The SLS AMG is NOT Based on a Defunct Viper Project...
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."
About a week ago, a rumor started by Edmund's Inside Line spread out all over the internet like an erratic fungus on crack. So many so-called automotive journalists/bloggers jumped on the bandwagon and covered this story as if it was undeniably true, without so much as a single editor to verify the facts. In short, Inside Line claims to have found out that the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is actually based on a burried next-generation project for the Dodge Viper. Apparently, the project had been stolen by Daimler before the "de-merger".
Obviously, everyone assumed that since this information is coming from Edmund's itself - which is one of the most trusted auto-related publications on the internet – then they don't need to dig any further. It's like a higher power had given them all the facts and they weren't supposed to question any of it.
Apparently, this is how online automotive journalism works these days. If the original source for an article comes from a powerful entity like American Edmund's, Motor Trend, Car&Driver or European Autocar, Auto Express or even Auto, Motor&Sport, then the website/blog covering the story is exempted from adhering to regular journalism rules.
In other words, you can base entire so-called pieces of news on big fat lies and nobody will suspect anything. The added dose of credibility coming from heavy names is too much for anyone to question the truthfulness of the facts being stated.
The same thing happened with the aforementioned story from Edmund's Inside Line. Nobody even bothered to check an official source, or at least one which doesn't resemble a totally made-up piece of news. We try very hard not to be like that here at autoevolution, even though we're also far from being completely innocent in this matter.
So it happens I took the liberty of doing a small investigation into the matter, and the conclusion I arrived to was rather opposite to what some of you would probably expect. After having a small chat with each party involved in the rumor (Daimler AG and Chrysler, subsequently) I found out the following. First of all, it is true, the SLS AMG isn't a true Mercedes-Benz.
That is because it's an AMG, not a Dodge/Chrysler. The car was developed from scratch by AMG with the help of HWA, which some of you may know from the German DTM racing championship, while other hardcore fans might remember that HWA comes from Hans Werner Aufrecht. Yes, the "Aufrecht" in Aufrecht Melcher Grossaspach. It is their first ever semi-independent car project, and apparently Mercedes-Benz as an entity was even less involved with it than it had been with the SLR McLaren.
Second of all, common sense would tell any wannabe car journo that the Dodge Viper is a rather cheap supercar, if it can even be called that, for to the amount of performance it provides. The 271 kilograms (597 pounds) aluminium space frame body of the SLS AMG has manufacturing and research costs about three times those of the steel body/chassis of a regular Viper. Also, the double clutch transaxle setup of the transmission in the modern Flügeltüren doesn't come very cheap either, compared to a torque-resistant six-speed manual in a Viper.
How on Earth would someone go from a "shed-built" super sports car with a V10 that originally came from a truck and then build its next generation using space age technology? Oh, and keeping its more than reasonable price, I should add, because I don't think there are that many clients for a $250,000 Dodge, no matter how technologically-advanced it is.
In the end, all I want to do is congratulate all the automotive e-zines who didn't cover the aforementioned "The Krauts stole our Viper! Those basterds!" story. Apart from being unfounded and simply based on a hunch which probably arose from those early SLS with Viper body parts spy-shots, the rumor is also a bit stupid. Last, but not least, I really do hope that in the future, small automotive websites and blogs will actually begin to rival the real professionals, who so far are still working in print media only. There are more journalistic rules than just the "five Ws"...
comments written so far
I'm not suggesting the SLS has anything in common with or shares any lineage with, the Viper. But when you say less than informed things it dings your credibility to some degree.
I apologise, by "steel body" I actually meant chassis. In the SLS AMG the chassis includes the body (monocoque) and it's called an aluminium space frame. The Viper's chassis continues to use tubular steel, while what's left of the body (as in hoods, doors, etc.) is made from fiberglass panels - just like in pretty much any kit car that you can build in your backyard/garage.
As far as the truck engine affirmation goes, you have to be kidding. The V10's origins reside in the Chrysler LA engine family, and a version of it used to power the Ram. So yeah, it IS a truck engine that's been modified to deliver sportier credentials by using an aluminium block and heads with the help of Lamborghini engineers.
If you think that you know otherwise, please do share your insights.
"Cheap"not a "super car" etc. etc. Then he discusses the contruction of the "old Viper" as if this were the chassis that Chrylser had developed for the new Viper. Heads up! The new Viper had an entirely new chassis developed so the relevancy of his disparaging the old steel chassis does not exist.
If you want your words to be taken seriously please write from a better informed and neutral viewpoint.
