By on May 25, 2018

2017-dodge-viper-hero

We thought we’d be mourning the Viper for years before Dodge readied its return. Fortunately, that might not be the case. Fiat Chrysler has apparently green-lit the model’s return for 2020. But, with production ending in 2017 and FCA’s subsequent closure of Conner Avenue Assembly, it’s still a little difficult to believe any of this is real.

And yet, here we are.  (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2018

Mopar fans are among the most steadfast automotive enthusiasts in history. Their ability to openly express their love for post-war luxury, classic muscle, and turbocharged compacts from the 1980s remains unrivaled. While an advocate for General Motors or Ford can certainly appreciate disparate models within their chosen nameplate, Mopar enthusiasts frequently push the envelope of sanity — at least, that’s the stigma.

If you’re unfamiliar with the stereotype, log into any car forum and write that you’re considering swapping an LS motor into a Plymouth, Dodge, or Chrysler. Congratulations, you just made a dozen new enemies. On the flip side of that coin, owning a vintage Mopar can win you a lot of respect within the community. While not equal in terms of prestige, owning a Dodge Aspen wagon will still net you loads of brownie points with anyone driving a Coronet Super Bee Six Pack or Omni GLH-S. Hell, at this stage in the game you might even get a thumbs up for buying a Plymouth Reliant.

Unfortunately, Chrysler’s immediate future doesn’t look nearly as bright as its often dicey past. That’s especially true for Dodge. The Viper is dead, the Challenger can’t go on forever, and annual sales are less than half of what they were 10 years ago. But its fiercely loyal enthusiast community remains, and they’ll have an opportunity to purchase the final examples of what may end up being the brand’s two most illustrious models.  (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2018

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Wednesday that it will transform the former Detroit production site of the Dodge Viper into a haven for historic vehicles. Unfortunately, it also said the collection will not be open to the public — at least not right away. Conner Avenue Assembly produced its last Viper in August, as updated safety regulations made future manufacturing impossible. The future of the site looked bleak. While large enough to produce hand-built models of a low-volume supercar, the 400,000-square-foot facility would prove insufficient for much else.

Many expected FCA to shutter the building until it could be sold.

Fortunately, that will not be the case. As the company prepares the space for the future, it’s auctioning hundreds of mass-produced and one-of-a-kind pieces of Viper memorabilia to benefit the local United Way. Afterward, the factory will be renamed Conner Center and house a collection of 85 of the company’s nearly 400 historic vehicles — cars FCA says have remained scattered across various locations for far too long. Hopefully, it’ll eventually let the public enjoy them.  (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2017

last-viper

It’s a wrap on the Dodge Viper. FCA’s flagship supercar just rolled down the assembly line for the last time. In production from 1992 to 2010 and from 2013 through 2017, we’re hoping this is just another three-year hiatus for the snake. But, as production is ending indefinitely, we have no way of knowing if that will be the case.

What is assured is that the Viper’s current incarnation is over. Ralph Gilles, FCA’s head of design, posted a series of photos on social media documenting the vehicle’s last two production models as they made their way out of Detroit’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, the Dodge Viper’s home since 1995. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2017

2017 dodge viper gts

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is abandoning Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit, Michigan. The plant produced Dodge Vipers sporadically for over two decades, but low sales volume eventually led to FCA’s decision to remove the high-performing model from its lineup. In 2016, Dodge only sold 630 Vipers. A final, limited-edition 2017 run sold out in less than a week.

The two-seater doesn’t meet upcoming safety regulations due to its absence of side-curtain airbags. Rather than undergo a costly redesign, FCA chose to let nature take its course and placed the model in hospice care back in 2015. However, the future of the assembly plant and its employees were uncertain at the time.  (Read More…)

By on October 12, 2016

2017 Dodge Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC was inspired by the origi

The Dodge Viper’s plug is damn near pulled.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles steadfastly claims that 2017 is the final year for the Viper, and recently halted orders for the V10-powered road beast, The Detroit News reports.

However, this doesn’t mean the model has reached the end of the line. At least, not just yet. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2016

2016 Dodge Viper ACR

We know that Chrysler put its Viper operations up for grabs as the company — and country — spiraled into economic disaster back in 2008, but the date of the V10-powered sports car’s near-salvation at the hands of investors is hazy.

James Glickenhaus, the actor, economic adviser and small-batch supercar builder, told TTAC’s Ronnie Schreiber that a group of buyers almost saved the Viper and its Detroit assembly plant, but the deal fell through. Which is why the Viper is going away, right about….now.

But Glickenhaus left out a key detail of his recollection — the date. (Read More…)

By on August 4, 2016

Dodge Viper Conner Ave , Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that 2017 would be the last model year for the Viper, I suggested a wealthy collector, or perhaps a group of Viper dealers, could conceivably keep the V10-powered supercar alive.

It turns out that suggestion wasn’t too far from the mark.

According to James Glickenhaus, the former movie director, actor and financial professional who owns a significant collection of rare and unique collectible cars, a group of well-heeled enthusiasts attempted to buy Viper from FCA several years ago, but the group decided against the move after due diligence.
(Read More…)

By on July 2, 2016

2017 Dodge Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC was inspired by the origi

It’s a great day for an automaker when it can say it sold an entire year’s worth of vehicles in less than a week. Things get less impressive when it’s the final model year of a niche vehicle.

Still, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is putting on its bragging pants and grabbing the megaphone after it sold every special-edition version of the 2017 Dodge Viper in a matter of days. So great was the response, FCA plans to offer one last version of the 25-year-old nameplate. (Read More…)

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…)

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