OLYMPIA, Wash. - South Puget Sound Community College has a rare piece of automotive history, and they have to destroy it - not sell it, crush it.
The car is a 1992 Dodge Viper, a pre-production model with a vehicle identification number of 4. It was donated to Shoreline Community College in the 1990s to be used as an educational tool. That school gave it to South Puget Sound in 2007. It’s a muscle car worth $250,000.
“It’s a sweet piece of machinery,” said automotive technology professor Norm Chapman.
The car is not street legal, it can’t be licensed and was never made to be sold, only donated and used in an automotive school.
Chapman said the college got a letter from Chrysler on Mar. 4 saying that in keeping with the agreement to accept donated cars, the school must now destroy the Viper by crushing it and carefully document the procedure to ensure it is in fact, destroyed.
Chapman said Chrysler, owned by Fiat, is concerned because other donated Vipers have wound up on the road and that makes the company liable in case of a crash.
“And I can understand the parent corporation of Chrysler as well as Chrysler corporation, we need to get this off the market because if it got stolen there would be liability concerns,” said Chapman.
Students at SPSCC are less understanding.
“I mean when I heard the news Tuesday it crushed me, it really did”, said Cierra Thomas.
Students have taken to social media hoping to save the Viper, hoping someone will step in and preserve the historic car.
“If we don’t get to keep it we’d at least like to see it in a museum”, said Tom Sully. “We don’t want to see it crushed.”
If that doesn’t work, SPSCC officials said they will honor the agreement and destroy the Viper. If and when that day comes, Chapman said he won’t be there.
“I can’t”, said Chapman. “It’s like taking the family pet and destroying it in front of the kids.”