Click above for high-res gallery of the Dodge Viper ACR

The Dodge Viper has been Chrysler's halo car since it was introduced back in 1992, but times are tough. Faced with the fact that it might not be able to continue making the brutish sports car, the Auburn Hills-based automaker is reportedly considering doing something that's never been done before by a domestic automaker (as for as we know): selling the Viper's future to a third party. Automotive News quotes Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli saying, "We have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities for Viper." Nardelli claims that whatever happens, his company will work to make sure the best interests of Viper fanboys are served and that Chrysler would continue to offer "operational and financial" support for the car if a transaction takes place. We're honestly a little stunned that Chrysler would consider such a drastic action, though if it means the Viper won't be sacrificed at the altar of economic woes, we're all for it. On the other hand, how does one separate Dodge from the Viper? Can you imagine Ford selling the Mustang to ROUSH or GM selling the Corvette to Lingenfelter? Chrysler has not identified any of the Viper's suitors, so rather than a familiar tuning house, it could also be a conglomerate of investors or another automaker. Is a Viper sold by another brand still a Viper?

Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2008 Dodge Viper ACR

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]