Dodge Viper


Dodge Viper
Dodge Viper
Dodge Viper GTS
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation (1992–1998)
DaimlerChrysler (1998–2006)
Chrysler LLC/Chrysler Group LLC (2008–2010, 2012–)
Production 1991–2010, 2012–
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, United States
Class Sports car
Layout Front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 7.998 L (488.1 cu in) – 8.4 L (510 cu in) V10
Transmission 6-speed manual
Designer Tom Gale

The Dodge Viper is one of the first V10-powered cars in the world, made by the Dodge division of Chrysler. Production of the two seat sports car began at New Mack Assembly in 1991 and moved to its current home at Conner Avenue Assembly in October 1995. The car, and numerous variations, has made many appearances in TV shows, video games, movies, and music videos. Although Chrysler considered ending production because of financial problems,[1][2] chief executive Sergio Marchionne announced and showed on September 14, 2010 a redesign of the Viper for 2012.[3]

Contents

Development

The Viper was conceived as a historical take on the classic American sports car. The iconic AC Cobra was a source of inspiration, and the final version of the Viper bears this out with its powerful engine, minimalist straightforward design, muscular and aggressive styling, and high performances. Some saw claims to kinship with the Cobra as a marketing exercise, ignoring that Carroll Shelby was heavily involved in the initial design of the Viper, and subsequent design of the Viper GTS coupe. Notably, the later (1996 through 2002) Viper GTS coupe took a few design cues from the Pete Brock designed Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. Though the proportions seem similar at first glance, the designs are quite unique. Carroll Shelby was key in the development of the RT/10 as well as having a hand in the development of the GTS (Viper Coupe) model.

The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 at Chrysler's Advanced Design Studios. 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,[4] 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 some prototype aluminum blocks based on Dodge's V10 truck engine[citation needed] for sports car use in May. The production body was completed in the fall, with a chassis prototype running in December. Though a V8 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.

First generation RT/10 (1992–1995)

First Generation Viper RT/10
Viper7723.JPG
Production 1992–1995
Body style 2-door roadster
Engine 7.998 L (488.1 cu in) V10
400 bhp (298 kW)
465 lb·ft (630 N·m)
Transmission 6-speed manual
Wheelbase 96.2 in (2,440 mm)
Length 175.1 in (4,450 mm)
Width 75.7 in (1,920 mm)
Height 44.0 in (1,120 mm)
Curb weight 3,284 lb (1,490 kg)

The first prototype was tested in January 1989. It debuted in 1991 with two pre-production models as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 when Dodge was forced to substitute it in place of the Japanese-built Stealth because of complaints from the United Auto Workers, and went on sale in January 1992 as the RT/10 Roadster.

The centerpiece of the car was its engine. It was based on the Chrysler LA design, which was a truck engine. The original configuration made it too heavy for sports car use, so Lamborghini, then owned by Chrysler Corporation, revamped Dodge's cast-iron block V10 for the Viper by recasting the block and head in aluminum alloy. Some within Chrysler felt the pushrod two-valve design, while adequate for the truck application, was unsuitable for a performance car and suggested a more comprehensive redesign which would have included four valves per cylinder. Chrysler, however, was uncertain about the Viper's production costs and sales potential and so declined to provide the budget for the modification.

The engine weighed 711 lb (323 kg) and produced 400 bhp (300 kW) at 4600 rpm and 465 lb·ft (630 N·m) at 3600 rpm, and thanks to the long-gearing allowed by the engine, provided fuel economy at a United States Environmental Protection Agency-rated 12 mpg-US (20 L/100 km; 14 mpg-imp) city and 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) highway.[5] The body was a tubular steel frame with resin transfer molding (RTM) fiberglass panels. Some small bits of the suspension, (tie-rod ends and parts of the front wheel hubs) following the manufacturer's "engine first" mantra, were sourced from the Dodge Dakota pickup. It had a curb weight of 3,284 lb (1,490 kg) and lacked all modern driver aids such as traction control or anti-lock brakes. Car and Driver magazine referred to this generation as "the world's biggest Fat Boy Harley", and likened driving it to "playing ping pong with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat." Despite this, in straight line performance, it completed a quarter mile (402 m) in 12.6 seconds and had a maximum speed of over 180 mph (290 km/h). Its large tires allowed the car to average close to 1 lateral g in corners, placing it among the elite cars of its day. However, the car proved tricky to drive at high speeds, particularly for the unskilled.

