Chrysler Orders Dodge Vipers to be Destroyed
NEW YORK (MainStreet) First we saw the Corvettes collapse into a sinkhole in Kentucky. Now 93 rare Dodge Viper muscle cars will be crushed into oblivion. These are tough times for sports car enthusiasts.
A decade ago, the Chrysler Group donated nearly 100 preproduction Dodge Vipers to high schools, community colleges and universities for educational purposes. The fleet included a 1992 Viper pre-production unit fourth off the production line -- which was donated to South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash., according to Motor Authority. Now having an estimated value of $250,000, collectors across the nation -- reportedly including Jay Leno -- have attempted to buy it. It will be crushed instead.
"Approximately 10 years ago, Chrysler Group donated a number of Dodge Viper vehicles to various trade schools for educational purposes," Fiat-Chrysler said in a statement. "As part of the donation process, it is standard procedure -- and stipulated in our agreements -- that whenever vehicles are donated to institutions for education purposes that they are to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for their intended educational purposes."
South Puget Sound automotive technology professor Norm Chapman told King 5 News that the car is not street legal and was never intended to be driven in public. However, he says two of the vehicles donated to other schools "got loose" and were involved in accidents, costing Chrysler "millions of dollars." Chrysler Group denies this, saying they have no record of any legal proceedings involving Dodge Viper vehicles donated to educational institutions ever being involved in accidents or product liability lawsuits.
The automotive company also says that with advancements in automotive technology over the past decade, it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any additional educational value to students.
"Chrysler Group fully understands and appreciates the historical significance of the Viper and is very active in preserving many of its legendary models and designs for historic purposes however, none of these vehicles fit into this category," the statement concludes.
Chapman says the two-seater produces about 600 horsepower and "will go 200 miles per hour really easy." Students have started a petition drive to save the vintage Viper.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet