By on June 21, 2016

Dodge Viper Snakeskin

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will offer five limited-edition versions of the 2017 Dodge Viper before it brings the axe down on the model.

Orders kick off on June 24 for the V10-powered performance beast, with FCA cranking out up to 217 units before it puts an end to the model’s 25-year run. The model bows out the same way it came in — brash, colorful, and obsessed with performance history. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2016

1994 Dodge Viper

As a classic car fanatic, I should be fundamentally opposed to the idea of the Dodge Viper. After all, the Viper was Chrysler’s attempt at co-opting the heritage of the Shelby Cobra. The later coupe was even worse in this respect, aping the legendary Cobra Daytona Coupes.

It’s blasphemous, I tell you. Imagine the uproar should Mazda, for example, try to recreate an MGB or Lotus Elan.

(Read More…)

By on January 14, 2016

2014 SRT Viper GTS

The reports of the Dodge Viper’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. If I can borrow a concept from William Goldman, it appears that the Viper is only mostly dead.*

Back in October, when the labor agreement between the United Auto Workers and FCA was hammered out, there was a flurry of reports stating the Dodge Viper was bound for death. That was based on a contract that indicated Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly, where the Dodge Viper is hand-built, had no products planned beyond the life cycle of the current Viper model.

At the time, I said that while the news didn’t bode well for Dodge’s V-10 supercar, the death of the Viper wasn’t certain. Now, at a press conference at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that “there is a possibility that a new version of the Viper may surface.” (Read More…)

By on October 19, 2015

monoIMG_0412_rIn the past few days there has been a flurry of posts about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ending production of the Dodge Viper in 2017 and closing the Conner Avenue Assembly facility where the v-10 powered sportscar is hand-built.

When I see a news story, I’ll try to seek out the original reporting and if possible, the original source material. Now that I’ve seen that source material, and asked Conner’s plant manager about the matter, I’m not convinced that the Viper’s demise is a certainty. Viper fans shouldn’t go hanging snakeskin* crepe just yet. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2015

94Viper2

Monday morning. Auction time. I have 116 vehicles in front of me and a 21-year-old supercar that’s making me think back to the days when truck engines in car bodies were still all the rage.

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2015

IMG_0295

I have a friend and colleague, for the purposes of this post we’ll name him Jack, that races cars and has an active social life with attractive women. It’s not likely that he’d be jealous of a decrepit grandfather like me, but indeed his envy was as green as his old Audi S5 when I recently got to tour the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant where FCA assembles the Viper.

That’s because Jack is an unabashed and unashamed fanboy of Dodge’s handbuilt V10 powered American supercar. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2015

IMG_0311

When Chrysler invited the media to an event at the Conner Avenue assembly plant where the Dodge Viper is put together in Detroit, it was rumored they’d use the occasion to reveal a 700+ horsepower Hellcat Version of Dodge’s sports car. After all, how could the Challenger and Charger have more powerful engines than the brand’s King of the Hill? Over at GM, even Cadillac’s V cars don’t have as much power as the Z06 Corvette.

It happens Dodge did reveal a new version of the Viper – but it isn’t a Hellcat. Instead, they introduced what they billed as “the fastest street legal Viper track car ever”, the all-new Viper ACR. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2015

Last month, Dodge announced the Viper GTC model. The “C” part of the name presumably stands for “custom” as paying the $10,000 premium over the base Viper give customers access to literally *millions of custom paint, interior trim, striping and wheel combinations. I’m tempted to say that truly custom, or as our British cousins like to say, bespoke, items can’t be ordered from a list, but the heart of what Dodge is promoting as the Viper 1 of 1 program is a color palette of 8,000 hand-sprayed exterior color paint options. I worked in an automotive paint research and development lab for more than 20 years. Eight thousand colors is a huge selection and one of the features of the 1 of 1 program is that once an exterior color is picked, that will be the only Viper painted that color for the model year, making it a true one of one collectible. Ironically, though, the rainbow colored Viper they used to promote the program at the Chicago Auto Show wasn’t actually painted. (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2014

2015 Dodge Viper SRTThis is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?”

The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow?

Over the span of a few days or weeks, the Chrysler Group wasn’t going to inject a barrel full of cash into R&D for a new Viper, perform stress tests, crash tests, performance tests, complete styling mock-ups, consult the Viper-owning faithful, and begin delivering cars to dealers.

But they could drop the price by $15,000, creating a base MSRP of $84,995. Suddenly for September, the Viper was priced like it was two decades ago, adjusted for inflation.

Suddenly, U.S. sales rose to the highest level the Viper has seen since January 2009, when 127 were sold, a follow-up to the Viper’s 152-unit December 2008 performance. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2014

2014 SRT Viper GTSThe raw, wonderfully American, V10-engined Viper is now in its fourth generation and will likely find more buyers in 2014 than at any time in the last six years.

U.S. sales results have been extremely disappointing, however, as this revamped model has failed to attract a meaningful number of buyers in comparison with the relatively recent past.

And in comparison with just about all other vehicles, sports cars or not. (Read More…)

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