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(M)ost (V)enomous (P)layer

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On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 9:54AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

(M)ost (V)enomous (P)layer

If you are among the millions of NFL fans out there, odds are you know what it feels like when a division rival’s best player gets injured or retires from the game. You know it’s good for your team, but it’s a bittersweet feeling at best. Sure if Peyton Manning got hurt, it will be good for the Texans, Titans, and Jaguar fans (and frankly, good for every team but the Colts, come to think of it). But suddenly beating the Colts won’t mean nearly as much with Curtis Painter at the helm. The victories would still be happily accepted, but they would be bittersweet to some extent. A win against a team at full strength feels more like victory than against a team that is depleted. Beyond that, a day in the NFL without Peyton Manning is a much worse NFL than the one with Peyton Manning. The league suffers if it loses one of its most fierce and demonstrative players for any amount of time.  

Such is the feeling Chevy and Ford more than likely shared when Dodge announced that it was discontinuing the Viper back on July 1 of this year. Sure, it trims the competition a bit and is one less 600 horsepower supercar the ZR-1 and GT500 have to deal with, but somehow it just feels like a hollow advancement up the ranks. Well, that feeling has come and gone faster than a Prius’ 0-60mph time, because Dodge’s MVP is on its way out of retirement and training to get back on the field. According to Autoweek.com, a concept rendition of what should be the next Viper was unveiled by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at a convention center in Orlando, Florida.  

Little is known about the concept (unless you happen to have been one of the few thousand attending the Florida convention), but what is known is that the current Mercedes SLS AMG was originally slated to be the next Viper, and for reasons known only to Chrysler and Mercedes execs. And if you take a long look at the SLS, it isn’t too hard to see its inner Viper. Take away the trademark gull wing doors, keep the aluminum space frame and body, adjustable damping system, and double-wishbone suspension and the car starts to make a lot of sense. The open mouth grile of the SLS AMG could easily be turned into a venomous snarl, and with some clever engineering, a slight more curvaceous Viper body could easily be molded onto the current Mercedes hot rod.

The big question is what will be under the hood? Although the current SLS AMG engine is an impressive 6.3-liter V8 that puts down 563 serious horsepower, that number is dwarfed in size and potency by the outgoing 8.3-liter V10 that made a ridiculous 600 horsepower. Seeing as how the Viper has always had a ten-cylinder motor, it would be hard to imagine it without one … And certainly the Viper faithful would make quite the stink if Chrysler decided to try to mess with success. No real fan would want to see Peyton Manning come back from injury and try to start throwing left handed, would they?

The new Viper is set to hit the streets in 2012, which will be none too soon. Chrysler’s performance division has been treading water with cars like the SRT Challenger, Charger, and 300, but has no answer for anything more powerful than a Camaro, Mustang GT, base Corvette, or quite frankly, anything at the elite level of the hyper horsepower battle.

Much like the opposing defense watching a healthy Peyton trot back on the field, Ford, Chevy, and anyone else in the supercar market will once again have to step up their game because Chrysler’s big gun is coming back to the playing field, and is ready to start racking up some Ws.

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