Oakland, Maryland, United States
The following is written by auto industry veteran Tow 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.
Dodge has significantly updated its full-size Durango for the 2014 model year, giving the seven-passenger hauler a fresh look and a well-rounded boost of competitive features as it enters its fourth year in the showroom.
Cosmetically, it is hard to miss the revised front end with projector-beam headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, "floating" crosshair grille, a taller front bumper and a new lower fascia. The rear end of the facelifted Durango has been redesigned with the automaker's now-signature LED "racetrack" taillamps and resculpted rear fascia. All of the wheels are new too, with 18- and 20-inch options for each trim level with a variety of factory finishes.
Inside the cabin, buyers can select the automaker's latest Uconnect infotainment system with a full suite of infotainment features and connectivity accessed through an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Other optional goodies include a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seating and a Blu-Ray player capable of running unique programs on the twin individual rear monitors.
The saga of the Washington state community college hoping to keep its allegedly pre-production Dodge Viper out of the maw of the crusher is going strong. Not only does the school still have the car, but there's a chance that the college might even get to keep it.
The whole situation flared up in March when the South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA, received a notice from Chrysler Group that requested that the school's Viper be destroyed. The automaker had loaned the muscle car to it about a decade ago to use for educational purposes in its auto tech classes. With the Dodge growing long in the tooth, "it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any educational value to students," the company said in its press release on the matter.
However, the college balked at destroying its Viper, despite the fact it had signed a contract with Chrysler Group to do so. The school further claimed that its car was incredibly special because it was a pre-production example and just the fourth one made back in 1992. Although, as we pointed out at the time, the photos of the school's vehicle showed a coupe that looked like a newer Viper GTS.