January 11, 2001
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Detroit auto show:
2003 Viper convertible has 500 horsepower!
With styling cues derived from the Dodge Viper GTS/R concept car first shown at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, the all-new 2003 Dodge Viper RT-10 convertible is lighter, faster and more powerful than the current RT-10 and GTS Coupe models.
The original Dodge Viper was introduced with a full-width T-bar, and a coupe bodystyle was introduced in 1996. The new Viper convertible has a new low-slung profile, and an easy-to-operate manual convertible top. The new Viper’s bi-fold clam shell top with single centre latch now makes it a true convertible.
The 2003 Dodge Viper will become the only production car in the world to develop over 500 horsepower, 500 ft.-lb. of torque and feature an engine with more than 500 cubic inches of displacement.
“When you want to increase the capability of a high-performance car, there are three basic areas you can change: increase the power, reduce the weight or improve handling,” said Larry Lyons, Vice President, Small Car Platform Engineering, DaimlerChrysler. “For the new Viper, we did all three.”
With performance upgrades that will increase its displacement from 488 to 505 cu. in. and push its V10 power output to a whopping 500 horsepower and 500 ft-lb. of torque, the 2003 Viper has no equal. The 8.3-liter all-aluminum big-block engine drives huge 19-inch rear wheels and offers a performance package without the ‘technical gimmickry’ of many current sports cars.
The 2003 Viper retains a traditional front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout with six-speed manual transmission. The commitment was made early on to use a racing-style chassis including fully independent four-wheel suspension, huge tires and wheels for maximum grip and massive brakes for stopping power.
A new version of the Viper’s four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system, originally introduced for the 2001 model year, will be enhanced on this next-generation car.
A race-derived two-seat cockpit looks over a highly functional instrument panel with centre-mounted tachometer and a 220 mile-per-hour speedometer. A push-button starter refires old-time sports car memories.
The Dodge Viper will go on sale in August 2002 as a 2003 model. It will be built at DaimlerChrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan.