Baby Viper mooted
Chrysler could produce a "baby Viper" using its alliance with parent company Fiat as a way to bring the muscle car look to a smaller, more affordable - and more fuel efficient - sports car.
Speaking at the international launch of the SRT Viper, the man who brought the V10-powered Viper back to life, SRT boss and Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles, hinted a smaller Viper could be in the wings.
"Going forward, of course, my dream is to continue making unique SRT products, something like a baby Viper or something like that," said Gilles.
Most SRT models - the acronym stands for street and racing technology - are modified versions of existing Chrysler and Jeep models, bringing improved performance and better handling.
But the Viper - which runs only the SRT badging - is a standalone model.
Gilles said he would like to see more unique-to-SRT models as a way to build the brand and create more purpose-built sports cars.
"The enthusiast community is starting to recognise SRT as its own thing," he said.
The other advantage of producing a smaller, more fuel efficient Viper is it would still bring a high-performance model but help the company's fuel economy targets in the US; car makers in America must meet strict sales-weighted fuel economy targets or face financial penalties.
Gilles wouldn't be drawn on the chances of a baby Viper or how it would come to life.
One obvious choice would be to use the existing underpinnings of a Fiat or Alfa Romeo product, in much the same way as the Dodge Dart has given the US brand a smaller, more environmentally-friendly vehicle in a short development timeframe; the Dart is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is a lightweight sports car powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 170kW of power that could be one option.
Alfa Romeo is also working with Mazda to produce the latter's new MX-5 roadster, something that could also produce a viable baby sports car platform.
-Fairfax News Australia