Chrysler Viper / News & Reports / Motoring / Web Wombat

20 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Chrysler Viper / News & Reports / Motoring / Web Wombat
Chrysler Viper

Chrysler’s Viper strikes

Stance is wide, low and aggressive

It’s amazing: a RHD Viper!

When the Dodge Viper first struck in 1992, the American public went wild for it. But at the time Chrysler was looking very ill indeed.

Chrysler was bleeding funds quicker than a start-up Telco, and its biggest seller, the Dodge Ram, had a piddly 3.8% market share.

Before its 1992 debut, a guy called Robert Lutz – you may have heard of him – had an idea to pull the ailing company out of its financial woes.

It involved taking the V10 mill from the Ram and building a fairly light RWD sports chassis around it. At first, Lutz’ idea was met with lots of grumbling and head-shaking, but eventually a prototype was built and shown in 1989 and, when the media got hold of an all-American Lambo rival, Chrysler was back in business.

Everyone who saw the design loved it – including the American and international press.

Fast forward 10 years and the legendary muscle car is finally being officially offered at Chrysler dealerships around Australia, called the Chrysler Viper.

Unveiled at the Sydney Motor Show, Australia’s first shipment of RHD Vipers will total just 20 units this year.

The conversion from left to right-hand-drive is carried out at the the Viperformance Factory in Melbourne and involves the following:

Steering . The RHD Chrysler steering rack is a one-piece construction, which is welded to the chassis and X-rayed. The wheel alignment process includes adjustment of bump steer.

Brake/Clutch/Accelerator Pedals . During the process the position of the pedal saddle is such that it gives a direct in line position to the bodyline. All new brake lines are checked with an X-ray and positioned so if they require replacing, major components do not need to be removed.

Dash Assembly . A number of areas have been refined for visual appeal and to enable access to components in the dash without removing the whole assembly. The air bag cut off switch has been removed and the dash panel has no provision for the switch as Australian Design Rules do not allow this feature.

Heater/Air-conditioning . The components have been transformed and refined into a new box assembly to provide more efficient heating and cooling.

Centre Console . The gearshift, handbrake and ashtray have been repositioned to accommodate RHD. A new console cover has been manufactured.

Radio . The radio is modified by Alpine Australia to meet local reception bands.

Exterior Mirrors . The glass is replaced to meet local regulations and the mirror on the left side of the vehicle is repositioned on the door to give the driver a proper #147;field of vision#148; in the RHD position.

Functionality . Before the process commences, each vehicle has a full DRB3 scan to ensure full functionality of all systems. When the process is complete the same procedure is conducted on the finished vehicle.

Electrical . To accommodate the transfer from the left side to the right side, some changes are required to the dash and other minor wiring harnesses. When the process of modification is completed the harness is wrapped in a special #147;fire proof#148; tape.

The engine and transmission remain otherwise untouched, which is no great shame considering the manic shove the engine generates.

Air intake is through a cast aluminium manifold with formed tubes, including an integral fuel rail cored in the castings. The dual throttle bodies and bottom-fed, high-performance fuel injectors control fuel flow and mixture.

The engine’s forged aluminium pistons are set in cast iron liners. The aluminium cylinder head features a conventional two valves per cylinder with higher-revving dual valve springs.

Chrysler Viper

Displacing 488 cubic inches, or 8.0-litres, the Chrysler Viper‘s heart and soul is basically a tuned-up truck engine. Comprising a single overhead camshaft and just two valves per cylinder, on paper at least, the specifications appear dated.

But when a car can accelerate to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds and complete a quarter mile dash in just 12.8 seconds, who cares if the technology is dated. Many enthusiasts even say that its old-school rumble — from idle to the rev limiter — is part of the Viper’s charm.

Peak power hits as the 10-cylinder mill touches 5200rpm, outputting a delightful 336kW of power. That’s only 36kW more than the HSV GTS, you may say. True, but as is often the case, torque figures tell the real story, with the Chrysler Viper generating some 150Nm more than the flagship HSV.

A license-voiding 664Nm hits at a mind-numbingly low 3700rpm, and is likely to induce severe cases of whiplash if not applied with care.

Putting such colossal amounts of power to the ground can be dangerous, so a special heavy-duty 6-speed manual was designed to deal with the intense torque levels the Viper’s engine manages.

But equally important in getting the power down are the wheels, as loss of traction (aka wheelspin) is a killer in maintaining consistent lap times or dragway runs. Sitting on 18-inch polished aluminium wheels, the Viper gets 275/35 ZR18s up front and barrel-like P335/30 ZR18s at the rear.

The Chrysler Viper also has an impressive weight distribution, with 48/52 split, front and rear and with fully independent suspension front and rear, plus power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, a driving experience like no other is all but written into the warranty.

Four-wheel vented disc brakes (with ABS) help ensure maximum driver control during hard, high-performance driving. The Chrysler public relations folk also reckon the way the weight shifts towards the rear of the car during takeoff and heavy acceleration provides better grip for the rear wheels, hence improved sprint times.

Judith Wheeler, the MD of Chrysler Jeep Australia had this to say at the Sydney Motor Show: This is the first time the US has approved a RHD factory refinish program to be conducted outside of the US. This is a re-affirmation of Detroit’s commitment to the Australian market.

We are very excited about the Viper program. A total of 64 local produced parts, which are to exacting specifications of the original parts, has been used and in some cases the local parts have been further refined to a higher specification by the Viperformance Factory, said Ms Wheeler.

The Viperformance team understands the passion that goes hand in hand with ownership of a Viper and carefully hand build each project. Every detail of the Viper has been checked for maximum functionality and true performance.

With just 20 Vipers on sale throughout Australia at present, with most headed for the Eastern states, you’d want to be quick to register your interest. You’d also want extremely deep pockets as the convertible Chrysler Viper costs a bit over $270,000, while the hard-topped coupe fetches $285,000.

Still, it marks a milestone for Chrysler in Australia and have the local boys in a twist. That said, Holden has already declared its plans to produce a similarly priced ($250,000+) 7.0-litre V8 Monaro, which could even pip the almighty Viper in the woah-to-go stakes. Could this be the start of a big-block supercar war Down Under?

Stranger things have happened.

For Chrysler Viper dealers, click here .

Chrysler Viper
Chrysler Viper
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