Automotive training students and faculty members at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) in Tacoma, Washington are distraught after being notified by the Chrysler Group that their most prized teaching aid must be crushed. As part of a mass extermination of all pre-production Dodge Viper models, 93-institutions of higher learning will be forced to have their donated Vipers crushed locally and submit proof of the fact within two-weeks.
Rumors abound about several of these early Viper models, manufactured prior to 1992, being misused to the extent that they have been involved in vehicle collisions. This could potentially place Chrysler in a position of liability since the cars were never intended for street use. Nevertheless, the Chrysler Group has officially commented that no litigation concerning any of the Vipers is currently underway.
While all of these Vipers are considered rare and valuable, the car donated to SPSCC is particularly valuable — so much so that famed television personality and world renowned car collector Jay Leno even attempted to purchase the car. It is a prototype car with a hardtop that has no catalytic converters or other pollution control devices; the engine computer is not programmed to regulate vehicle speed, and is estimated to produce 600-horsepower. Additionally, it has a vehicle identification number suffix of “004” indicating that it is the fourth Viper ever built. It could be worth $250,000 to an automotive museum or car collector. It seems as though Chrysler feels that the liability issue could cost them far more than the value of these 93-cars.