SRT Viper Prototype Goes for Drive on Detroit Streets: Ralph Gilles Driving

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

Love it or hate it, the 2013 SRT Viper is enough to turn heads, make necks crane and fire up cell phone cameras in a flash — something nobody knows better than SRT CEO Ralph Gilles.

After taking the 8.4-liter V10 road monster out for a spin and quickly becoming the star of more than a few shutter bugs attention, Gilles delivered a breakfast speech at a Detroit law firm.

“Oh my god, what a sensation driving that car on the freeway,” said Gilles. “With the modern day cell phones everyone was almost crashing into me trying to take pictures.” It isn’t hard to understand his enthusiasm, or that of anyone else for that matter, given the new Viper’s 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.

SRT did a good job of keeping wraps on its halo car until the New York debut, but there are sure to be more incidents where the Viper is seen roaming and caught on camera before its official launch.

Bringing the car back to life wasn’t an easy task for Gilles or the company. When Chrysler was in serious financial trouble only a few years ago, the Viper was quickly cut from the product line in 2010 for being too expensive and difficult to sell.

Only three years later, we’ve seen Chrysler/ Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne return the brand to stability and with it, the reintroduced Viper, now badged by SRT instead of Dodge.

“The history of Viper runs deep. The private equity guys tried to snuff it out, but it’s like the weed that keeps growing back,” Gilles said.

GALLERY: 2013 SRT Viper

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

More by Luke Vandezande

Join the conversation