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Underrated: Chrysler Viper RT/10

7 months ago

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Steve Sutcliffe | Journalist


15 December 2023

We didn’t really ‘get’ the Viper RT/10 when it swam across the pond and emerged upon our shores, Kraken-like, in 1993. At the time, us Brits looked right down our noses at this brutish and brash sports car from America, dismissing it for having neither the visual nor the technical sophistication of the more established European sports cars of that era.

In the UK, the car was marketed as the Chrysler Viper, not as a Dodge, mainly because Maximum Bob Lutz (who helped create it) was trying to redevelop Chrysler as a brand across Europe at the time. As such it came with a beguiling absence of frills. The RT in its title stood simply for Rapid Transport while the ‘10’ indicated how many cylinders it had.

Its hood, which was pathetic, looked more like a crashed hang glider and although its 8-litre V10 motor contained an exotic-sounding number of cylinders it was, in fact, related to a truck motor, albeit with its block cast in aluminium. I mean aluminum. Its Tremec T56 six-speed gearbox was truck-based too. Its cabin looked like it had been designed by Tonka while its plastic-composite bodyshell was wider than Rodney Trotter, its extraordinarily long one-piece bonnet seeming to end somewhere in the middle of whichever town your next appointment was in.

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