Hagerty.com

How Chrysler’s mid-engine Viper idea became the Ford GT


#1

The stillborn, mid-engine Viper was supposed to remain a secret. This Viper that wasn’t could have become the first mid-engine American sports car. Still, nobody is saying much—at least not on the record—about the car that became the stimulus for what would be the Ford GT in the mid-2000s. That’s right; Chrysler’s mid-engine Viper program was the basis for Ford’s 2006 GT. Confused? Read on.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/12/04/chryslers-mid-engine-viper-became-the-ford-gt

#2

Chris Theodore is right on and a pleasure to work for. I brought the information from the Corvette mid-engine program and several of the designers from Chevrolet. The mid-engine Viper was a mutual desire but ran into lack of top management support. Theodore’s initiative at Ford did create the Ford GT, with the help from several of the Viper Engineers who moved to Ford, under contract, with Chris.


#3

“first mid-engine American sports car”

I think the Ford GT40 would argue that point. Granted, it wasn’t a mass-produced thing and it’s arguable whether it’s an American car. But then I think the Pontiac Fiero might argue the point. Granted, THAT wasn’t what most people would call a sports car in the same breath as Viper or GT40.


#4

During the development of the Viper Chrysler owned Lamborghini, why didn’t they use some of Lamborghini’s mid engine technology.


#5

Since AMC was bought out by Chrysler in 1988 they bought the AMX III & was a mid engine 2 seat sports car and was made by Bizzarrini and AMC and proven to work , so they had a lot of good information done for them I do believe that all 6 still exist.


#6

Right, a Fiero is not in the same league as a GT40 or Viper. But if a doubter drove my '88 Formula on country roads as I do, he/she would say that it is indeed a sports car, and a fine one at that. We know the sad history of the Fiero. But a well-tuned '88 with good tires and an up-to-spec suspension argues the point you made. At its ridiculously low market price, it may be the best bargain in the American sports car world.


#7

If GM had put a 6-cylinder in the Fiero from the start, it could have had a much more successful run. Damn bean counters. :smiley:


#8

And now we have the Zora Corvette, exactly 50 years late. Poor old Duntov was the most frustrated car guy ever.