Tony O'Kane | Aug 11, 2009

REPORTS ARE circulating that the Dodge Viper may eventually dump its current V10 engine in favour of a modular powertrain developed by Chrysler's new owner, Fiat.

Fiat is currently developing a new V8 engine range for its Ferrari and Maserati brands: a powertrain that could reportedly be readily adapted for use in the Viper.

dodge-viper-srt10-coupe

The modular design of the new Ferrari and Maserati V8s means extending the block by two more cylinders would likely be a relatively simple process. Twin balance shafts would maintain smoothness and the Viper's familiar pushrod valve actuation setup could also be accommodated by the new Fiat-designed engine.

If the rumours prove true, the prospect of a switch from an all-American engine to an Italian one may unsettle many Viper purists.

dodge-viper-srt10-roadster2

But with looming emissions regulations prompting many manufacturers to redesign their powertrain technology to be leaner and greener, Chrysler Group LLC may well accept an offer from Fiat for a new performance V10 - if such an offer were to be made.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reportedly believes the Viper holds great promise for Dodge: a new engine may be just the thing to revitalise interest in the ageing sports car.

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