Remember the Dodge Viper? The two-seater sports car from Chrysler with the V-10 engine, supercar specs and a slung-back cockpit that made it look like an Italian sports car? Well, it doesn't exist anymore. Or, to be more accurate, it still exists, but has a different name: The SRT Viper. For several years, Chrysler has been appending the initials SRT (for "Street and Racing Technology") to its high-powered models because they were developed by a special team within Chrysler, a group of engineers and designers focused on cars intended less for commuters and more for enthusiasts who wanted a muscle car that wouldn't be out of place on the Indy 500 racetrack. These cars have included the Dodge Challenger SRT8 (where the 8 indicates an 8-cylinder engine), the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, and quite a few others. But now Chrysler has decided to spin off SRT as a separate division within the company and the Viper is its flagship vehicle. The Dodge Viper SRT10, one of the most powerful supercars ever to roll out of a major American automaker's assembly plant, has become simply the SRT Viper and, after some time spent showing off prototypes at auto shows, the first one to hit the streets is the 2013 model.
If you want a car with the sleek lines of a Ferrari and the horsepower of a rocket sled, the 2013 SRT Viper might be what you're looking for. With a fire-breathing V-10 engine under its hood, it comes across like Superman in a world of 4-cylinder Clark Kents. The interior of the car has been upgraded from what some people once perceived as a fairly cheap molded plastic appearance on older models; the 2013 SRT Viper has brightly colored leather-upholstered seats designed by the same company that makes seats for Ferrari. Perhaps the greatest change over older models is in the electronics: Simply put, it has them while the older Vipers didn't. The Viper was originally designed for old-school drivers who liked the feel of controlling the car all by themselves, without computers making decisions for them. That's no longer legal, but the SRT team has made the new Viper's computerized controls both subtle and optional.
On the next couple of pages we'll take a look at what's under the hood of the 2013 SRT Viper and what's inside.