Spy photos of this one-only super-secret Viper replacement prototype. Code named X-14B the zippy 2-seater was disguised in police car trim for testing and evaluation on public roads. Preliminary specs are still under tight wraps. (Photos: Benito Benzino)
Mopar Action scoops ‘em all again! That was the line we already had typeset in anticipation of our doorbuster story—the first sneak peek at the Viper replacement. Mopar Action’s stringer in Italy, Benito Benzino was able to get a line on a secret prototype developed to give Dodge sports car supremacy in the U.S. Unlike American manufacturers that try to disguise body panels on their prototypes when proving them on public roads, the Italians came up with a much cleverer plan. They dressed their prototype 2-seater in police (Polizia) car trim . Pretty sneaky, if you ask us.
Benzino had a contact inside the police motor pool, and there was a very short window of opportunity to have access to this one-of-a-kind prototype for a quick drive report when it was in the shop for an oil change. Benzino couldn’t risk blowing his cover by getting behind the wheel himself. Here in the U.S. we had to scramble to get one of our people on a plane to Italy.
Tech editor Ehrenberg couldn’t go as he was in the middle of a 27-part how-to series on fixing a sticky ashtray. Editor Gromer couldn’t go as the trip would have interfered with his rigorous nap schedule. Everyone else was occupied by hand-correcting all the typos in the printed copies of the latest issue. That left…TheBruntBros. Niklaus and Wilhelm Bruntczynowski quickly packed their gear and charged off to the airport on the corporate 2-seater bicycle
Once in Italy, the Brunts spotted undercover agent Benzino—the only guy wearing a black trench coat, black shoes, black fedora and black sunglasses. He checked the duo into a local hotel where Nik and Bill placed the company 1934 Kodak box camera into the security vault and then proceed to empty the minibar. Benzino returned sometime later. “Look,” he said (through the Polish-Italian interpreter), “they’ll be changing the oil in an hour and a half. Then the mechanics go out on their lunch break. When they return, the police will arrive to pick up the car. You gotta work fast.”
“No problemo,” replied Nik, rummaging around the empty minibar.
For a change, everything went according to plan. TheBruntBros arrived at the designated time with camera, stopwatch and notebook in hand, and the coast was clear. Sliding behind the wheel, Nik eased the gazillion-euro prototype out of the shop and nailed it in First.
“Look out for the minvan,” Bill screamed.