Chrysler orders college to destroy rare pre-production Dodge Viper

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If you like fast cars this story might make you cry.

Chrysler has ordered South Puget Sound Community College in Washington to destroy a pristine $250,000 1992 pre-production Dodge Viper the company donated to the school in 1992.

The car – the fourth off the assembly line – was one of several  educational Vipers donated by Chrysler to automotive schools nationwide, according to

Automotive Technology Professor Norm Chapman said he received a letter from Chrysler notifying him the car must be destroyed. Chapman said he was unsure why Chrysler ordered the destruction, but said two other educational Vipers were involved in crashes while operating illegally outside the classroom, and he thinks the company may be responding to possible litigation.

Jay Leno even tried to buy the car in the 1990′s, but Chrysler refused to sell it to him, saying it was for educational purposes. It’s never even been on the road, Chapman said.

“Maybe it will get a pardon from the Governor like those turkeys over Thanksgiving,” Chapman said, chuckling.

Read more about the car, including how few miles it has, at


  • KennethScarbrough

    If Chrysler Donated the car and wroe off the value as a donation on federal income tax returnts. They then have given up the ability to have any say i the use of the car especially after twenty years.If it was a dollar bill the cannot go in twenty years late and tell them how to spend it. Onceyou nate something you give up the right of control.

    • Kenneth Scarbrough

      if Chrysler Donated the car and wrote off the value as a donation on federal income tax returns. They then have given up the ability to have any say in the use of the car especially after twenty years. If it was a dollar bill they cannot go in twenty years later and tell them how to spend it. Once you donate something you give up the right of control.

      • Brandon Moon

        That actually depends on the terms of the donation. Often a company such as Chrysler will have very specific stipulations regarding donations and how they may be used.

    • Art Donahoe CGS '71, SED '77

      Absolutely right. It’s not Chrysler’s car; they can’t “order” shit.

    • wes

      You sir, need to learn to spell and type correctly. It’s not hard or complicated. You just look at what you have typed after you are finished and then bam you dont have “and wroe off” “income tax returnts.” or lastly “Onceyou nate something you give up the right of control.” go back to school man, because you shouldn’t be talking about legal matters like you are an expert when you clearly cannot even spell or form complete or correct sentences.

      • Anthony Hall

        Few things are more irritating than spelling and grammar nazi’s attempting to claim some kind of intellectual high ground by arrogantly picking at another person’s post.

        We can all do it. For example, your last sentence reads: ” go back to school man, because you shouldn’t be talking about legal matters like you are an expert when you clearly cannot even spell or form complete or correct sentences.”

        To begin with, your sentence did not begin with a capital letter. Secondly, the latter half of the sentence would read better as, “- when you clearly cannot spell or form complete, correct sentences.”

        It’s no harder to be a spelling and grammar nazi than it is to check your posts before you upload them.

        Go back to school and whilst you are there see if they have any courses on good manners. You clearly need to attend one.

      • Kenneth Scarbrough

        Wes, if you read the second post it is a correction, I am sorry I am not perfect and was not allowed a chance to edit it. I am experienceing a problem with my keyboard. You however need to focus on the direction of the subject of the post and quit being so nit picky

      • Sherry

        I finally figured out what is going on with people who are writing terribly spelled, grammatically incorrect comments. They are using their cell phones and speaking into their phone, then clicking send without carefully going over the text. Have you ever been to the website dam n you auto correct dot com? Oh my gosh, it is so hysterically funny that I suggest you use the bathroom before reading the texts, because they are so hysterically funny. Anyway, I don’t think people are typing these weirdly spelled comments into a computer, but are using their cell phone and probably can’t see the text on their mini screen.

    • Jameson

      Actually, that’s somewhat false. They can give conditions at the time of donation and the school is obligated to adhere to those conditions. The same goes with money to an educational facility; the donator can request that it be used to only give kids with orange skin and purple hair a scholarship or to fix the windows in the underground warehouse facility, only. The school will be required to follow that contract.

      The question now is, do the terms of the donation allow for the request of destruction. If it goes to court, the question will really come down to whether or not the school still actively uses the vehicle for educational purposes.

    • mordikar

      In that case Chrysler shouldn’t be getting sued by money grubbing petty individuals or other entities, for persons being killed or injured in a vehicle that they no longer have any rights or ownership too. The school wants to get a car for free, pawn all the law suits off on Chrysler for a car they have misused outside the donation agreement. You can’t have it both ways … “Oh you have no rights to the car, you gave it to me … um but you’re responsible if anything bad happens cause i don’t want to have to pay for or be responsible for anything” is part of what’s wrong with our country.

      It’s the schools car, If someone got hurt or killed sue the school….

    • Meonthissite

      I doubt very much that they just donated it. If it’s like the early EV cars (which were all leases) they kept control I’m sure to prevent future dealings or prevent giving up control of the car entirely. They have an army of lawyers these places and often the public is the one that pays the price for these contracts not the company.

  • james robinson

    I agree. It is now the school’s property (and has been for over 20 years).

    Chrysler has no authorization to order anything with regards to this fine vehicle. So, just throw the mail away. There is nothing Chrysler can do about it. However, from a liability issue, since they have been notified by the manufacturer, they need to ensure the car is never driven on road, other than that, it’s their’s to keep and use as a training vehicle.

