Wait just a second here. Is this a two-seat convertible sports car, or is this a pickup truck? It’s both. This is the wildly creative Dodge Sidewinder, a one-of-a-kind concept vehicle from 1997.
The Sidewinder was based on an original sketch by the renowned stylist Mark Allen, who at the time was only two years out of school. Today he’s head of design at Jeep, Dodge’s sister division, with a number of award-winning Chrysler Group designs to his credit.
Built on a 112-inch racing chassis, the Sidewinder was powered by an 8.0-liter V10 engine borrowed from the Dodge Viper sports car and race-prepared to produce over 640 horsepower. But where the Viper was (and is) available only with a manual transmission, the Sidewinder was equipped with a specially beefed up four-speed automatic.
The giant wheels were a unique design machined specifically for the Sidewinder, 21 inches at the front and 22 at the rear, with super-wide 225/35R front and 305/35R rear rubber. The ABS-enabled brakes were equally enormous at 15 inches all around. Clearly, the Sidewinder was built for business as well as style: Top speed for the 2,700-pound speedster was 170 mph, while the zero-to-60 mph time was a mere 3.9 seconds.
The one-off body for the Sidewinder was hand-formed in steel. The exterior’s painted metal surfaces also swept through the dash and open-air cockpit, where their bold pearl orange drew a stunning contrast with the equally flamboyant purple interior fabrics. Subtle? Well, no. But then, the Sidewinder wasn’t designed to be.
The far-out roadster pickup debuted in Las Vegas at the 1997 SEMA show, the top annual convention for automotive performance industry insiders, where it made quite an impression, safe to say. In one recent feature, the Dodge Sidewinder was named one of the top concept vehicles in SEMA show history.