The car was spartan, although it featured inflatable lumbar support and adjustable seats. Along with the absence of exterior door handles, the vehicle lacked side windows and a roof. Although a soft top cover was available, it was designed primarily for indoor vehicle storage. Side curtains of fabric and clear plastic operated by zippers could be inserted into the door and hand-bolted when needed. All of these decisions were made to reduce weight. The battery is located in the sealed compartment over the rear wheel well to increase rear-end weight and traction. The car shipped with a tonneau cover and video tape on soft-top assembly (the soft top is removable and folds to fit in the trunk). In 1994 A/C was added as an option.

Performance

Dodge Viper first generation

  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 4.6 sec[6]
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h): 9.2 sec
  • quarter mile: 12.9 sec @ 113.8 mph (183.1 km/h)[6]
  • top speed: 184 mph (296 km/h)
  • 700 ft (210 m) slalom: over 66 mph (106 km/h)
  • skidpad average g: 0.96

Second generation, Phase II SR (1996–2002)

Second Generation, Phase II SR Viper RT/10, GTS
Draginline waiting.jpg
Production 1996–2002
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door coupe
Engine

7.998 L (488.1 cu in) V10 OHV

415 bhp (309 kW; 421 PS)
(Viper RT/10 1996–1997 only)
450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS)
(Viper GTS 1996–2002)
(Viper RT/10 1998–2002)
Transmission 6-speed manual
Wheelbase 96.2 in (2,440 mm)
Length

175.1 in (4,450 mm) (1996–99 RT/10)
176.4 in (4,480 mm) (2000–02 RT/10)


176.7 in (4,490 mm) (GTS)
Width 75.7 in (1,920 mm)
Height 44.0 in (1,120 mm) (RT/10)
47.0 in (1,190 mm) (GTS)

A coupe model called the GTS was introduced in 1996. Dubbed "double bubble", the roof featured slightly raised sections above each seat to accommodate usage of helmets, a throwback to its intended purpose. Vipers can be seen participating often in drag racing and road racing. The GTS, like its predecessor, was chosen as the pace car for the 1996 Indianapolis 500.

Despite its similar outward appearance, the car was distinct enough to be considered a new generation model.[citation needed] Extensive modifications included a reworked engine with higher power and less weight, an almost completely redesigned chassis that was made 60 lb (27 kg) lighter and 25% stiffer in torsional rigidity through meticulous computer analysis, a thoroughly redesigned suspension, and reduced braking distances; the 1996 to 2002 Viper GTS had a lighter (approximately 650 lb (290 kg)) 450 bhp (340 kW) engine, which could complete the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds, 0.3 seconds and 16 mph (26 km/h) faster than its predecessor, and increased top speed by 11 mph (18 km/h) or so. The revised suspension, stiffer chassis, and aerodynamic body raised lateral grip to 0.98 g (9.6 m/s²), although other reports show the 1992 model with 1.0 g. Contemporary tires have improved upon this measure significantly. Slalom runs could often reach or exceed 70 mph (110 km/h). Brakes once again lacked ABS initially, and proved to be the car's weakest point. The brakes hurt the car in numerous comparison tests, such as a 1997 "supercar comparison" by Motor Trend, in which the Viper GTS placed at the top against cars such as the Ferrari 355, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 Turbo, Acura NSX-T, Mitsubishi 3000GT, and the Toyota Supra in all performance exercises except braking. The car not only placed last, but had considerably longer stopping distances than other vehicles. ABS was introduced further into the production run, though braking performance was not necessarily significantly improved. In a Sports Car International comparison conducted in 2002, the Viper ACR (with ABS) was compared to the 911 GT2 at Thunderhill Raceway Park. Both cars were very capable, and quick around the test track, but the Viper proved more difficult to drive, and the braking system was blamed very specifically for the gap in lap times (approximately GT2: 2 minutes, ACR: 2:04) between the two cars.

