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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Viper owners and fans react to news that Viper could be on the block

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — As owner's clubs and fan sites buzzed Wednesday with news that Chrysler may sell the Dodge Viper brand, fans of the brawny halo car expressed concern for what the car might become, rather than who owns it.

On the Viper Club of America forum, members were generally appreciative that Chrysler is looking at a future for the V10-powered car, rather than killing it off. Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli announced on Wednesday that the company was exploring "strategic options for the Dodge Viper business" and had been approached by companies interested in the Viper nameplate.

"I have only one hope, whoever buys it, keep it a Viper," wrote a Viper Club of America member going by the name V10SpeedLuvr. "I don't want a backseat or a V8. I'd rather see it die completely than become a mass produced, babyseat hold-down having, family version of the Corvette."

Many owners and enthusiasts were speculating on potential buyers — and voicing dreams of an even more powerful Viper produced by a niche manufacturer like Pininfarina, Roush or Saleen. Still, some fans worried that eliminating the halo car from the lineup would harm the entire Dodge brand. On Red Letter Dodge, a Web site devoted to the entire company lineup, the news drew just two comments, but both posters expressed disappointment.

"Having a high-end car in the lineup gives Dodge the credibility that they are a high-performance, quality manufacturer that will always be a few notches above the competition because they can build exotic cars," wrote user TexasMopar.

What this means to you: Viper fans don't seem too concerned with what logo is on the hood, as long as the car stays true to its performance pedigree. — Eric Tingwall, Correspondent