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Return of the Tomahawk?

Sports car set for videogame debut, but is production possible?

by on May.29, 2015

All in the game? SRT is set to jump into Gran Turismo 6 with its SRT Tomahawk sports car.

Fiat Chrysler is offering up another, more detailed tease of its SRT Tomahawk Vision Grand Turismo, with plans to fully unveil the radical sports car next week.

For now, at least, the maker is stressing that the single-seat hybrid will “be released exclusively in Gran Turismo,” the wildly popular Playstation race program that has drawn a variety of other makers, including General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, to come up with their own wild rides.

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For those with long memories, the Chrysler side of the trans-Atlantic automaker used the Tomahawk name once before. Around the turn of the millennium, the company introduced an oversized motorcycle powered by a Viper V-10 engine. Chrysler discussed a limited production run but the program was eventually scrapped.


SRT’s Track-Ready Viper Ready to Rock

Production of $123,000 model limited to run of just 159 cars.

by on Dec.02, 2013

Chrysler now plans to produce more limited-edition versions of the SRT Viper, such as the new TA.

Chrysler has launched production of a track-ready version of the new Viper in a bid to put sales of the domestic supercar into high gear.

Dubbed the SRT Viper TA – short for Time Attack – Chrysler’s performance division plans to produce just 159 of the special models set to blast  into showrooms this month for a price of $123,080. The “base” Viper starts at $97,395.

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Chrysler first revealed the Viper TA at the New York Auto Show, last spring and has revised some of its plans for the special edition since then, boosting output from an original 33 TAs, with production originally expected to begin several months ago.  A total of 93 of the track-ready models will be painted in a unique “TA Orange” paint – originally dubbed Crush Orange – with 33 more in Venom Black and 33 in Bright White.

“We’re shifting to more pre-packaged models like the TA,” Ralph Gilles, SRT president and chief executive officer, told


Despite Slow Start, Chrysler Insists Viper Building Momentum

Volume “not our be-all and end-all,” says Gilles.

by on Nov.26, 2013

SRT chief Ralph Gilles - also Chrysler's corporate design chief, plants a welcome kiss on the new SRT Viper during its 2012 NY Auto Show debut.

Launched with plenty of ballyhoo last year, Chrysler Group’s reborn Viper has generated more buzz than business. But the head of the fledgling SRT brand insists the Detroit supercar continues to build momentum.

If anything, SRT CEO Ralph Gilles – who also serves as Chrysler Group chief designer – insists that dealers have been a bottleneck and that the order books for the Viper are close to full.

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Nonetheless, the maker is not looking at sales alone when it measures the success of the Viper. “Volume is not our be all and end all,” said Gilles.


SRT Viper TA Set to Attack the Big Apple

Street legal, but track ready.

by on Mar.20, 2013

Ready to attack the track, the SRT Viper TA.

This story has been updated to correct production plans for the new SRT Viper TA.

For those who didn’t think the reborn SRT Viper was quite up to snuff, especially for those weekend track days, there’s no reason to worry. Chrysler’s performance division has a special edition just for you, the SRT Viper TA.

While still street legal, the “Time Attack” Viper is designed primarily for taking on the best the competition can throw at it on the track, models such as the Nissan GT-R and outgoing Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1.  (We’ll have to see what Chevy conjures up when the next-gen C7-based ZR-1 appears.)

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The SRT Viper TA maintains the stock snake’s 640-horsepower, 600 lb-ft of thrust from its 8.4-liter V-10. The 6-speed manual gearbox also remains untouched. But the Time Attack gets a track-tuned suspension and aerodynamic tweaks intended to shave critical 100ths off lap times.

Does it get the job done?


Snake Bit: Driving the 2013 SRT Viper

Worth the wait.

by on Dec.07, 2012

The 2013 SRT Viper and a 2010 Dodge Viper ACR face off at the Chrysler Proving Grounds.