Along with the updated performance came the inclusion of some of the "luxuries" the car did without before. Dual front airbags were added to the vehicle's safety equipment list in 1996 on the GTS and 1997 on the RT/10 as mandated by the government. The car was also exported to Europe, where it was rebadged as a Chrysler, and sold under this marque from 1997 to 2003. European models had a detuned version of the Viper V10.

In the first six years of production almost 10,000 Vipers were sold. Minor evolutionary changes including new 18" diameter wheels and tires were introduced in the 1999 model. Subsequent versions featured light-weight hypereutectic pistons and an improved exhaust system, side exhaust having been dropped part way through production year 1996 for the RT/10; all production GTS Viper Coupes had rear exit exhaust. 1999 saw the introduction of the Cognac Connolly leather interior package. Continuing the refinements, ABS was introduced in 2001. In 2002, the end of second generation production was celebrated with the release of 360 commemorative "Final Edition" models. These models were painted red with white stripes, paying tribute to the famous race-winning Oreca cars. The RT/10 was replaced by the SRT-10 in 2003 and the GTS was replaced in 2006 by the SRT-10 Coupe.

Performance (GTS)

Dodge Viper second generation, phase II SR

  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 4.0 sec[7]
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h): 8.6 sec[citation needed]
  • quarter mile: 12.2 sec @ 119 mph (192 km/h)[7]
  • top speed: 185 mph (298 km/h)[7]
  • slalom: 73.6 mph (118.4 km/h)[7]
  • skidpad average acceleration: 1.01 g (9.9 m/s²)[7]

Third generation ZB (2003–2006)

Third Generation Viper SRT-10
Dodge Viper SRT-10 roadster
Also called Dodge SRT-10 (UK)
Production 2003–2006
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door coupe
Engine 505 cu in (8.3 L)[8] V10
500 hp (370 kW) @ 5600 rpm
525 lb·ft (712 N·m) @ 4200 rpm (SRT-10 Roadster)
510 hp (380 kW) @ 5600 rpm
535 lb·ft (725 N·m) @ 4200 rpm (SRT-10 Coupe)
Transmission T56 Tremec 6-speed manual
Wheelbase 98.8 in (2,510 mm)
Length 175.6 in (4,460 mm)
Width 75.7 in (1,920 mm)
Height 47.6 in (1,210 mm) (coupe)
48.6 in (1,230 mm) (SRT-10)
48.6 in (1,230 mm) (convertible)
Curb weight 3,380 lb (1,530 kg)

The Dodge Viper underwent a major redesign in 2003, 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 505 cu in (8.3 L)[8] which, with other upgrades, increased output to 500 bhp (370 kW) and 525 lb·ft (712 N·m). Despite the power increases, engine weight was reduced to about 500 lb (230 kg). The chassis was also improved, becoming more rigid and weighing approximately 80 lb (36 kg) less than the previous model. An even lighter and stronger chassis was planned, but was abandoned because of cost (parts from the planned suspension were used in the Hennessey Viper Venom 1000 Twin Turbo.) The initial model was a convertible. In 2004 Dodge introduced a limited-edition Mamba package; Mamba-edition cars featured black interiors, with red stitching and trim and price increased by about MSRP US$3000. 200 Mambas were produced.

The Viper SRT-10 Coupe was introduced at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show as a 2006 model. It shares many of its body panels with the convertible, but takes its side and rear styling from the Competition Coupe. The coupe looks much like the previous Viper GTS and retains the "double-bubble" roof shape of the original along with the original GTS's tail lights, as well as offering the original GTS Blue with white stripes paint scheme on the initial run of First Edition cars like the original Viper coupe. The engine is SAE-certified to produce 510 bhp (380 kW) and 535 lb·ft (725 N·m). 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.

