Limber up your petition-signin' fingers and prepare to channel some outrage, as we've got some heartbreaking news we unfortunately have to share: Fiat-Chrysler has ordered the destruction of 93 of the first Dodge Vipers ever produced, and VIN #4 is driving the slow path to the death chamber.
You see, back in the 1990s, Chrysler donated several Dodge Vipers to educational programs nationwide for use in training programs. Think design classes, mechanics' workshops, body shops, things of that nature. These vehicles were pre-production and not street legal; they were built without speed limiters or emission-control dynamics.
Sometime within the last 20 years, two of the educational-use vehicles were actually used on the road and were involved in accidents. The lawsuits brought forth from these accidents is now costing Fiat millions, so rather than take the risk of more Viper-accident payouts, FCA has issued the death knell for the 91 remaining Vipers.
The fourth Viper found its way to South Puget Sound Community College in Washington, where it has been for the last seven years. The college not only uses it in classes, but for promotional purposes; "Everybody wants their picture taken with the Viper," professor Bob Riggin told the Tacoma News Tribune.
Jay Leno even offered to buy Viper #4 from Chrysler before it landed at the college, but was turned down for reasons unspecified. But now SPSCC has two weeks to have the Viper crushed.
There is a petition circulating to save Viper #4, but Chrysler appears to be standing firm. If Viper #4 is crushed, it wouldn't be the first; late last year, two other educational, pre-production Vipers had to be destroyed.
As another YouTube user points out, technically the Vipers are still owned by Chrysler. He, too, had to send another educational Viper to the scrap yard:
Chrysler donates vehicles to our program that our students can work on and for promotional purposes. They are still owned by Chrysler and thus they are responsible for them. Some vehicles may contain pre-production parts that have not been certified for road use and when we are done with them they have to be scrapped. However not all vehicles are scrapped when the college is done with them and some are redonated to NATEF certified high schools and AYES programs for high school students to work on.
It seems like the no-brainer here would be to have all the Vipers donated to museums (or other places where they can't be driven, ever) with a strict clause relieving FCA of all liabilities, but I'm not the legal expert. We'll keep you posted if anything changes.
Screenshot via KING5