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R W Burgess

Unbelievable!

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I think this car needs to be taken to the correct junkyard to be "destroyed", so that a collector can find it later and put it back together....not a big Viper fan, but they were off the chart for a production car, and this one does seem to have some historical significance....and, it could be shown at Hershey in 3 years!

Surely someone at Chrysler would realize that the "destroy clause" should apply to four door sedans (not that there's anything wrong with them!) and not #4 Viper.....

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I could be wrong but it sounds like Chrysler donated the cars to the school, so they technically still own them. Students got into trouble joyriding in the car. Now Chrysler wants them crushed due to them still being liable for any damages they might cause. At least that is the BS reason they are slinging at us. I don't understand why they wouldn't just take the cars to a museum if they don't want them driven.

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Read the whole article and you will see that Chrysler said it doesn't know of any donated Viper's being involved in accidents, but the usefulness of the car as a learning tool has diminished with new technology. There are several videos of other donated Vipers being destroyed at salvage yards.

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My guess is there's no title involved....it was given to the school as a "teaching tool", not a vehicle....

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The Chrysler company should have the say in what is done with the cars BUT they are making a big mistake to have them destroyed. I hope there is a ground swell of public opinion, pickets, or whatever it takes to spare the cars and put them in museums or in the hands of collectors.

I don't blame the corporate flunky who ordered them destroyed, it is standard procedure in cases like this. But these cars deserve to be spared. As did the Chrysler turbine cars that were destroyed. Both very foolish, short sighted publicity disasters.

If they thought this move would harm their public image and cost them sales you can bet they would change their minds.

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WOW!

Need details to understand how the destruction order came about for sure as..

this one was donated (ownership / title) to our Car Club / Museum some time ago from a Corporation making Viper parts.

post-36036-143142419958_thumb.jpg

Hope the long arms are not in play here.

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I used to be an instructor at a tech school that had #3. The school lost it's Chrysler training program and all Chrysler cars, including the Viper were transferred to another school in the state. It was a very interesting pre-production car, never driven by students but hauled to various location for student recruitment. I was in the auto body program and the car was under the auto tech department, so I never heard it run or saw it move, but sat in it a lot.

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As painful as it is to watch, I think Chrysler is doing the responsible thing crushing these cars. First, we live in an incredibly litigious society, so it is only a matter of time before something bad happens and they get sued. A waver would only protect them if it was signed by the person injured (as opposed the their passenger). And remember, not only where these cars prototypes, they have been taken apart and put back together by students for a decade or more.

We should be looking at this a different way and praising Chrysler for putting the cars in these schools in the first place. Imagine how many car enthusiasts were created because of the exposure to these vehicles.

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GM built a limited number of 1983 Corvettes delivered to plants the made parts. Inland Plant in Dayton built the fiberglass rear spring and the rubber around the windows & doors. When they were finished with the cars, it was recommended to donate that car to the local joint vocational school. It didn't happen because of the potential libality should a car have an accident on the road. Additionally, the 1983 corvette was never certified for emissions, etc. The cars were all crushed. This is according to my next door neighboor who was the manager of R & D.

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The Chrysler Corporation isn't liable for any imagined lawsuit, because they did not donate the cars to the tech schools and colleges. The corporation that did no longer exists: Daimler-Chrysler. As a matter of fact, that entity seems to have been about 80% German anyway...with the dominant entity being the Daimler firm. The article said the Vipers were spun off about 10 years ago. I think Daimler-Chrysler was around roughly 1995-2008.

If you want to get worked up about possible future lawsuits, or whatever the MBA-types are worried about, what if someone sent them to the junkyard and a catalytic converter or something leaked fluid into the pristine Hackensack River? What if some of the 90 tow trucks sent to haul them to the junkyards got in accidents or made someone late for an appointment? Give me a break.

Every state must have ten museums with cars in them. I don't think it would take a technical genius to make them "non-ops" but still suitable for museum displays. I bet a lot of museums would jump at the chance, like the California Automobile Museum, the Tallahassee Antique Auto Museum or the Forney Transportation Museum.

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Sad as it may seem, Chrysler executives must put protecting the corporation first over the cars. As long as the cars are out there they expose themselves (and shareholders) to monetary risk. It makes perfect business sense to control potential liabilities because the lawsuits will be very real, and juries tend to reward based on need of plaintiffs and wealth of defendants rather than merit. The courts decide who is liable for what, so I can see how Chrysler must take a hard line on such matters. I tend to agree that the corp who provided the cars no longer exisits, but I can also see how the new corp could be at risk too. Until the car is smashed into a coffee table Chrysler management has reason to be concerned as anything that even remotely resembles a Viper, no matter how modified, is enough to put Ma Mopar on the hook in civil court. Disabling the cars is not enough to ensure no future liability.

On a lighter note, I am glad to see stand-up men are willing to take some risk to rescue the Corvette's in BG instead of just wimp out and write or accept a check.

