Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the current chairman of Ferrari and one of the key men responsible for turning the Italian sports car manufacturer into a global automotive powerhouse, was left “speechless” upon seeing the 2013 SRT Viper for the first time.

That little snippet of information was revealed by none other than Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne during an interview on the Paul W. Smith radio show.

“I had the chairman of Ferrari down here for the board meeting last week and he had a chance to look at the car, and he was speechless,” Marchionne said. “I mean for Ferrari to admit that the car is a unique vehicle is a hell of a compliment to the work that’s gone on here.”

Marchionne made the surprising revelation when questioned about production activities taking place at Chrysler facilities in the Detroit area. He said that production of the new 2013 SRT Viper had just commenced at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant and that so far things were doing well.

For someone like di Montezemolo, who is surrounded by some of the fastest and most desirable cars on the planet, to be left speechless after seeing the new Viper is testament to the hard efforts made by the car’s development team and the people that build it.

We’re sure its 8.4-liter V-10 engine, rated at 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque and billed as having the most torque of any naturally-aspirated sports car engine in the world, may have had a little to do with his initial impression.

Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo

Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo