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Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Viper-Based Chrysler Supercar That Never Was: Weird Car of the Week


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

2005 Chrysler Firepower Concept Vehicle.

Concept cars come and go. But every now and then, a design study comes along that leads us to believe that everything is right in the world. Like the time Chrysler built a Viper-based supercar concept and actually thought about building it.

2005 Chrysler Firepower Concept Vehicle.

What Is It?

 It’s called the Chrysler Firepower concept, and it debuted in 2005 as an alternative to the Viper. And we mean that literally. Chrysler designers took the already menacing Viper, gave it a more luxurious makeover inside and out, and let it go into the world.

The exterior was designed by Brian Nielander, the man responsible for the equally enticing ME FourTwelve concept that debuted a year earlier. It was developed to show the Chrysler could indeed build a high-end, hybrid supercar with existing technology. It was so successful as a concept, in fact, that execs seriously mulled over the idea of putting it into production.

2005 Chrysler Firepower Concept Vehicle.

Unfortunately, Chrysler couldn’t find a viable way of producing the car. According to former engineer, Nevil Ooms, the concept alone took 20,000 man hours to complete, and cost the marque somewhere between $1.2 million and $3.2 million. Not a cheap exercise.

At its core, the Firepower used a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 and produced 451 horsepower. Not a slouch by any means. But when the concept was all said and done, engineers didn’t have a solution for production. The millions of dollars worth of development costs couldn’t be overcome, and the project was scrapped the project altogether.

2005 Chrysler Firepower Concept Vehicle.

Where Is It Now?

 We can only assume that the Firepower concept is tucked away somewhere in Detroit, a stately reminder for Chrysler at what could have been.