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RSS I sold my Viper, but the memories I'll keep


Ringo64
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Filed under: Classics, Convertible, Performance, Etc., Chrysler, Dodge

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The following is written by auto industry veteran Tom Kowaleski. The words are his own, but the memories now belong to everyone thanks to his willingness to share. If you're an industry veteran with a story to share, contact us at tipsATautoblogDOTcom.

It became the flame that started the fire of belief in the next life of Chrysler.

I just sold a car. Nothing new. Millions do it every day. But my car was a 1995 Dodge Viper, so maybe it was a bit more unique since just 12,000 were built. And like others selling a car that's been a part of the family for close to 20 years, this was a confluence of emotions for me. I was sad to see it go, but happy to have the cash and one less big, shiny, under-utilized object in my life.

Viper was a major part of my education in the automobile business. I worked at Chrysler in the '80s and '90s, and the Viper's development - indeed, its whole story - was critical to Chrysler's revitalization and comeback into credibility. The Viper program was done on a shoestring. It came to life as the result of four incredibly strong personalities agreeing on a single vision. It was a car no consumer research would ever support. It was a car one no one else would ever think of building. Yet, it became the flame that started the fire of belief in the next life of Chrysler.

The first time I laid eyes on the Viper, I was invited to join a final review session with Bob Lutz, the Vice Chairman of the company at the time; Francois Castaing, the new head of Engineering and recent AMC arrival; and Tom Gale, the head of Design and the most senior 'real' Chrysler person. The fourth member of the gang, the scalawag racing legend Carroll Shelby, was not in attendance.

tom-k-thumb.pngTom Kowaleski is a veteran of public relations. He has worked in senior positions at Chrysler, General Motors, BMW and currently Lincoln, making him one of the few industry insiders to have worked for each of Detroit's three automakers.

Continue reading I sold my Viper, but the memories I'll keep

I sold my Viper, but the memories I'll keep originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 May 2013 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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These Vipers certainly have become scarce, my shop had one last year when I started. Truly just awesome cars.

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