A crushing loss: School's out for vintage Vipers

One of 93 Vipers Chrysler donated to educational institutions begins the trip from sports car to scrap steel.

It's a sight almost too painful for sports car aficionados to view: a large backhoe crashing down on a perfectly good classic Dodge Viper and crushing the life out of it. But that's what's happening to 93 Vipers Chrysler donated to vocational schools across the country.

Chrysler, which retains title to the cars, says the Vipers now are so old they no longer have any technology that can be used for educational purposes and now must be destroyed.

"As part of the donation process, it is standard procedure -- and stipulated in our agreements -- that whenever vehicles are donated to institutions for education purposes that they are to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for their intended educational purposes," said Chrysler spokesman Dan Reid.

Why pricey Vipers rather than, say, Dodge Darts? Chrysler won't say.

Some of the cars being destroyed are early cars, including the fourth Viper off the line. Donations were made roughly from the start of Viper production in 1991 to about 2003.

Says Reid: "Chrysler Group fully understands and appreciates the historical significance of the Viper and is very active in preserving many of its legendary models and designs for historic purposes. However, none of these vehicles fit into this category."

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