Performance

Viper 8.3L Engine

Dodge Viper third generation (SRT-10 roadster)[8]

  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 3.9 sec
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h): 8.36 sec
  • quarter mile: 11.77 sec @ 123.68 mph (199.04 km/h)
  • top speed: 189.5 mph (305.0 km/h)
  • slalom: 70.4 mph (113.3 km/h)
  • skidpad average acceleration: 1.05 g (10.3 m/s2)
  • 100–0: 274 ft (84 m)

Dodge Viper third generation (SRT-10 coupe)

  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 3.8 sec
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h): 8.36 sec
  • quarter mile: 11.77  sec @ 123.68 mph (199.04 km/h)
  • top speed: 192.6 mph (310.0 km/h)
  • slalom: 70.4 mph (113.3 km/h)
  • skidpad average acceleration: 1.05 g (10.3 m/s2)
  • 100–0: 274 ft (84 m)

Dodge Viper third generation Chipa Edition Red line[8]

  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 3.5 sec
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h): 8.1 sec
  • quarter mile: 11.54 sec @ 123.68 mph (199.04 km/h)
  • top speed: 199 mph (320 km/h)
  • slalom: 70.9 mph (114.1 km/h)
  • skidpad average acceleration: 1.05 g (10.3 m/s2)
  • 100–0: 274 ft (84 m)

Fourth generation, Phase II ZB (2008–2010)

Fourth Generation, Phase II Viper SRT-10
2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10 roadster
Production 2008–2010
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door coupe
Engine 510 cu in (8.4 L)[9] V10
600 bhp (450 kW) @ 6000 rpm
560 lb·ft (760 N·m) @ 5600 rpm
Transmission TR6060 6-speed manual
Wheelbase 98.8 in (2,510 mm)
Length 175.6 in (4,460 mm)
Width 75.7 in (1,920 mm)
Height 47.6 in (1,210 mm) (coupe)
48.6 in (1,230 mm) (SRT-10)
48.6 in (1,230 mm) (convertible)
Curb weight 3,460 lb (1,570 kg) (base)
3,408 lb (1,546 kg) (ACR)

In 2008, with the introduction of the 510 cu in (8.4 L) V10, the Viper produced 600 bhp (450 kW) at 6000 rpm and 560 lb·ft (760 N·m) at 5100 rpm, and also received better flowing heads with larger valves, Mechadyne cam-in-cam variable valve timing on the exhaust cam lobes, and dual electronic throttle bodies.[8][9] The rev limit could be increased by 300 rpm due to the improved valve-train stability from both the new camshaft profiles and valve-springs. The engine was developed with some external assistance from McLaren Automotive and Ricardo Consulting Engineers. Electronic engine control is developed by Continental AG; the controller can monitor the crankshaft and cylinder position up to six times during each firing and has 10 times more processing power than the previous unit.

Changes outside of the engine were less extreme. The Tremec T56 transmission was replaced with a new Tremec TR6060 with triple first-gear synchronizers and doubles for higher gears. The Dana M44-4 rear axle from the 2003–2006 model now has a GKN ViscoLok speed-sensing limited-slip differential that greatly helps the tires in getting grip under acceleration. Another performance upgrade was the removal of run-flat tires; the new Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires increased grip and driver feedback and, along with revised suspension (springs, anti-roll bars, and shock valving), made the Viper more neutral in cornering.

The modifications made to the 2008 model year car were enough for Chrysler to make it distinct from the first SRT-10, and the 2008 model became known as Gen IV,[citation needed] just in time for release with Chevrolet's 638 hp (476 kW) Corvette ZR1. Another notable change is the reworking of the exhaust system; previous third-generation Vipers had their exhaust crossover under the seats which resulted in a large amount of heat going into the cockpit, which was done initially to help improve the car's exhaust note, since the first 2 generations of Viper, which had no crossover, were criticized for their lackluster exhaust notes. The 2008 Viper exhaust utilized a new exhaust system with no crossover, reducing the heat that enters the cockpit.

