Rate It: How About a V8-Powered Luxury Version of the Dodge Viper?

Back in 2005, the Chrysler lineup consisted of the 300, Crossfire, Pacifica, PT Cruiser, Sebring, and Town & Country.

So aside from the somewhat sporty Crossfire, the Firepower concept (which may be the most American-sounding name for a car ever) may have looked like it came out of left field.

The press release from the 2005 North American International Auto Show may only hint at it, but the concept's architecture is based heavily on the Viper. Despite that, the Firepower used a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 in place of the Viper's iconic V10.

Even with two fewer cylinders, the Firepower was reported to be good for 425 horsepower that was said to be capable of launching the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Perhaps the biggest letdown, though, may have to be the car's only transmission option: a five-speed automatic with AutoStick.

Would the Firepower have been a promising injection of sportiness in the company's lineup, or is better that Chrysler axed the idea by the end 2006?

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Comments
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mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
9/15/20 4:02 p.m.

Rear 3/4 very Aston 

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
9/15/20 4:25 p.m.

The automatic-only idea was a bit of an odd choice. Perhaps they were trying to make this something like a downmarket alternative to the Mercedes SL? I think a Viper in a tuxedo would have been a better mindset, and would have called for a stick. The styling is pretty interesting, and it would probably have had less of the "fast pig" feel that an SL has.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/15/20 4:32 p.m.

Isn't the Cadillac SLX also automatic-only? Basically a luxo-vette?

In any case, the firepower always looked pretty cool. A shame only the dowdy crossfire amde it to production. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/15/20 4:35 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

The automatic-only idea was a bit of an odd choice. I think a Viper in a tuxedo would have been a better mindset, and would have called for a stick.

I disagree.  This is a boulevard cruiser.  It would not be improved by a 3-pedal manual.

 

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
9/15/20 4:39 p.m.

I think they should have just stuck a 727 Torqueflite in it and called it good to go.........

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/15/20 4:43 p.m.

They should have made this because people whine so much about chrylsers that I could probably get one cheap by now

chandler
chandler PowerDork
9/15/20 5:42 p.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

They should have made this because people whine so much about chrylsers that I could probably get one cheap by now

Dang, that's almost exactly what I was going to say.

noddaz
noddaz UltraDork
9/15/20 5:43 p.m.

Would have, could have.  But didn't

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
9/15/20 7:06 p.m.

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pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
9/15/20 7:20 p.m.

Yeah, Aston did this a lot better.  It's basically all Aston does.  I can't imagine they would have sold many with a manual trans were this to have made it to market.  The target demographic is, uh, Frank Sinatra were he still alive at the time?  That sort of buyer doesn't want a clutch pedal to deal with at this point. 

I think a hot rod Chrysler coupe with some chrome and glam to it would have worked better as a Challenger derivative and not Viper.  NVH targets would probably have been easier to hit with a Challenger base as well as space & ergonomics.  Might have lead to a fit & finish improvement for the Challenger in the process. 

Paul7002
Paul7002 None
9/15/20 7:46 p.m.

It would have been one of those declining not very good sales in the first place, killed after 3 years models that turn out to be hot used car deals everybody wants.  I'll take one!

sergio
sergio Reader
9/15/20 7:55 p.m.

For the country club crowd. Not for me, I'm old and retired. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
9/15/20 9:51 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Rear 3/4 very Aston 

The front is a bit of XK. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
9/15/20 9:52 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

The automatic-only idea was a bit of an odd choice. Perhaps they were trying to make this something like a downmarket alternative to the Mercedes SL? I think a Viper in a tuxedo would have been a better mindset, and would have called for a stick. The styling is pretty interesting, and it would probably have had less of the "fast pig" feel that an SL has.

I disagree too. I've actually met several old guys at the local Corvette clubs who traded older manuals for newer automatics because of shoulder issues.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/15/20 10:53 p.m.

How did noone say SLS so far? V8-powered luxury Viper you say? You mean Mercedes SLS? The exact same basic idea? Chrysler version of an SLS? Yes, actually, i WOULD like that. 

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/16/20 10:32 a.m.

That was back when Chrysler thought everthing looked good with their corporate minivan grill.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
9/16/20 10:50 a.m.

The front end almost reminds me of a late model 'vette for some reason.  Headlights, maybe?

79rex
79rex Reader
9/16/20 11:57 a.m.

they would have been better off making that demon concept to challenge the miata

wspohn
wspohn Dork
9/16/20 12:15 p.m.

Strangely, I don't find myself hating this.

They made the same mistake as they did on the Crossfire, though - they wouldn't allow you to buy a manual trans with the best engine (SRT). Well, that and a few handling idiosyncrasies...

I know that few would ever be ordered with a manual but they should at least offer it  to be considered as more than a boulevardier. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/16/20 11:37 p.m.

More specifically..

Chrysler Firepower: "Signs early in 2006 pointed to the Firepower going into production ... but later that year Chrysler officially announced that the Firepower would not be produced"

Mercedes SLS: "It was at the December 2006 Daimler executive board meeting...AMG engineers figured the Viper would be a good place to start because its tube frame could be modified quickly and easily to accommodate the axles, brakes and power train of the future SLS...By using the basic structure of the Vipers, AMG technical designers quickly had test mules "

 

No gullwings, no care? Or, if you DO like the SLS, how about "Thank you, Chrysler Corporation!"

 

 

What about this thing?

2004 Chrysler ME412:" four turbochargers...would have made it the most powerful, as well as the fastest, road-going production vehicle at the time . The transmission is a...7-speed Ricardo-built dual-clutch...  Estimated top speed was claimed to be 399 km/h"

2005 Bugatti Veyron: "The 7-speed Dual Clutch system developed for (oh really?) the 406km/h, 987bhp Bugatti Veyron will be shown for the first time (you dont say?) by Ricardo" 

 

Good thing for Chrysler haters that they never build any of this stuff. It would sure undermine a lot of opinions about Chrysler's place on the automotive totem pole. At least now they've finally been strangled enough that they've mercifully stopped presenting 'the threat of a good example'.

stroker
stroker UberDork
9/17/20 7:48 a.m.

So do it now with a Hellcat...?

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/17/20 8:38 a.m.

Too bad the Viper is gone now. Chrysler got an SLK for a Halo car, and Mercedes got a Viper for theirs. Just more coulda-beens from the worst automotive merger in history. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/17/20 9:37 a.m.

In reply to Vigo (Forum Supporter) :

Jordan Rimpela (FS)
Jordan Rimpela (FS) Dork
9/17/20 1:36 p.m.

The Firepower name wasn't totally out of left field, as they did use the moniker on a Hemi back in the '50s.

 

Shame about this and the ME412.

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