How Chrysler's SRT Viper made it on four auto monthly magazines simultaneously is an amazing feat in itself but it is also quite baffling. Usually, magazine editors aim to have a different cover from the competition. Automobile, Car and Driver, Motor Trend and Road & Track magazines will have the Viper on their cover.
The new issues arrive at newsstands this week. The Viper, clad in fiery red sheet-metal, is an American icon that was revived as a concept by Chrysler even while the company continued to struggle in 2009. Earlier, Autoweek had featured the Viper on its April 16 issue with the line: "Second Coming of Awesome!".
Goodie bags at the New York Auto Show included a copy of Autoweek. Its Editor Wes Raynal said that he wouldn’t have put the Viper on its cover if the magazine won’t be the first to do so. Jean Jennings, editor-in-chief at Automobile, said that this is “very rare,” saying the last time it happened was four years ago, with the introduction of the new Dodge Challenger.
Last January, Chrysler's PR and marketing arms got in touch with Jennings and the other magazines about the Viper as the team was planning its debut at the New York show. Jennings said that car companies know that there’s no guarantee on getting on the cover.
It becomes more unlikely, considering that the Viper is a limited edition V10-powered, ubermuscle car. Jennings said that the Viper stood out because it was the hottest car back then and when the New York show opened, it’s also clearly the “hottest car.”
There are a number of changes made for the 2013 SRT Viper and one of these is the lightweight and ultra-high flow composite intake manifold. There are also the sodium-filled exhaust valves and the high-strength forged pistons. An aluminum flywheel has been added which helps lower any reciprocating losses with new catalysts that lower the back pressure.
The chassis has also undergone some changes with the structure being stiffer resulting in the torsional rigidity increased by an extra 50%. A number of these changes were a result of using the experience from racing especially with the Competition Coupe models and the Viper GTS-R. Even the engine was revised as it is now lighter by 25 pounds. Speaking of the engine, under the hood of the 2013 SRT Viper is an engine that is composed entirely of aluminum and assembled by hand.
This 8.4-liter overhead-valve V10 engine shows preliminary result of having output at 640 hp with top torque of 600 lb.-ft. This torque in particular is considered as the highest for a naturally aspirated engine.
The engine is paired to the manual six-speed Tremec TR6060 transmission which now has a closer gear ratio and a shorter throw shifter. In addition, the transmission final drive ratio has been reduced as well from 3.07 to 3.55. With this transmission, 2013 Viper models will now be able to achieve top speed using the sixth gear, available at 6,200 rpm.