The electrical system was completely revised for 2008. Changes included a 180-amp alternator, twin electric cooling fans, electronic throttles, and completely new VENOM engine management system. CAN bus architecture has been combined with pre-existing systems to allow for regulatory compliance. The fuel system was upgraded to include a higher-capacity fuel pump and filtration system.[10]

Car and Driver magazine tested the car, and found a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 3.5 seconds, a 0-100 mph (160 km/h) time of 7.6 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds at 126 mph (203 km/h).[11] Dodge's claims for top speed are 197 mph (317 km/h) and 202 mph (325 km/h), for the Roadster and Coupe respectively. Car and Driver also tested the Viper's track performance, and managed a fast sub-3 minute lap time around Virginia International Raceway. The Viper's time, despite hot weather, was faster than the Corvette Z06[disambiguation needed ], Ford GT, Nissan GTR, Porsche 911 Turbo, 911 GT3, and 911 GT2, Audi R8, and similar cars. According to Car and Driver and Motor Trend, the car's slightly adjusted suspension setup and new differential gave it cornering ability as sharp as before with better control, feedback, and response.

On November 4, 2009, Dodge Car Brand President and CEO Ralph Gilles had announced that the Viper would end production in the summer of 2010.[12]

On February 10, 2010, Dodge began accepting orders for the Viper SRT10 "Final Edition" models. Only 50 of these units will be produced (20 coupes, 18 roadsters and 12 ACRs). "Final Edition" cars carried the special build code, "AXZ", and were to be the very last of the Viper cars. "Final Edition" Vipers were available in SRT10 Coupe and Convertible configurations.[13]

July 1, 2010 brought about the then-end of production for the Generation 4 Dodge Viper. During an event hosted by Dodge and the Viper Club of America, the final production Gen 4 Viper, which was given a gold finish and accentuated by contrasting orange stripes, rolled off the assembly line and was presented before attendees of the ceremony. Its completion commemorated the end of the production run of the Gen 4 Viper.[14]

Performance (2008 base model)

The 8.4 Viper V10 Engine with dual throttle bodies/intake manifolds and 600HP

Dodge Viper fourth generation, phase II

  • 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h): 3.4 sec [15]
  • 0–100 mph (0–160 km/h): 7.6 sec [15]
  • quickest quarter mile: 10.92 sec @ 127.79 mph (205.66 km/h) [16]
  • top speed: 202 mph (325 km/h)
  • slalom: 74.2 mph (119 km/h)+
  • skidpad average acceleration: 1.06 g (10.4 m/s²)
  • 100–0 mph (160–0 km/h): 270 ft (82 m)

Fifth generation (2012–)

At a dealer conference on September 14, 2010 in Orlando, Florida, Chrysler Group and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was reported [17] [18] to have concluded his remarks by unveiling a rolling 2012 Dodge Viper prototype to dealer applause. There would be no 2011 Vipers instead rebooting the brand in model year 2012. Initial speculation of similarities to the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione supercar,[19][20] was refuted by Dodge head Ralph Gilles in the Detroit News on December 1, 2010.[21] Key quotes from the Detroit News piece from Ralph Gilles that hint to the future of the brand include:

  • "The new Viper is not based on anything else".
  • "The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore."
  • "I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car."

The Viper was also on display for one night only in Salt Lake City, UT at the 11th Viper Owners Invitational or VOI 11 09/31/2010-10/03/2010. CEO Ralph Gilles was present gathering feedback from the owners themselves on new exterior design of the snake. The Generation 5 badge was unveiled as well at this event on each dining table in the enormous hall.

Europe

The second generation, phase II SR Vipers were exported to Europe, where they were sold as Chryslers.

