At the Detroit Motor Show in 1989, Chrysler showed a concept car called the Viper, a low, wide and mean looking two seater roadster with a hint of the AC Cobra in its hunched stance. The public loved it. They were even more impressed, and even more keen to buy, when they discovered it had an 8 liter, 90 degree V10 engine. Chrysler were so encouraged with the response that they decided to put into production. Despite a surprisingly hefty all in weight nobody was disappointed with the Viper’s titanic strength. Its engine, reworked by Lamborghini, developed 450 lb/ft of torque so that Viper didn’t really what gear it was in, delivering its power with a surprisingly side pipes. 0-60 took four seconds and most road tester ran out of nerve at around 170 mp. So high was the gearing in sixth, 53.3 mph per 100 revs that the Viper was just loafing at 100 mph. As a straight line ground coverer, it was the perfect companion. When the hype slowed down, pundits began to notice that the car’s hood was unless, that the build quality had a kit car feel to it in places and that handling, despite quick (assisted) steering and great brakes, was a little ragged and unforgiving, especially on bumpy roads.
Other began to complain that the car was too wide, particularly outside of the United States, to be much use. None of that mattered. As an image booster for Chrysler around the world, the Viper was unbeatable. It was later to spawn its very fixed head version, the Viper GTS.