LONDON -- The Dodge Viper, a muscular American sports car, has been "Europeanized" by British performance-engineering specialist Prodrive Ltd.
The third-generation Viper, the SRT-10, will be introduced in Europe in December as part of parent DaimlerChrysler's plans to turn Dodge into a global player.
"The Viper is the Dodge brand icon and the ultimate American sports car," said Dan Knott, D/C's director of street and racing technology.
D/C expects to sell "several hundred" Vipers annually in western Europe. The two-seater has an 8.3-liter V-10 engine that produces 500hp.
Previous-generation Viper models were sold in Europe between 1993 and 2001 as Chryslers.
The most significant change to the Viper for the European market is that its trademark side exhaust outlets have been moved to the rear of the car. This was necessary for the Viper to meet European drive-by noise regulations.
Prodrive says the change does not affect the car's performance or drivability.
Prodrive re-engineered more than 50 of the Viper's components to help it meet the standards and pass the tests required by the EU so the car can be sold in all European markets.
Whenever possible, modified parts have been developed by existing Dodge suppliers.
These parts are fitted to Europe-bound Vipers during production at D/C's Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.
But substantial modifications, including the exhaust system changes, will be done in a Prodrive-managed facility in Zeebrugge, Belgium, after the Vipers arrive there from the US.
Prodrive Chairman David Richards said: "It didn't make sense for DaimlerChrysler to redesign the Viper production line for the relatively small number of European cars, so they will build and test the cars before shipping them to our facility for the final changes."
Prodrive also will prepare Aston Martin's all-new DBR9 for the marque's return to international motor racing next year.
The new GT racing car, based on the new Aston Martin DB9, will compete in a limited number of international sports car events next year, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.