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SRT Boss Ralph Gilles Helps Build 2013 Viper


Ralph Gilles builds a Viper with Jim Lay and Tony Banks - image: Chrysler LLC

Ralph Gilles builds a Viper with Jim Lay and Tony Banks - image: Chrysler LLC

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If you needed more proof that Ralph Gilles, head of Chrysler’s SRT division, is a car-guy’s car guy, the above picture should go a long way towards settling the argument. Last Tuesday, Gilles joined the crew at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant to help build a 2013 Dodge Viper.

While most corporate heads would be less than comfortable wrenching on cars, let alone working on an assembly line, Gilles relishes time spent getting his hands dirty. When Doug Gouin, head of Viper production, invited Gilles to spend a day spinning wrenches with folks on the line, the brand leader embraced the opportunity.

While we’re not sure exactly how much work was handed off to their boss (aside from the specified torquing of bolts, verifying quality specifications and installing doors), we’d trust Gilles spinning wrenches on our own cars, and that says a lot.

Meet him in person, and you’ll quickly learn that he’s an eminently likable guy with a passion for (and an extensive knowledge of) all things automotive. He’s a talented driver, too, so when he talks about things like “lift throttle oversteer,” you can be sure it’s from first-hand experience.

We admire Gilles’ lead-by-example ethic, and only wish that there were more executives like him in the global automotive industry.
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