The internet has been on fire with stories criticizing the Chrysler Group for ordering that 93 early examples of the Dodge Viper that were originally donated to schools around the country be crushed – but those media sources have failed to mention that these early Dodge Vipers were slated for destruction before they were built. Reports from TorqueNews.com Patrick Rall.
It isn’t unusual for an automaker to donate vehicles to a technical school so that the students can work on vehicles that are cutting edge and the access to wrench on the Dodge Viper was most certainly an exciting opportunity for these young technical students over the past decade. Unfortunately, when these vehicles were lent to schools around the country some 10 years ago, the agreement between the automaker and the different schools stated that once the vehicles were no longer a benefit to the learning process, they were to be destroyed. The company wanted to make sure that these Vipers would not be sold by the schools so the automaker technically retained ownership and that is why they have the right to decide that these early supercars are no longer beneficial to the students. After all, the technology in these early Vipers is fairly crude relative to literally every new car sold in America these days. It was probably still a whole lot of fun for the kids to play with these Vipers but with these cars being more than 20 years old at this point, their value as good learning platforms is clearly questionable.
Since this story hit the world of social media, Mopar lovers have been freaking out about the fact that 93 perfectly good Dodge Vipers were being destroyed and that the company should do something to save them. Some guys point out that the cars can’t be that valuable at this point so why not take them all back, clean them up and sell them to collectors or other folks who want to buy an older used Viper on the cheap. The problem with this idea is that the vast majority of these cars are either preproduction or prototype vehicles and vehicles classified as preproduction and/or prototype are not legal for sale. These cars generally have components that were not included in the safety and emission testing that is required of every street legal vehicle, but the government allows automakers to register these vehicles in the company name and drive them on the street for their own testing purposes. However, in exchange for being allowed to drive cars that may not meet crash test safety standards or pass emission tests, the automaker is prohibited from selling these cars. Because of that, the vast majority of preproduction cars meet the crusher at a much younger age then these Vipers, but the Vipers were able to live a long life as project cars for schools around the country.
The next suggestion from angry Mopar fans is for Chrysler to get all of these Dodge Vipers back and then hand them out to museums. The problem with this idea is that these cars are mostly preproduction or prototype so they might have a level of fit and finish that isnt representative of what the cars sold to the public looked like inside or out. Chrysler doesn’t want people in a museum to look at a Dodge Viper and think “wow…look how that dash doesn’t fit right” or “wow…look at the size of the gap from the door to the fender.” There is also the issue that these cars were built over 20 years ago and after serving as testing and show cars, they have spent the last decade being worked on by technical students…so there is a good chance that there is more wear and tear than you would expect from a car of this age. Finally, the museum idea is flawed because with 93 cars, the automaker would have a hard time finding enough museums that would want to take a 20+ year old preproduction Dodge Viper that has been worked on by kids for 10 years.
Finally, Mopar lovers want to know why the company wouldn’t call these Vipers back and strip them down, selling the components piece by piece as collectables. I have seen a near endless collection of automotive body parts turned man cave décor ranging from a hood hanging on the wall to a wheel and tire combo turned into a see-through coffee table. The problem with this idea is that Chrysler would first have to incur the cost of getting the cars back and then they would have to pay to tear the cars apart. Once that was done, they would have to refurbish all of the components to be of high enough quality to sell to the fans and, like the... [Read More]
The Dodge Charger is one of the Chrysler Group’s bestselling vehicles and with the next generation Charger expected, there has been a great deal of chatter across the social networks about a 2-door Charger – but I am here to tell you that Chrysler doesn’t need to build a coupe version of Dodge Charger and here is why. Patrick Rall reports from TorqueNews.com.
The Dodge Charger gained its fame back in the 1960s and 1970s as a 2-door muscle car so when the Chrysler Group reintroduced the Charger name for the 2006 model year as a full sized sedan, Mopar and muscle car traditionalists were enraged by the fact that the fabled Charger had been reduced to a mere family sedan. A family sedan with variants that pack some serious power in the RT and SRT trimlines – both of which would outrun the old school Charger in almost any heads-up racing venue be it drag racing or road racing. The traditionalists cried foul… insisting that no one would be the atrocity that was a 4-door Charger, but those folks were quickly proven wrong as the Charger became one of the Chrysler Group’s bestselling vehicles.
Some of the guys who originally hated the modern Dodge Charger relaxed their opinion over time and the demand for a Charger coupe really died down when the modern Dodge Challenger was introduced for the 2008 model year. The modern Challenger shares a similar chassis architecture, most drivetrain components and most interior features so the modern Challenger is almost a 2-door version of the Charger with its own unique name and sheet metal. With this new Challenger, Mopar lovers finally had their chance to buy a “proper muscle car” which would compete with the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro (which didn’t exist when the Challenger was introduced). The people who hated the fact that the Charger is a 4-door large sedan were stifled by the Challenger…and by the test of time.
