Performance vehicles are a Chrysler tradition. In the 1950s, an elite team of Chrysler engineers set out to extract extreme amounts of power from existing engines. The team crafted new intake manifolds featuring long-tube intake runners. The innovative design helped engines ingest more air, translating into improved performance. The new induction system was called “Ramcharger,” and the team behind the technology adopted that name. The Ramchargers’ new engines produced enormous amounts of power, leading to success on the drag strip during the 1960s and 1970s.
Fast forward to the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Dodge amazed crowds with its sleek Viper concept car. The project, initiated by then-company president Bob Lutz and Carroll Shelby, was described as the successor to the AC Cobra. Penned by Tom Gale, its simplistic yet muscular shape paired with a merciless 8-liter V-10 instantly thrust the Viper into the spotlight. People raved. The Viper was approved for production just weeks later.<
With the dawn of the V-10 powered supercar emerged a group of devoted engineers. Team Viper worked to hone the supercar for the street and racing, which would lead to endurance race victories in the late 1990s.
Meanwhile, a separate, dedicated team completed work on the 1993 Plymouth Prowler concept car. When the first Prowler rolled off the assembly line four years later, Chrysler integrated the two specialty groups into a single entity: Special Vehicle Engineering. At last, Chrysler’s elite teams worked together under a single roof to create eye-catching niche vehicles.
In 2002, Chrysler made an announcement that would forever change the enthusiast landscape. Lead engineer John Fernandez and Viper guru Herb Helbig took to the auto show stage to announce the creation of Performance Vehicle Operations. The newly formed group leveraged existing resources to improve Chrysler’s high-performance focus. PVO celebrated by unveiling the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT10, flanked on the show floor by the Dodge Neon SRT4 concept and Viper SRT10.
All PVO creations wore Street and Racing Technology badge. In 2004, Chrysler internally renamed the development team “SRT”.
Five key benchmarks must be met before a vehicle can wear the SRT badge. Awe-inspiring powertrain, outstanding ride, handling and capability, benchmark braking, an aggressive and functional exterior and a race-inspired and high-performance interior are the hallmarks of an SRT vehicle.
Since SRT’s inception, ten vehicles have earned the SRT badge.
With the help of a dedicated fan base and uncompromising engineers, SRT looks forward to a future of class-leading performance vehicles.