As a left-hand-drive car, the Viper is not likely to be seen on South African roads legally any time soon. However, it’s hardly fair to deprive local Pentastar fans of their fix, even if it is just in print – so we hereby present the latest version of the Super Snake. It’s entirely appropriate, too, because the 2013 SRT Viper stole the spotlight at this year’s New York International Auto Show. Along with a new badge and a 477 kW V10, the much-awaited supercar features a modern and more functional take on its iconic shape, which dates to 1992. Here, Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT, Chrysler senior vice-president of design, and designer of the Chrysler 300, explains the Viper’s new look. – ANDREW DEL-COLLE
The Viper is what we call a cab-rearward proportion. It has a distinctive back-positioned cab with a very, very long nose. This allows the car to be a front-midengine car, where the engine is rearward of the front axle and gives the car 50/50 weight distribution.
The two new air extractors increase top speed a little bit, decrease pressure build-up on the nose of the car, and improve
cooling by releasing hot air from the radiator. We shaped those scoops so the hot air goes around the windshield, not in the passenger compartment.
The Viper’s eyes have been horizontal slits with multiple headlamp projectors for a long time. We went to just a single projector and literally styled the eyes of the car after a snake’s, just a little bit more vertically oriented. The two LEDs – the upper is a turn signal; the lower is the daytime running light – almost appear to be pupils.
The side gill is unmistakably a Viper cue and helps remove air pressure and heat from the engine bay. This gill is almost
two-and-a half times as wide as it’s ever been, and 100 per cent functional. In the past, it’s only been decorative.
E.DIFFERENTIAL COOLING DUCTS
A performance car’s differential works hard and gets pretty hot – almost hotter than any other part – so we designed an air path for cooling. The ducts also modernise and lengthen the canopy of the vehicle.
The tab that extends off the roof accentuates the double bubble and minimises the appearance of the rear window. This gives the rear wheel arches prominence; they bulge because that’s where the power comes from – the rear wheels.
The diffuser is a huge contributor to the downforce of the back of the car. I’m very proud of it. Although it looks sculpted, it’s completely functional. We have integrated backup lamps that are kind of hidden in there.
Wallpaper: Dodge SRT Viper GTS 2013