However, over the past few weeks I have seen more and more people online demanding that the next generation Dodge Charger – expected to arrive for the 2015 or 2016 model year – be offered as a coupe. I have news for those folks…it isnt going to happen because Chrysler doesn’t need to build a 2-door Charger. Back in the 1970s, it wasn’t a problem to have more than one rear wheel drive, 2-door performance car because that was the way of the industry back then. In 1971, Dodge actually had 4 2-door rear wheel drive sporty coupes including the Charger, the Challenger, the Dart and the Demon – plus the collection of closely related cars from the Plymouth brand like the Duster, the Roadrunner, the GTX, the Satellite, the Barracuda and the Valiant. Back in those days, there were far fewer differences from one model to the next so it wasn’t a problem to have all of those 2-door performance friendly coupes in the same corporate lineup. However, things have changed greatly and the modern auto industry really doesn’t leave room for multiple cars that would essentially compete with each other. A modern Dodge Charger Coupe would be nothing more than a Dodge Challenger with a Charger-esque front and rear end; creating inter-brand competition. Modern automakers have gone to great lengths to eliminate inter-brand competition which is why there is no Lincoln version of the Ford Mustang and why the entire Pontiac brand was killed off. This is also why one of the two Chrysler Group minivans will be killed off in the next few years…much like the Dodge Avenger.
Since there is really no way to clearly differentiate between a modern Dodge Charger Coupe and a modern Dodge Challenger, there is no place for a Charger Coupe in the modern Dodge lineup. Because of that, Mopar fans demanding a 2-door Charger should either get their head out of the 70s and be happy that they can buy the Challenger or they can go to some other brand that offers multiple similarly related rear wheel drive coupes. Oh wait…they can’t go somewhere else for a choice of performance coupes because no other company offers that either. For the same reason that Ford doesn’t offer a car similar to the Mustang and for the same reason that GM killed off the Pontiac Firebird – Dodge won’t be offering a Charger Coupe anytime soon without the... [Read More]
Has anyone here at LXForums pre-ordered one of the new Challenger Shaker models?
The new 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker was made available for orders on January 7th and by January 10th all 2,000 units planned for production this year had been spoken for – and those vintage themed Mopar muscle cars are headed to dealerships around the country right now. The 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker is a specially designed version of the Mopar muscle car that wears the unique Shaker hood design that has become a heavily sought after feature on classic Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda models. Patrick Rall reports from TorqueNews.com.
The Shaker design – with a fresh air intake scoop mounted on the top of the engine while a hole in the hood allows the scoop to poke up into the outer air – has been a popular aftermarket accessory for Mopar fans on both old and new models for years now, but this is the first factory application of the Shaker design since the early 1970s. The 2014 Challenger Shaker package is based on the Challenger R/T Classic so that unique hood scoop feeds the 375hp, 5.7L Hemi V8 while aesthetic upgrades inside and out help this special package stand out in a crowd.
This modern Dodge Challenger Shaker setup was introduced at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas and as soon as it was introduced, Chrysler stated that just 2,000 units would be made. Another 100 Shaker-equipped Challengers would be made for the Mopar 14 program but as for the actual Shaker-badged Challenger R/Ts, just 2,000 will be built for 2014. Not surprisingly, the Mopar world fell in love with the Challenger Shaker as soon as it was introduced and deep pocketed Dodge lovers hurried to their dealerships for information on purchasing one of these limited edition muscle cars, but they learned that the cars wouldn’t be available for order until sometime in January.
On January 7th 2014, the 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker became available in dealership ordering systems and by January 10th, all 2,000 Challenger Shakers had been reserved. Mind you, those vehicles have not all been sold but every one of the 2,000 Challenger Shaker units built is already promised to a dealership around the country and within those 2,000 orders there are most certainly an unspecified number of actual customer orders. This means that you should be able to walk into the right Dodge dealership and drive out in a new Challenger Shaker but with all 2,000 spoken for – you will not be able to order one exactly to your specifications. Fortunately, the Challenger Shaker really only comes loaded to the gills so even the pickiest buyer won’t be missing out on much when buying a Shaker car off of a dealership floor.
“Based on this strong initial demand, it’s clear that our customers are excited about the return of the legendary Shaker model, which was engineered for enthusiasts who asked for even more attitude and a dose of muscle car heritage,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO of the Dodge Brand. “The 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine with the unique hood and intake design makes this performance car an instant classic – much like the original 1970 Challenger R/T with the Shaker hood.”
The 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker carries a starting price of $36,995 or $37,495 with the striping package shown here and these cars are shipping from the Brampton Ontario Assembly Plant to dealerships around the country so if you preordered a Challenger Shaker – you could have it soon. On the other hand, if you are hoping to walk into a dealership and sign the paperwork for a Shaker car, this is a good time to begin calling dealerships in your area to find out if they will be getting one and if they are, whether or not it is available for sale.
The good news about the early popularity of the 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker is that with so much interest, we can almost certainly expect to either see a 2015 Challenger Shaker – or we might see the Shaker hood scoop offered across more packages in the future. The bad news is that with all 2,000 units promised to buyers and dealerships around the country – there will almost surely be a dealership markup… at least at first.
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