The Dodge Viper has always been an eyecatching, muscle-bound, brutish supercar. For those reasons, it became an iconic poster car for many. At the heart of the Viper was V10 that delivered power so fast that many professional drivers considered the car borderline unruly. No matter. People loved the limited production halo car from Dodge. But, did you know that the V10 heart of the monster was also used in a motorcycle?
What is this Viper powered thing?
Flashback to the 2003 North American International Auto Show. There were a few hits and a few misses throughout the festivities, as with any good auto show. But then, Dodge brought the Tomahawk out on stage. There was a collective gasp from everyone present at the appearance of the Tomahawk. People had to reach down to pick back up their jaws. Dodge had gone into new territory. The company had not only introduced a motorcycle, but the machine also had a Viper V10 at its heart.
The specs were never verified, but at the time the claims were wild! Allegedly, the Viper 8.3-liter V10 could push the motorcycle to achieve anywhere from 300 mph to as much as 420 mph… depending on who was talking. In either case, that performance came from a menacing shape on the show floor. A huge, imposing shape that wasn’t rolled or driven on stage. Instead, it was ridden on stage.
There were two catches to the Dodge Tomahawk
The Dodge Tomahawk was not street legal. It was made to be a rolling sculpture with sweet styling and a testament to extreme engineering. And it certainly was that.
The other catch was that the Tomahawk was also not a motorcycle. Yes, it was ridden on stage like one, but it had two front wheels and two more in the back. Each of the 20-inch wheels was connected to an independent suspension. But, it was a Viper based, four-wheeled, single-rider vehicle.
The Tomahawk certainly looked like a motorcycle, mostly because it was wide. The width of the frame had to be suitable to support the wide V10 engine. Overall though, the Tomahawk was not wider than the engine, and the wheels and tires were exposed at all four corners.
According to Allpar, company officials toyed with the idea of building the Dodge Tomahawk. However, the motorcycle would have to undergo the safety testing for an automobile since it had four wheels. So, it is speculated that this restriction along with possible liability concerns, canned the whole production gumption.
The Viper motorcycle has rarely been seen
The Viper powered motorcycle might have been considered a car by a technicality. However, most everybody still recalls it as a motorcycle. Regardless, it was an artwork masterpiece that has rarely been seen since. It is probably in a museum somewhere awaiting its 20-year appearance, which is not that far off. Then again, with Dodge’s proclivity to stuff a Hellcat in everything, maybe the Tomahawk will come back as a HellHawk. I’m sure the Dodge Brothers would approve.