The third generation, phase I ZB Viper was being sold in Europe during 2005–2006, the first model to be sold as a Dodge, as part of Chrysler's new sales strategy for the European market. In the United Kingdom it is referred to as a Viper, but it is actually sold as the Dodge SRT-10, as the Viper name is a registered trademark in the UK.[22] Prodrive currently handles the importation and modification of Vipers to meet European laws. According to 2009 research by internet company Yahoo, the Viper is the car with the second-highest fuel consumption on sale in the United Kingdom.[23]

Variants

Viper GT2

In order to meet FIA homologation requirements, as well as to celebrate Chrysler winning the 1997 FIA GT2 class championship, 100 modified Viper GT2 Championship Edition street-legal cars were sold. These upgraded GTS cars were rated at 460 hp (343 kW) and 500 lb·ft (678 N·m) of torque. They had bodywork with similar appearance to the GTS-R, with the same color scheme, aerodynamics package, and visual options, in order to publicize the Viper's achievement in the FIA GT Championship.[24]

Viper ACR

The back of the new Dodge Viper ACR at the 2009 North American International Auto Show.

The American Club Racing (ACR) model was introduced in 1999. This model had suspension and engine enhancements focused on maximizing performance in road racing and autocross environments. Horsepower was, by the use of K&N air filters and smooth intake tubes, bumped to 460 hp (370 kW) in these models, while torque increased to 500 lb·ft (678 N·m). Weight was reduced by over 50 pounds (23 kg) by stripping the interior and removing other non-essential items such as the fog lamps (replacing them with brake ducts). The new stiffer, adjustable suspension removed another 14 pounds (6.4 kg) These models, which also have engine and handling modifications, has an "ACR" badge and 20-spoke BBS wheels.

A new ACR was added to the Viper line-up after the 2008 model year. Its upgrades were more drastic than the original, including street-legal racing tires, two-piece brake rotors, adjustable suspension, and significant aerodynamic revision. No engine modifications were made, so power and torque remain at 600 hp (450 kW) and 560 lb·ft (760 N·m) as in the standard SRT-10. The ACR is street-legal, and is similar to the MOPAR Viper that Dodge displayed at various auto shows. Weight was also decreased by 40 lb (18 kg) by using the "Hardcore Package", without radio, speakers, amplifier, trunk carpet, hood pad or tire-inflator. Its aerodynamic upgrades produce about 1200 lbf (4.4 kN) of down-force at 150 mph (240 km/h), or roughly 10 times the downforce the standard Viper SRT-10 can produce at the same speed. The interior was upgraded only by the addition of a beacon-tripped lap timer (Hardcore Edition Only).

The Viper ACR was built alongside the standard SRT-10 at the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit. The aerodynamic components were produced by Plasan Carbon Composites and assembled to the vehicle by Prefix Corporation located in Rochester Hills, Michigan.[25]

On September 14, 2011, on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, a 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR captured the fourth fastest production car lap record with a 7:12.13 elapsed time. [26]

Viper ACR-X

To commemorate the end of the second generation Viper and mend the gap from the car's production end until the release of the new car, Dodge offered an improved version of the ACR specifically designed to run in the Dodge Viper Cup Series. This car, named Viper ACR-X, added to the basic ACR 40 hp (30 kW), a new set of downforce-enhancing front canards, and new materials that, along with a stripped interior, reduced weight to 3,300 lb (1,500 kg). It is a purpose-built race car, and is not street-legal. According to Dodge, the car beat the regular record-holding ACR around Laguna Seca by about three seconds (1:33.9 to 1:31). Price increased by US$12,000, to $110,000. Production was planned for the spring of 2010.[27]

Mopar Concept Coupe

"Mopar Concept Coupe" Viper at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show

A prototype 2008 Mopar Viper Coupe, with 675 hp (503 kW), appeared at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, but is not planned for production. This concept appears to have been a sneak peek at the Viper ACR. Performance parts from this car are sold by Mopar.

