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.
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.
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.