This year may be the end for the Dodge Viper, an icon among American sports cars, and they’ve decided to go out with style. Last year Chrysler confirmed that the line was in danger of termination, and this year, with the help of Fiat, they wanted to mark the end of the series with a number of special encore models. Several faithful Viper customers took advantage of this last chance opportunity to create their own custom Vipers.

The Last Viper Off the Floor

On July 1st the last of the Dodge Viper series, a 2010 Viper SRT10 Coupe, rolled off the Connor Avenue assembly line in Detroit. This extremely customized and historic Viper boasted a House of Kolor gold paint job with copper racing stripes, aluminum five spoke wheels painted in dark gunmetal graphite, and bronze leather interior with gold trim.


History

Conceived in 1988 at Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studios, the Viper is Dodge’s take on the classic American sports car. The original conceptually designed clay models were presented to Chrysler president Bob Lutz, where the design was approved, and the design team proceeded to bring the Viper from the Shortly thereafter the first sheet metal prototype was made and showcased at the 1989 North American International Auto Show to gauge customers reactions to the proposed Viper design. It was a resounding success, and the design was developed as the proposed standard for the production Viper vehicle.

In 1990 the design team received final approval from the Chrysler chairman to proceed with finalizations on Dodge Viper production. In 1991 the Viper debuted to reviewers and two pre-production models raced in the Indianapolis 500 as pace cars to showcase the new line.

The first generation production line ran from 1992-1995 with a 2-door roadster body style, a 7.998 liter V10 engine with 400 bhp, 6-speed manual transmission, 96.2 inch wheelbase, and weighed in at 3,284 pounds. This generation completed the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds with maximum speeds of over 189 mph, and the tires made its close to corners rate among the highest of its sports car class.

Second generation (1996-2002) added few upgrades and changes. This generation had two available body styles (the 2-door roadster and 2-door coupe), the 7.998 liter engine ranged from 415-450 bhp depending on the model year, and Dodge added dual front airbags and anti-lock brakes as a safety features. The roof above each seat was slightly raised to give occupants the option of wearing helmets, since this generation was often used in drag and road racing.

Third generation Vipers (2003-2006) changed the engine to an 8.3 liter V10 with the horsepower ranging from 500-535 depending on the model year, the transmission was upgraded to a T56 Tremec 6-speed manual design, the wheelbase was upped to 98.8 inches, and weighed 3,380 pounds. . In addition to the mechanical changes, Dodge gave this series a serious facelift, redesigning the body to give it a more angular and sharp look.

Fourth generation (2008-2010) upped their horsepower to 600 bhp, added a TR6060 6-speed transmission, and the base model weighed 3,460 pounds. The major change in this generation was that the engine heads were redesigned to improve head air flow and overall power.

A Possible Future Generation

Chrysler says that although the current Viper has dissipated, that they are working under new management to design a new Viper. If this is approved for production, it is possible that the Viper could return, with a whole new look and feel, by 2012. We will just have to wait and see how things go until then.