That time when Dodge set a Caravan Towing Speed Record with a Viper
Just when you think you've seen everything...
It's not often I come across a piece of truly obscene Viper history like this. Not that I know nearly every facet of this car, but that coming across this information is kind of an event when I do. Especially when it's as ridiculous and hilarious as the story we have here.
No, this story genuinely isn't fabricated. A Viper Enthusiast, in the early 2000s, decided to ring up Chrysler Europe and ask if they could set a new Caravan Towing Record with the least appropriate car imaginable: A Dodge (Chrysler) Viper. A 3,400-ish pound, 450 horsepower, all-aluminum, V10 sports car is what they decided to tow a caravan with up to ungodly speeds. I mean for a top speed run it certainly makes sense but the idea itself sounds all kinds of crazy.
This person wasn't laughed all the way to mars either, Chrysler Europe actually joined in the attempt! It's not like they only lent the car either, some people from Chrysler Europe turned up and they brought out the computers, g-meters, and tried multiple different things (including leaving the hood slightly ajar to cool the engine) in order to get the record. How on god's Earth the boardroom meeting that decided whether they were going to do this or not went I'll never know, but I would've loved to be a fly on the wall for that discussion!
“Hey! I've got an idea for a PR stunt: What if we set a new Caravan Towing Speed Record with a car that was never meant to tow a caravan in the first place? We might have to get some G-Meters and a driver willing to do something so stupid but I'm sure we could beat the record!”
“Why that sounds like a brilliant idea! Go find a Viper sitting around and call up the local press companies!”
I mean really, imagine if FCA joined in someone's grassroots effort to do the same with a Hellcat Redeye Challenger today. That would make for the most absurd and nonsensical press release to go up on their media site in a very long time, haha! That's not even the best part about this whole story though! The best part is that an old motoring publication, Men and Motors (where Richard Hammond actually appeared occasionally), recorded a video of the attempt! Oh yes, it gets even better still! Because I've found the video! As with most old Youtube videos it was a bit hard to find, but I have embedded the video down below for your viewing pleasure.
Sadly Richard wasn't in that video, but it's still a weird-but-entertaining watch nonetheless. For those of you that didn't catch it, they would end up beating the record, but only by 1 MPH (127.8 MPH was the top speed they recorded).
It's almost as if they watched a Top Gear episode and decided to live out their Top Gear Fantasies on company dime...
In any case, this was a nice, fun little piece of Viper history that I stumbled across while looking for god knows what. Tell me what you think of this utterly strange event in Viper history down below! I hope you enjoyed, see you all next time.