Dodge Viper SRT-10 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Way back in 1987, Chrysler bought up a troubled Lamborghini, and within two years put it to work developing a V10 engine program that would eventually give birth to both the Dodge Viper and the Lamborghini Gallardo – two of the first ten-cylinder engines on the modern market. Two decades later, the tables have turned: instead of buying up struggling Italian automakers, it's Chrysler that's troubled and the Italians are coming to the rescue. And now reports suggest that the replacement for the Viper's V10 could be derived from Ferrari's next-generation engine program.

Chrysler's original plan was to sell of the Viper business, but since no serious offers came through, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is reportedly keen on taking advantage of the sportscar's standing as the company's halo vehicle. But rather than have Chrysler shoulder the entire burden of developing the next-generation Viper, the engine program could be derived from the same modular powerplant that will propel upcoming Ferraris and Maseratis.

Ferrari has essentially had four engine designs in its history: the Colombo design was in use from the company's beginnings all the way through the '90s. The Lampredi engine was used on a handful of vehicles in the 50's before being phased out. The Dino engine spawned V6, V8 and V12 versions and was in use until just a few years ago, while the current Ferrari/Maserati engine powers everything in the both companies' current ranges as well as the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Its 90-degree replacement will likewise offer variable configurations: a flat-plane crank V8 for Ferrari, a cross-plane crank for Maserati and a pushrod V10 for the Viper.

[Source: Car and Driver]