With the unveiling of an anticipated 500-hp, Viper-challenging Corvette ZO6 at the Detroit show the worst kept secret in town, DaimlerChrysler is rushing to head ’em off at the pass. Unveiled at the Los Angeles show is the 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe. “Rushing” might be overstating things—we’ve anticipated this car ever since Dodge’s first concept car for the second-generation Viper, which was not the convertible, but a coupe. The open-top car debuted first, though. Why repeat the Viper Coupe? (Note that it’s not a “GTS” anymore, Dodge having dropped out of that class of competition, for now at least). Because the “Viper Nation” wants it, says Chrysler, citing requests from customers ever since the second-generation convertible came to market in 2003. Chrysler primed the pump a little more last fall when it gave Viper owners at a club meet in Texas an early peek at what was billed as a concept Viper Coupe (AW, Sept. 20, 2004). “There’s been a lot of demand for this car,” says Dan Knott, director of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) operation. “Racers, especially, prefer a coupe for structure and aerodynamics.” Front fascia and fenders, hood and doors are the same as those on the convertible. Design of the coupe started, says Chrysler design vice president Trevor Creed, with a mannequin wearing a helmet, and that drove the return of the “double bubble” roofline. From there back to the wraparound taillights, hidden from the airflow so effectively by the new rear quarter-panels that the company had to add a separate rear side-marker lamp, the car resembles the original Viper GTS in form, though the details differ. Mechanically, there are no surprises here, with the Viper line’s 500-cid V10 generating 500 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque providing the motivation. The company is claiming 0-60 mph in less than 4.0 seconds, and 0-100 mph in 12 seconds, aided by braking performance that brings everything to a halt from 60 mph in less than 100 feet, which is astounding in any car, let alone one that tips the scales at more than 3400 pounds. A Cd of 0.39 is more an asset to the braking side than it is to the acceleration component of that 0-to-100-to-0 performance—the aerodynamic work focuses on downforce and high-speed stability. When we saw the car previewed in early December, Creed said that wind tunnel work was “likely” to result in a more extended rear roofline line reaching farther back on the car, and an even more exaggerated ducktail rear spoiler than is seen in these photos. Note the deep cut line for the decklid back there, giving the new Coupe a low lift-over height for cargo. The move to a fixed roof also delivered expanded storage space: Still meager at 6.25 cubic feet, it is nonetheless a 4 cubic-foot improvement on the convertible’s trunk. Viper Coupe production should begin late this year.