reduced vehicle enjoyment in recent years, even as it dials up infotainment complexity. But with the Viper, Dodge spat on that goal and gleefully moves in the opposite direction, knowingly placing drivers in danger of euphoric emotional overload in the process.

Oddly enough, for a vehicle designed to set lap records and provide massive thrills, the Viper has already been certified for highway use by the appropriate regulatory bodies, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, allegedly for being "compliant."

The Viper may not comply sufficiently with the tendencies of Fiat Chrysler's management to pursue off-putting and senseless product decisions, but in its current form it certainly does fulfill the spirit of more enlightened strategies. So get a clue.

To borrow a phrase from Sean Carter, you crazy for this one, Serge.

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