Fiat Chrysler very nearly sold the Viper branding rights and the factory where it’s built to a group of wealthy investors in 2008, according to The Truth About Cars.
This nugget of info comes from noted car collector James Glickenhaus, who was approached by the investor group for advice on the deal at the time. Glickenhaus advised them not to do it and they eventually backed out of it, likely after concluding it would be hard to make the Viper profitable.
“A private group wanted to buy Viper and approached FCA who were receptive. This private group asked me for advice and I gave it to them,” Glickenhaus told TTAC in an interview.
“A deal was not reached. They did have the resources to do the deal but in the end decided not to (buy the Viper). I did advise them not to do this deal but why they didn’t isn’t something I know.”
Elaborating on the matter to Road & Track, Glickenhaus said he told the group he thought the Viper would need a major update at the time to be competitive, which would be extremely expensive.
“I thought that car was pretty tired, and it needed a revamping,” said Glickenhaus. “They would have come up with a better car (but) they’d be spending a lot of money to do it.”
The investor group was apparently very close to pulling the trigger on the Viper sale before things fell through. FCA, meanwhile, refreshed the second-generation Viper and kept it in production through to the 2010 model year. The third-generation Viper has now been with us since 2013, but is unfortunately set to depart after 2017.
Where’s a good investor group when you need one?