Seeking some excitement amid the doom and gloom at money-losing Chrysler group, the automaker unveiled the next generation of its Dodge Viper on Monday.
It features an all-new 8.3-liter V-10 aluminum engine that Dodge says will make the RT-10 the only production car in the world with an engine that has more than 500 cubic inches of displacement and develops at least 500 hp and 500 pounds-feet of torque.
"This is an animal," Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche said.
Jim Julow, the Dodge division chief, said the new Viper stays true to the "obscene performance, outrageous design and ultimate driver enjoyment" that defined the original Viper.
It features a two-seat cockpit with a push-button starter and an instrument panel with a center-mounted tachometer and a speedometer that reaches 220 mph.
Julow said the RT-10 is designed to be a true convertible, with its bifold clamshell top.
Dodge engineers are exploring adding a hard top to go over the ragtop, he said.
The new Viper will be built in the existing Viper plant in Detroit. Production is slated to begin in 2002. It will be priced a little over $60,000. Dodge expects annual sales of about 3,000 units.