Entry-Level Viper? Fuhgedaboutit!

Ralph Gilles continues to insist that the Viper does not compete with the Corvette. While there are rumors of a lower priced entry-level Corvette, the SRT boss insists that there is no such plan for the Viper. Regarding a slushbox: “The people who buy (the Viper) relish the manual, they relish the driver’s car, the raw connections to the vehicle. That is what it is about. So we are not chasing rainbows here.” About dropping in the 6.4L Hemi? “It sounds like you are describing a Corvette. We have no interest in becoming a Corvette because what is unique about the Viper is that engine is in nothing else.” Crystal clear. See more at CarBuzz. More pics after the jump!


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The Corvette is Not Our Competition Says Ralph Gilles

SRT CEO Ralph Gilles talked to the folks at Automotive News at the recent Detroit Auto Show and explained why the Viper and the Corvette do not run in similar circles:

We’ve never tried to be Corvette. We never will be. We’re handmade. It takes 18 hours to paint the stripe on a Viper. We color sand the entire car, inside and outside. All the panels are beautifully finished. We’re trying to build a custom show car that you can own. This is not a disposable device here. … Whoever buys a Viper is someone special. They’re not normal. It’s someone who really wants to rock and roll and feel alive and not have a filtered experience. It’s a car we designed for pleasure.

Read the full interview at Automotive News.


Viper Sales Are Fine Says Ralph Gilles

There have been many stories recently about the Viper not selling as planned, about production being scaled back, that the Corvette was stealing sales. It turns out that the issue is not poor sales but poor planning. Apparently, people who spend $130,000 on a car have the nerve to insist on the options that they want. Whew! See the story at Jalopnik.


Ralph Gilles Discusses the 2014 Viper TA with Adam Corolla

SRT CEO Ralph Gilles discusses the 2014 Viper TA with Adam Corolla. The specs include; 3390 lbs, two mode suspension, bigger Bembo brakes, active aero devices generating an additional 600 lbs of down force and 355 rear meats. Per Ralph,“The new 2014 SRT Viper TA is being engineering for the dedicated track enthusiast, who still wants to drive to the track and take their hobby to the next level. Our engineers revised the suspension settings to refocus the Viper specifically for track duty, using a blend of components from the GTS and the SRT models, add in the extensively developed aero package and the new Time Attack package is born.” See more at Allpar. Video after the jump!


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Edmunds Tries to Pick Fight With Ralph Gilles on Twitter

Edmunds, a site best known for minivan comparisons and new car shopping tools for non-enthusiasts, is trying to pick a fight with Ralph Gilles in Twitter. The Edmunds people have scheduled a comparison test with the new C7 Corvette and claim that Ralph is “scared” to send the new Viper. Ralph claims all the Vipers are booked right now, owing to “Pebble beach, ALMS, Dream Cruise, peak time.. many shows, simply that time of year..” Scott Oldham counters that Ralph is “full of sh##.” Ralph Gilles replies “we are out of cars and clearly told you one is coming next month. Why are you being an A##” and “I am dissapionted with your aggression…” You can read the full exchange on Twitter.

Does Edmunds think this kind of thing helps their credibility or will increase their readership? Ultimately, I agree with Ralph that, while it will be interesting, “I don’t understand how an ultra low volume 180hp more powerful exotic needs to be compared?” At the end of the day Mopar people buy Vipers and Chevy people buy Corvettes. And arguments on Twitter are lame.


SRT Viper Presentation in San Carlos, California

Yesterday I drove out to a cool SRT Viper event in San Carlos with my buddy Mike Musto in his 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. I’ll try to post some video next week (I hope, if I can edit it into something half decent) but for now I thought you’d like to see the pics.

The event was sponsored by the Western Automotive Journalists and featured author Maurice Liang along with President and CEO of SRT Ralph Gilles. Maurice Liang is the founder of the Viper Club of America and just published SRT Viper: America’s Supercar Returns. Maurice talked about writing the book and everything that went into designing and building the third generation Viper. Then it was Ralph’s turn, and he talked about how important the Viper is to Chrysler, and how much Viper owners and Mopar enthusiasts mean to the company (and in attendance was D’Anne Rauh, who owns over 60 Vipers).

When the Q and A portion came around, I asked Ralph about the new RWD Alfa platform and what that might mean for Dodge. No comment from Ralph on that one…

The event was held at Sparky’s Hot Rod Garage, which was filled with a lot of 50s and 60s nostalgia. There was good food and cold beer. And when we were done we went back outside to check out the cars some more. Thanks to SRT and WAJ for putting on this cool event. TONS more pics after the jump!


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