First of all, you fail to comprehend the real point of the editorial above. To all the Viper/USA No 1/America f**k yeah! fans... no, this is not about Mercedes-Benz versus Dodge, SLS AMG versus Viper or Germany versus America. It's about how certain so-called online journalists are just copy-cat writers, without even a pinch of journalism integrity or ethics.
Second of all, if you can give me one single piece of evidence about the last generation Viper NOT using a reworked Chrysler LA engine or a steel tubular chassis, then I will retract everything I said about the car.
Keep in mind I never said the Viper is worse (or better) than the SLS AMG. This article is not about a comparison between the two.
you can't even comprehend the fact the Viper engine is NOT based on a truck block. The Viper engine has no correlation to the truck engine in anyway. Your lack of research skills along with your multiple failures to do your due diligence(read research) shows not only to your minimal jounalistic skills, but completely transparent hatred of the Viper.
And just for your own edification a "taste" of the background behind the Viper engine design coming from one who was involved from the begining:
"Lambo was very involved at the beginning. Since we did have an association with Lambo at the time we leveraged their aluminum engine expertise to help with the design and build of the early prototype engines see raticals note............"
Now get back to your homework young man...........................
As far as cheap ... I think that the $100,000 Dodge is the perfect price and would never buy a POS Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes for quadruple the price and so much slower. When I talked to my buddy and found out that his Ferrari (and most other "exotic junk") only got 9-13mph (Imp) I couldn't believe it. 15,000miles between $18,000 "tuneups"? Absolute Garbage. I really like my 920bhp Dodge Vipers (both of them).
I take it you all came from a Viper forum. :)
First of all I would suggest you re-read my two above comments, just so we can be clear about my so-called "Viper hatred" you mention. There isn't a single sentence from my part that would lead you to believe that I am against the Viper. In any way.
Second of all, by re-skimming through the very same comments and the article itself you can probably observe the fact that I mentioned Lamborghini's involvement in what essentially was a complete reworking of a truck engine. Of course the Viper V10 doesn't have any actual common parts with the old Chrysler LA engines, which weren't exactly friends with aluminium, but that doesn't mean its concept isn't based on them, more specifically on the 5.9-liter V8. These are facts, not just a figment of my "Viper hating" imagination guys.
Third of all, and for the last time, please, I beg of you, try to first acknowledge the actual subject of this editorial, and only then comment. This story is NOT about the Dodge Viper, NOR about the Mercedes SLS AMG, it's about bad automotive journalism on the internet and making up news when you don't have any sources.
About your mains subject I'ld say that this problem of not checking the information from BIG source isn't specific of car journalism, it's about any media in fact.
Worse, really important informations are often neglected to what will be more trandy in order to attact people for advertizing more than to really inform.
And about the viper, I am sorry it won in Lemans only because there was european, team and pilote to prepare and drive it and because porsche wasn't involved in competition.
One more thing that american "Supercars" makers, often forgot, and US "pilotes" too: cars also have to turn!
If i had to buy a "cheap" supercar i'ld have a look at nissan GTR better.
by the way how many can put Italy on the map??
by the way how many can put Italy on the map??
Now I understand... apparently very few people actually can BOTH read AND write.
Sad reading, the above litany of rants (and I do not mean the original article).
the story about Mercedes copying a viper is false and stays false. To tell the lie again and again just makes it bigger but not more true.
The discussion "Viper is a supercar" "no it isn't" "yes it is" is just embarrassing. Mostly for the Viper fans itself. Why? Because if you really believe this you wouldn't even think of answering such "false" statements.
As for the Viper not being a supercar, who again left the very rare, exclusive, with sole purpose as to be the "fastest" car in the world in its dust?
You're a blogger blasting another blogger's article. Grats, your point is now invalid.
Hope it helped.
You mean the double clutch developed for the CHRYSLER ME 4-12?
Why would AMG ever admit to using anything Chrysler developed?
Before this article I was in was doubting the Viper relationship because of my ignorance of the SLS. Once the Double clutch was mentioned, I instantly thought the Chrysler ME 4-12.
"The ME Four-Twelve's carbon fiber bodywork was designed to mate to a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque tub. Aluminum crush structures and chrome-moly sub-frames complete the ME Four-Twelve's rigid support structure, which complies with US federal impact regulations."
"The 7-speed Ricardo Double Clutch Transmission was developed specifically for this vehicle [ME 4-12] and features the latest double wet-clutch technology and electronic control strategy. The exclusive transmission delivers uninterrupted torque to the rear wheels with 200 millisecond shift times. The double wet-clutch technology appears to come from Chrysler."
"In simpler terms, the return on investment of this kind of research (such as the ME-412) is far more important that most realize!"