Here’s a highly popular Dodge concept vehicle from the 1990s: the 1994 Dodge Venom. With its advanced styling, the Venom was a big hit with car enthusiasts, touring the international auto show circuit for several years. That’s a rare accomplishment in the world of exotic, one-off concept cars, where “fresh” might only last for a couple of weeks — but the Venom pulled it off.
Designed to showcase Dodge’s innovative Cab-Forward design architecture (first used on the Intrepid sedan) in a two-seat sports car package, the Venom was constructed on a highly modified Neon platform. The wheelbase was stretched slightly, from 104 to 106 inches, and converted from front- to rear-wheel drive, with an ergonomic two-place cockpit nestled in the center of the chassis.
Construction was unitized and all steel, with a delicate cantilever roofline that’s still quite striking today. In the aggressive grille openings and flank vents, there was more than a hint of Viper, and the engineering was equally bold. For maximum grip, wheels and tires were massive for a car of this size at the time: P245/45R19 at the front and P245/R4520 at the rear.
A 3.5-liter, overhead-cam, 24-valve V6, based on the Intrepid’s production engine, was specially tuned to produce 260 horsepower, which it transmitted to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Suspension was independent at all four corners via double wishbones, coil springs and gas shocks, while the brakes were four-wheel discs with electronic ABS.
Optimized for performance on a road or race course, the Venom boasted a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds, among its many other feats. The existing photography for the Venom shows the car being put through its paces on a twisty mountain road; miles from civilization (see the photo above.) We bet the crew had fun that day!