You know the show car is nearly ready, right? Yes friends, the vaunted Dodge Viper is returning as a 2013 model, and the Viper is scheduled to make its world debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show, and it will be my pleasure and honor to share a front row seat with our readers for the rebirth of America’s super car. On April 4th, the new Viper will be shown to the automotive press for the first time. Sure, new cars are debuted frequently with much fanfare, but the Viper is no ordinary car. You read about new cars in magazines and online, but what really goes on behind the scenes?
I’m not giving any account from Chrysler-this is pure speculation based on my experience in the auto industry. Tonight, as we sleep, the 2013 Dodge Viper SRT10 sits deep within the inner sanctum of Chrysler. Under cover, and guarded. Chrysler’s savior of the Viper, Ralph Gilles will be spending countless days and nights poring over every detail of the Viper. Chrysler top brass will be shown the car. And, finally, it is time to prepare for the show.
The Dodge Viper will resume production as a mostly hand-built car straight out of Detroit with a staff of 150 from the same Connor Avenue factory Vipers have been built at since 1995. In a few short weeks Dodge will discreetly usher the new Viper into a tractor trailer where it will hit the interstate to make its journey to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, traveling hundreds of miles without a soul on the road knowing what lies within.
Again, this is pure speculation, but if instinct serves me right, Dodge will likely show the Viper to a select group of journalists and seriously dedicated Viper owners at a private showing at some swank locale in New York the eve before the show. Say what you will about Dodge over the past decade, but Dodge knows how to cater and take care of this elite clientele and I expect nothing different.
Come the day of the show, the Viper will be rolled into the Javits Center under deep cover. When Dodge has its scheduled press conference, automotive media from around the world will start assembling. TV crews will set up shop. In a darkened room we will await the unveiling. With a crew of DJ’s and lighting techs, we watch the countdown unwind, and in an onslaught of light and pounding sound, we will see the new Viper.
For me, the Viper holds a place in my heart. I started my career in automotive journalism at the tender age of 23. The first Dodge I ever reviewed was not a Neon, it was a 1996 Dodge Viper SRT10, black with silver race stripes. It was hell on earth. I picked up the car in New Jersey and drove straight to my alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There I pushed the Viper hard on the rural backroads, ironically just past the road where my future wife lived. From the country roads of Amish country I scooted back to my native Connecticut, where I picked up my best friend Jason ‘Linus’ Stoltz for a night at the hottest spot in Hartford, CT, where we once hung out with ass-kicking alt band Garbage. It was The Bar With No Name, and it covered two stories. Leaving the bar with people on the balcony cheering the mighty Viper made us instant VIPS and for two modest guys like Linus and I, it’s a night I won’t forget. Roof off in the dead of night with the Wilbur Cross Parkway to myself in a Dodge Viper is about as close to automotive nirvana as you can get, and I cherished every moment. Roaring V-10, wind in my hair, the Viper forever cemented itself as the ultimate American super car. I cannot wait for the sequel.