    • Tim Cooper

      I agree. Chrysler has absolutely no authority of ownership of the car and has no right to demand it’s demise. It is the asset and liability of the school that it was donated to and it is the schools choice on what to do with it’s property. Chrysler shames themselves in the demand to destroy the car.

  • Mitch

    Disable the vehicle and school should assume complete liability.
    This should please the lawyers for Chrysler while putting the school on notice.
    Destroying rare pieces sounds like something out of the Dark Ages.

  • Steve Younes

    You are all idiots…. I didn’t read the story but from the headline it is as it implies PRE PRODUCTION. The car can not be legally driven, they have to either destroy or dismantle the car per the government so stop your belly aching or write a letter.

    • Gerald

      Wrong. Legally any donation whether pre-production or production all legal rights to the item are surrendered. Chrysler has no say unless it was a clause that the vehicle must be returned at any time of request.

    • George Soulier

      You are an idiot, the law states any donations a write off, and thus, they give up all writes to the vehicle. Unless there was a clause written in at the time of the donation,

  • Xtlman

    Am thinking Chrysler can send them a check for the value of the car, plus any additional expenses incurred since it was in their possession BEFORE they even contemplate destroying it. Better yet tell Chrysler to take a flying leap……..

    • mordikar

      then chrysler should tell all these people suing them because they got hurt joy riding in a pre-production car that wasn’t supposed to be on the streets to begin with to “go take a flying leap”… and then point them and their lawyers back to the school.

  • Mike Gillespie

    Yup… It’s a pre-production car. Probably doesn’t have a VIN# So It can’t be purchased. Here’s an Idea for the school…Destroy it by completely disassembling it. Then rebuild it. I assume that’s what they’re trying to teach anyway. Destroying can be interpreted in several ways.

    • Ryan

      That’s not true at all. You can buy, sell, donate, and otherwise accept cars without VIN numbers. You cannot register a car that has no VIN number and consequently cannot legally drive them on public roads. You can trailor it to any race track you like and as long as it passes safety you can driver there. Or your driveway. Or your neighbors driveway. Or the field behind your house. As long as you trailor it over public roads.

      All that said: it’s entirely possible to have a VIN issued to you by the DMV for a pre-production car or any other car which does not have a VIN (a kit car or 100% custom job). Thoguh it’s not easy to do.

  • Cindy McCombs

    My Brother-in-Law was a member of the VIPER TEAM he helped design this car it was the most prestigue honor he ever received and was so proud to be a member of the VIPER TEAM. He passed away in 1998 but to this day his sons are proud of their Dad for all he did when he worked at getting this car off the ground. So proud of you John Louis Gorton

  • Michael

    The car was never officially, legally “donated”. Chrysler essentially kept the car at the school. So Chrysler still owns the car and therefore can do whatever they want with it. Think of how museums are in possession of many pieces of art that they do not legally own, but rather are on loan.

    The car does have a VIN and it is No. 004. There are a total of 93 of these cars being destroyed. They did not have speed limiters on them or proper emission control systems. Two of the cars were involved in accidents and so due to liability issues Chrysler is obligated to destroy the cars. And not disassemble but destroy and crush.

    There is a petition going around to try to save this particular one, but it doesn’t look like it’s likely one to be saved.

    • Erik M


      There is no legal reason the car cannot be donated to the school to release itself from liability. Alternatively, the car can be disassembled and sold for spare parts or as a kit. Speed limiters and emission control systems can be retrofitted. This is a stupid, thoughtless act on the part of Chrysler, er.. I mean Fiat.

      • Willy Maykit

        Er..thanks Perry.
        Hundreds of people were involved in this decision, from CEO’s to engineers to lawyers.
        You can bet, NOBODY wants to crush the car.
        And you can thank a Lib for the “No personal responsibility” mentality that has destroyed our legal system and led to this absurdity.

  • Ted Bart

    We can thank lawyers for this insane situation just like somay other things that fail the common sense test!!!

  • Robert Boldt

    It could be donated to the Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. There it could go on display for people to see and admire and never go on the open road.

    • MaryJaneBoldt

      Right Rober, they should have gone to The Henry Ford, to find out if this car would be accepted.. There are so many beautiful cars there, and this one would have made a great addition to their Driving America display…

    • Willy Maykit

      Comprehension clearly isn’t your strong point.
      They want the car destroyed..IE: Unable to be driven….so nobody gets killed in it and sues them.

  • Butt Krakk (@buttkrakk)

    If I were at all involved in this in any way, that car would be accidentally and maliciously stolen (yes, that was the joke) this weekend. It would resurface many years later in a museum or public collection.

  • First305

    I’m sticking with Chrysler on this one .. take a car that doesn’t belong to you for a joy ride .. then sue the company that in good faith gives you cars to work on .. oh mommy .. it hurts I got my hands caught in the cookie jar .. stupid gearheads .. ruin it for everyone .. if I were Chrysler I’d come and personally collect the cars and destroy them to make sure no other dumbasses were out there trying to use their parts to have yet another wreck and lawsuit.

  • Josh Meckel

    This is sick. There needs to be laws against this sort of injustice! Too many incredible cars have been destroyed in the past. If corporations can be people then cars should too!

Comments are closed.