Concept vehicles don’t get much crazier than the Dodge Tomahawk, a four-wheel “motorcycle” powered by an 8.3-liter V-10 engine from a Dodge Viper. The Dodge Tomahawk’s top speed was estimated at 420 mph, but no one was ever foolish enough to try it out. If someone had tried it, it could have been the fastest motorcycle in the world. Only one was built by Dodge, but nine others were built by Neiman Marcus and sold for $550,000 each!
In 2003, Dodge unveiled the wildest concept vehicle ever in the form of the Dodge Tomahawk. Powered by the Dodge Viper’s 8.3-liter V-10 engine, it was conceived by Chrysler Group employees Bob Schroeder and Dave Chyz.
It was unveiled at the 2003 North American International Auto Show as a one-off concept vehicle and received huge publicity for the Chrysler Group, but it was never intended for production, although Nieman Marcus built nine replicas for sale. There’s a lot more to this concept vehicle, though, and here are 10 facts about the Dodge Tomahawk you need to know.
No one can decide if it’s a car or a motorcycle
The Dodge Tomahawk has a car engine and four wheels mounted close together front and rear, but no one can decide whether it’s a motorcycle or a car. Each wheel has independent suspension and the vehicle can lean into corners while keeping both wheels on the ground and allowing counter-steering, which is essential to help a motorcycle turn. It is ‘ridden’ like a motorcycle, with steering being carried out by means of handlebars and footrests.
It was not legal on the road
Because the Dodge Tomahawk was a concept vehicle, it did not pass the type-approval tests necessary to make it road legal and did not meet road use regulations. This was a pure engineering and marketing exercise by Dodge.
Dodge claimed top speed was 420 mph
The Dodge Tomahawk’s top speed was a hypothetical estimate, given the power of the Dodge Viper engine. The Dodge engineer said, “If a 3,400-pound Dodge Viper goes 190, this easily goes 400.” Later, the automaker revised the Dodge Tomahawk’s estimated top speed to 300 mph, based on the vehicle’s acceleration. This would have comfortably made it the fastest bike in the world.
It was only produced for four years
While Dodge produced only one concept vehicle, Neiman Marcus produced nine replicas between 2003 and 2006, each costing $550,000.
No one has ever published a road test of the Dodge Tomahawk
Because it was a concept bike and not road legal – even the replicas built by Nieman Marcus – no publication ever got their hands on a Dodge Tomahawk for a road test. Because of this, we’ll never know what the top speed might be or even if it’s practical as a vehicle.
Dodge built the Tomahawk for a specific reason
Though purely a concept and never intended for production, Dodge built the Tomahawk to showcase its engineering and engineering prowess. Calling it a ‘rolling sculpture’, it was designed to arouse media interest and show that the Chrysler Group was ambitious and daring, willing to take risks and think outside the box.
The V-10 engine was unveiled in 1992
The first generation V-10 engine, as fitted to the Viper new from 1992, had a displacement of 7,990 cc and produced 400 horses. Power was increased to 450 hp for the second generation. The third generation of the engine – the one mounted on the Tomahawk – displaced 8,285 cc and produced 510 horses.
The technique was pretty wild
Fitting a V-10 engine into a motorcycle concept was not easy. To keep the bike low, the engine was changed from wet sump to dry sump lubrication, with the oil tank mounted remotely at the front of the bike. The cooling radiators were placed in the ‘V’ of the engine and air was forced through them by a belt-driven fan from a Porsche 911.
The four wheels were mounted on the separate front and rear swing arms – outboard at the front and inboard at the rear – and used a steering hub in the center of the front wheels. The suspension still allowed the bike to lean into corners while keeping all four wheels on the ground. The rim-mounted disc brake discs were used at the front and rear, with both front wheels having a disc and only one wheel at the rear.
The rear suspension can be locked when the bike is upright, allowing the Tomahawk to stand on its own, without the need for a side stand.
The chassis components are machined from billet aluminum
The main chassis components started out as two 750lb aluminum billets that were machined down to just 25lbs each!
Press reaction to the Dodge Tomahawk was critical
At first, the press didn’t know what to think of the Tomahawk, and one critic called it “one of Chrysler’s craziest concepts.” Others criticized Dodge for ignoring engine design rules and failing to decide whether the Tomahawk was a sports bike or a cruiser. While the Tomahawk “wasn’t designed to be taken seriously,” critics said the only reason Dodge built the Tomahawk was the “pure outrage of exercise,” and that it was “so decidedly bad that bits of V-Max were in it.” his chair!’
Q: How much does a Dodge Tomahawk cost?
The Dodge Tomahawk was never produced for sale, as it is an off-road legal concept. However, Neiman Marcus built nine replicas and sold them for $550,000 each.
Q: Why is the Dodge Tomahawk not road legal?
Because it was a concept, Dodge never applied for type approval for the Tomahawk, which meant it couldn’t be road legal.
Q: How big is the Dodge Tomahawk’s engine?
The Dodge Tomahawk is powered by an 8.3-liter V-10 engine from a Dodge Viper. It produces 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque.
Q: Is the Dodge Tomahawk a real bike?
No one can agree on whether the Dodge Tomahawk is a motorcycle or a car. It has four wheels mounted very close to each other front and rear. The ‘rider’ sits on it and controls it via handlebars and footrests like on a motorcycle.
Q: What is the top speed of the Dodge Tomahawk?
When it launched, Dodge claimed a top speed of 420 miles per hour, but later reduced that claim to 300 miles per hour. Neither figure has ever been proven.
Q: How much does a Dodge Tomahawk cost?
The Dodge Tomahawk was just a concept and never went on sale. However, Texas-based group Neiman Marcus produced nine replicas of the Tomahawk and sold them for $550,000 each.