Up close and personal with the new SRT Viper

There’s a storm brewing over Chrysler’s corporate HQ in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and this time, it’s not metaphorical. As we duck into the executive parking lot, three proto-tornadoes are circling menacingly overhead, the air heavy with atmospheric rage. Moments later, all three touch down with a vengeance, ripping through the countryside and leaving a trail of destruction 16 kilometers long.

Strangely portentous, given that we’re here to see the rebirth of a specific brand of automotive rolling thunder. The latest iteration of Chrysler’s iconic Viper is lurking in this building, and TopGear will be the first people in the world apart from Chrysler top brass to see it. Turns out the high pressure round here isn’t just atmospheric. Security for this one-off reveal is presidentially tight.

Son of Viper has been developed by a tiny team in a section of the Pentastar HQ known affectionately as Area 51, and this shoot is the first time it’s been allowed out. Chrysler itself is still obviously twitchy about unofficial leakage before its official debut at the 2012 New York show, and the evening is punctuated by security alerts as tired senior execs try to access their car park to go home.