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Reminds me of Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Locally dozens if not hundreds of brand new cars were crushed off dealer's lots with minor if any water damage. Company reps oversaw the slashing of interiors and the actual crushing. We used to buy raw materials from a local scrap metal yard. Harley Davidson produced a lot of suitable metal cut offs from their stamping and machining operations but the scrap dealer was not allowed to sell even one piece of scrap that came from Harley.

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My high school auto shop class had a blue/blue 1972 Malibu (IIRC) that GM had donated, lent? which had been a flood car from Agnes. Car had about 30 miles on it as I recall. I dont know what eventually happened to the car, one day it was gone. Agnes was a real flood.

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There seems to be a precedence that car companies are responsible for the cars they produced pre-bankruptcy. Chrysler is honoring the warranties for cars built before it when bust and GM is going to be recalling over a million cars that were made as the "Old GM".

The Chrysler Corporation isn't liable for any imagined lawsuit, because they did not donate the cars to the tech schools and colleges. The corporation that did no longer exists: Daimler-Chrysler.

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I think, generally speaking, you guys are reading into this way too much. The lawsuit & liability thing seems to be a non-issue in this case as Chrysler came out and said they have no information to support any of the rumors that there was joyriding, crashes, and so on. It pretty clearly states they are pulling the cars because they've reached the end of their useful lives for their originally intended purpose which was to educate, not over any sort of legal issue or anything else. I'm sure that titles were never transferred and that Chrysler retained ownership all along. Company mergers, acquisitions, and sell-offs don't change that. At the end of the day, the schools don't own the cars and can't make the decisions. It's sad they're being destroyed though, for sure.

Quick story...

In the late 1980s-mid 1990s I was in a similar situation with Yamaha (as they introduced 4 wheel atvs). I had many early Yamaha atvs in my possession over that time, including the VERY first Yamaha YFM-80 Moto 4, a several Yamaha Banshees (including a first year 1987 model), a first year Yamaha Blaster, first year Warrior, a Champ 100, a YZ-250 dirt bike (works racer), and so on. I rode them for 3&4 Wheel Action Magazine and later Dirt Wheels Magazine. They were reviewed, in photo shoots, etc. But the kicker was that Yamaha retained ownership of all of them. One day, after several years and seemingly out of the blue, I was contacted by Yamaha and told that the time had come to turn in all of the bikes. A deal was worked out to keep a couple of them, but everything else had to go back and was destroyed. I'm still sad about the YFM-80...that was my favorite one of the bunch and was just a little shaft drive 80cc machine with no clutch and no suspension (the Suzuki LT-80 was far superior). It was incredibly exciting to be riding 4 wheeled ATVs at a time when most people didn't even know they existed yet and were still riding 3 wheelers and dirt bikes. The only reason that Yamaha did it was because what I had on hand had become obsolete and they didn't want those products in circulation anymore and certainly didn't want them in magazines or photo shoots. My point is that this stuff is going on all the time. The models that I had were all press fleet & prototype models that are (arguably, I suppose) of some historical significance (they were the first 4 wheelers from Yamaha) and now they're gone. Sad that it's happening with early Vipers, but it's the way it goes in the business.

Edited by Scooter Guy (see edit history)

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You should know that this is standard operating procedure. Every car factory produces defective cars (nobody is perfect). Some can be fixed and sold, some are not worth the bother. If something big is wrong, it is easier to make a new one.

These defective cars are often donated to trade schools, the way cadavers get donated to medical schools. The cars are donated on condition that they never be registered or driven on the road. This is where the liability comes in, of releasing a potentially defective car to the public.

Now you know the policy, and why it became policy.

There are odd examples of this. One was a handful of brand new Firebirds that were donated straight off the assembly line, that had nothing the matter with them. It happened that the workers had a strike and the cars were stalled on the assembly line for several weeks while the strike was settled. During this period of time, one model year ended and the next began. The cars complied with last year's safety and emissions laws, but not the next year's. The plant manager and the lawyers debated the issue back and forth for a couple of months, whether the cars could legally be sold as last year's models when they were not completed that year. In the end, they decided the safest course was to scrap them or donate them to trade schools.

When the trade schools no longer want the cars, they must be scrapped and no (potentially defective or dangerous) parts allowed to be used. That is policy.

In this particular case, the standard policy seems foolish, and it should be possible to make an exception. But this decision must come from much higher on the management chart.

The guy who ordered the cars squashed is doing his job as ordered, and could get in serious trouble for over riding company policy. It is up to the higher ups to make a different decision.

But, from the standpoint of the president and CEO of a multi billion dollar corporation this is a very small matter of scrapping a few obsolete cars that cannot be sold and have no value.

Only a ground swell of adverse publicity could make this matter important enough to change his mind.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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I guess Chrysler, now fully owned by a foreign corporation Fiat, will do the same to the other brand they are majority owners in, Ferrari.

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