The official unveiling of the 2013 SRT Viper at last spring’s New York Auto Show was a boisterous affair. Despite the loud applause, though, there were a few quick to razz the new sports car for looking like little more than a clone of the old coupe. True, the designs are strikingly similar – until you see them sitting side-by-side.  The new Viper is no carbon copy, nor is it the rebadged Alfa Romeo many had anticipated in those dark days between the time the old car was pulled from production, in 2010, and word began to leak out that an all-new model was in the works.

Ironically, some of those who loved the old design are also wondering what to make of the 2013 Viper.  The concept behind the original 1992 roadster was to come up with a car that was as raw, even brutal, as possible.  There were none of the usual amenities. Not even anti-lock brakes or airbags.  In a rainstorm it was easier to get drenched than try to install the fold-up vinyl “toupette.” But few cars of the era could come close to matching that first Viper’s pure fun-to-drive factor.

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With the addition of the first GTS Coupe and a subsequent list of limited amenities, the Viper did become – dare we say it – a bit more refined over the years. But what to expect from the new one, developed by an all-new management team and subject to new mandates requiring such “niceties” as airbags and electronic stability control? That’s what set out to discover as we headed over to the Chrysler Proving Ground in Chelsea, Michigan for our first drive.


Only Select Dealers to Get New SRT Viper

As few as 1 in 20 will get revived supercar.

by on Sep.21, 2012

The SRT Viper undergoing testing. Production begins in autumn, dealers officially launching sales in November.

If you’ve been saving your pennies for the return of Chrysler’s supercar, the all-new SRT Viper you now may be in for a search to find a dealer.

Letters are now going out to Chrysler’s 2,300 U.S. dealers letting them know whether or not they’ve been chosen to carry the reborn supercar.  The maker hints the number that have been approved will ultimately come to more than 100 to 150.

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That’s a turnaround from earlier plans.  When the maker revealed the reborn Viper, last spring, it initially indicated most retailers would be offering it.  But Chrysler apparently recognized that would create problems considering it only plans to produce about 2,000 of the 2-seaters annually, or less than one for each of its dealers.


First Look: 2013 SRT Viper

The snake charms again.

by on Apr.04, 2012

SRT chief Ralph Gilles - also Chrysler's corporate design chief, plants a welcome kiss on the new SRT Viper.

It’s the rare automaker that can keep secrets, but Chrysler pulled off a coup by keeping the covers on the reborn Dodge Viper up until the very moment the 2-seat supercar made its debut at the opening press day of the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Make that the SRT Viper, because the 2013 model will wear the badge of Chrysler’s Street Racing Team division when it returns to showrooms this year.  And it will live up to the full meaning of that name.  With its 640-horsepower V-10, Chrysler expects the 2013 Viper to dominate on both the street and the track, with the new model set to enter the American Le Mans Series.

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The launch of the snake is clearly one of the highlights of this year’s show, an overflow crowd struggling to get a look at the long-nosed sports car.  All but jumping for joy, Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s chief corporate designer and the head of the SRT division, recalled the improbable story of the fight to revive the Viper – which former owners Cerberus tried to sell in the months leading up to the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy.

“It’s huge that we’re here today,” proclaimed Gilles. “It’s like being pregnant for 24 months.”


Chrysler Scores Big With Social Media

“Halftime in America” has a second life online - and Jeep sets a Facebook record.

by on Mar.08, 2012

Clint Eastwood and the "Halftime in America" ad have proven a "viral" hit as part of Chrysler's social media strategy.

Whether it was the subject or the star, things fell unusually silent on the floor of the Geneva Motor Show, this week when Fiat presented the much-discussed “Halftime in America” commercial, featuring Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood.

The spot, produced by Fiat’s U.S. partner, Chrysler, helped open the Italian maker’s news conference – spotlighting not only the role of good advertising and the power of television – but also the way marketing has gone viral. Though it may match the audience of the Super Bowl, where the Halftime spot first aired, the commercial has now been see by over 20 million people online, noted Olivier Francois, who serves as both CEO of Fiat and Chrysler’s marketing chief.

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In its bid to rebuild after a 2009 bankruptcy, the Fiat/Chrysler partners are putting a heavy emphasis on social media, chalking up some big scores as more and more potential buyers “friend” their various brands and check out ads, like Halftime, online that they might otherwise miss.