Students “told to destroy rare Dodge Viper”

Olympia, Wash.: “A community college says it’s the pride of their automotive technology program: a rare Dodge Viper donated to their school worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.” It’s believed to be the fourth one off the assembly line. But now Chrysler has “ordered the destruction of their entire educational Viper fleet.” It seems that while the prototypes were never meant to be driven on public roads, “two of them somehow got out and into accidents, costing Chrysler’s parent company millions of dollars.” Things might be different if our law respected a sale or other contractual agreement between Chrysler and the school as reason to release the manufacturer from a suit filed by an injured third party. But it doesn’t. Chrysler’s deadline for ordering the cars crushed has now passed; no word at present as to whether any of the cars have been reprieved or otherwise survived. [KING, AutoWeek, Tacoma News Tribune, Motor Trend]


  • I’m sure that some lawyer will be more than happy to take the case for the college. The fees could run into the millions!


  • Or someone with half a brain could suggest a sale at auction, with all the CYA paperwork Chrysler lawyers demand, and the proceeds (and a brand new Viper) going to the school… So maybe we have auto mechanics in coming generations.

  • @mp

    I imagine Chrysler, and a more than a few lawyers, believe there is no language that would completely relieve Chrysler of liability regarding the release of cars that were never meant to be driven.

    I have seen a few of these type of cars at Barret’s Auction (on TV), they have no VIN number and can never be registered. I am fairly certain car manufacturers have the collectors sign waivers, but what happens if a third party is injured–they go after the manufacturer for releasing the cars to the public in the first place. It is unlikely they actually released the cars, and instead gave them as gifts.

    The last one I heard about or saw was the Cadillac STS that broke the lap record for coupes at Nürburgring

  • An authorized person could pledge the “full faith and credit of the United States” to indemnify Chrysler for any lawsuits or other claims from their educational fleet. I am not sure whether this would require an act of Congress to be effective.

  • Donate them to the Corvette museum, and one night they, and the floor, will disappear.