The Dodge Viper is a super car manufactured by Dodge (SRT for 2013 and 2014), a division of FCA US LLC from 1992 through 2017 having taken a brief hiatus from 2010-2013. Production of the two-seat sports car began at New Mack Assembly in 1988 and moved to Conner Avenue Assembly in October 1995. Although Chrysler considered ending production because of serious financial problems, on September 14, 2010, chief executive Sergio Marchionne announced and showed a new model of the Viper for 2012. In 2014, the Viper was named number 10 on the "Most American Cars" list, meaning 75% or more of its parts are manufactured in the U.S. The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 at Chrysler's Advanced Design Studios. In 2000 Chrysler had Lamborghini make an engine two liters bigger than the Diablo’s engine when Chrysler owned Lamborghini. It was also designed by the man who designed the Diablo. The original Viper was also designed by Lamborghini. The following February, Chrysler president Bob Lutz suggested to Tom Gale at Chrysler Design that the company should consider producing a modern Cobra, and a clay model was presented to Lutz a few months later. Produced in sheet metal by Metalcrafters, the car appeared as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in 1989. Public reaction was so enthusiastic that chief engineer Roy Sjoberg was directed to develop it as a standard production vehicle. Sjoberg selected 85 engineers to be "Team Viper", with development beginning in March 1989. The team asked the then-Chrysler subsidiary Lamborghini to cast a prototype aluminum block for the sports car to use in May. The production body was completed in the fall, with a chassis prototype running in December. Though a V8 engine was first used in the test mule, the V10, which the production car was meant to use, was ready in February 1990. Official approval from Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca came in May 1990. One year later, Carroll Shelby piloted a pre-production car as the pace vehicle in the Indianapolis 500 race. In November 1991, the car was released to reviewers with first retail shipments beginning in January 1992. The Dodge Viper has also been used in the world of professional drifting by drivers like Samuel Hubinette and Dean Kearney.
The Viper underwent a major redesign in 2002, courtesy of DaimlerChrysler's Street and Racing Technology group. The new Viper SRT-10, which replaced both the GTS and the RT/10, was heavily restyled with sharp, angled bodywork. The engine's displacement was increased to 8.3 L which, with other upgrades, increased output to 500 bhp and 525 lbft . Despite the power increases, engine weight was reduced to about 500 lb . The chassis was also improved, becoming more rigid and weighing approximately 80 lb less than the previous model. An even lighter and stronger chassis was planned, but was abandoned because of cost, and the initial model was a convertible. Unlike the original coupe, the chassis was not modified. This makes the coupe heavier than the convertible, and thus slightly slower to accelerate. Handling and high-speed performance are improved by the coupe's stiffer frame, reduced drag, and increased downforce. No 2007 model Vipers were produced; instead, Chrysler extended production of the 2006 model while preparing the updated 2008 model.
This excelptional low mileage example is as new having covered only 8900 miles. This generation of Viper is a much more refined car than the initial brutish examples that were a bear to drive and quite dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced driver. Still a truly Ameircan Roadster with awesome power and acceleration, an amazing exhaust note, and great handling.
These are truly the last of the great American Sports Cars, an Icon that will only appreciate as the years pass.