We’ve just received the sad news that today - 11 May 2012 - Carroll Shelby has passed away at the age of 89 after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
In tribute to one of the undisputed kings of American muscle cars, here is our story from Top Gear magazine published only one month ago, dedicated to a true automotive legend.
(Somehow our photo gallery and description disappeared from our post, which is fine by us…. It gives us a reason to blog the entire thing again.)
When the original Dodge Viper debuted over twenty years ago, it was known for being a beast of a car with a cheap, minimalist interior (watch Jeremy’s review from Top Gear Series 5). Well the new Viper, now by Chrysler’s SRT division and under Fiat ownership, has a new interior that’s being described as downright “luxurious.” Perhaps the new Viper is all grown up:
Well, sort of. There’s still an aircraft carrier-length bonnet atop a massive V10 engine, cab-back driving position and a side-exit exhaust. So far, so enjoyably juvenile. But the latest iteration’s lighter, stiffer, more advanced, easier to drive and also sight more pleasant inside.
There’s a carbon fibre bonnet, roof and boot lid, which has whittled weight down to 1455kg, some 55 kilos lighter than the old car, and a huge 50 per cent stiffer. And there’s an upgraded version of Dodge’s 8.4-litre V10 producing - in basic form - 640bhp and 600lb ft of torque. That makes it the torqueiest naturally aspirated engine to be fitted to a sports car… ever.
But inside is where there’s the biggest surprise - it’s actually luxurious. And not just ‘luxurious for a Viper’ either. The cow peelings are soft and sumptuous, the stereo is by Harman Kardon, the abundance of screens are TFT, there’s not a solitary centimeter of wibbly stitching. There’s also 40mm more headroom and 90mm more legroom. This is a car you could feasibly use every day, not just when you fancy peering over the edge of existence.
See our next post for details.
Every generation of the Dodge Viper gets a new badge on the front. What’s a bit weirder is they all have names too. First we had “Sneaky Pete”, then there was “Fangs”. And for the latest generation we have “Stryker”.
We don’t know a lot about the new Viper apart from it’s being produced by Dodge’s high performance SRT arm. But according to Vince Galante, the man who must’ve watched a lot of snake documentaries as the designer of the logo, Stryker “has some lines that reflect the new Viper”.
We’re expecting to see the return of the raucous 600+bhp 8.7 litre monster V10 but with some added MultiAir technology when the covers come off. There are also rumors of an entry-level V8 Viper in the not-too distant future.
A video of the new-ish limited production Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale: Zagato’s Italian Flavored Dodge Viper ACR in the wild.