SRT-10 Carbon

For the 2003 SEMA show, Chrysler displayed a highly tuned Viper SRT-10 in coupe form. The vehicle's name comes from the carbon fiber used to reduce the weight by 150 lbs (total down to 3200 lbs). However, even more significant were the engine modifications, which increased power to 625 hp; no torque or RPM figures were given. Along with the carbon fiber hardtop, a front splitter and rear spoiler were added, however these parts were not nearly as significant as those on the later SRT-10 ACR, and no downforce/drag information was provided to show that they were even functional. The car was a concept only, and never produced.[28]

Firepower

The Chrysler Firepower was a grand touring concept based on the Viper chassis that would have been equipped with the Hemi V-8, with automatic transmission. Price would have been slightly lower than other models.

Copperhead

The Dodge Copperhead was a concept car based on the Viper platform that was intended as a cheaper, more nimble car. It was powered by a 220 hp 2.7L V6 engine instead of the Viper's V10. It never reached production. Dodge produced a limited-production Copperhead Edition Dodge Viper, with copper-colored paint similar to the concept car and other changes.

Zagato Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale

Designed by Zagato, the Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale is the fourth model in Zagato's TZ line and serves as Zagatos tribute to the 100th anniversay of Alfa Romeo. The car itself is based on the Viper ACR-X but with a new carbon fiber body. As planned, only 9 vehicles will be built.[29]

Recognition

  • John Lingenfelter Memorial Trophy
  • 2008 Most Expensive Car for Repair Costs, Bankrate.com[30]
  • The 25,000th Viper is owned by Kurt Busch and the milestone was commemorated by Bob Nardelli, Chrysler LLC Chairman, in a ceremony at the Conner plant in March 2008.[31]

Production

Dodge Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Viper V-10 engine production was transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Avenue Assembly in May 2001.

It was reported that Chrysler had intended to cease production of Dodge Viper in December 2009 and to sell off the Viper brand. Originally, Devon Motor Works was the only bidder, bidding $5.5 million.[32] However, following the Chrysler Group LLC's acquisition of Viper assets,[33] the company announced it was no longer pursuing a sale of the Viper business assets and continuing the production of Dodge Viper SRT10.[34] Nevertheless, Devon Motor Works later unveiled a Dodge Viper-based Devon GTX, as 2010 model.[35] The special-edition Viper, called the Viper ACR-X, was produced to celebrate its last year and was delivered at a Viper Days event at Gingerman Raceway in June 2010. This special model is for track use only and is the spec car for the Dodge Viper Cup, and has an additional 40 horsepower (640 hp (477 kW)).

In 2012 a new Viper or replacement is expected.

Production Numbers, by Model Year

Year Model Production number
1992 RT/10 285 [36]
1993 RT/10 1043 [36]
1994 RT/10 3083 [36]
1995 RT/10 1577 [36]
1996 RT/10 721 [36]
1996 GTS 1166 [36]
1997 RT/10 117 [36]
1997 GTS 1671 [36]
1998 RT/10 379 [36]
1998 GTS 837 [36]
1998 GT2 Championship Edition 100[citation needed][clarification needed]
1999 RT/10 549 [36]
1999 GTS 484 [36] or 699 [37]
1999 ACR 215 [36]
2000 RT/10 840 [36]
2000 GTS 731 [36]
2000 ACR 218 [36]
2001 RT/10 874 [36]
2001 GTS 650 [36]
2001 ACR 227 [36]
2002 RT/10 545 [36]
2002 GTS 759 [36]
2002 ACR 159 [36]
2003 SRT-10 Convertible 1875 [36]
2004 SRT-10 Convertible 2435 [36] or 2433 [37]
2005 SRT-10 Convertible 2010 [36] or 2003 [37]
2005 SRT-10 Coupe zero [36] or 6 [37]
2006 SRT-10 Convertible 752 [36]
2006 SRT-10 Coupe 1117 [36]
2007 ---- No 2007 Model Year Vipers.[36]
2008 SRT-10 Convertible 712 [36]
2008 SRT-10 Coupe 688 [36]
2008 ACR 179 [36]
2009 SRT-10 Convertible 167 [36]
2009 SRT-10 Coupe 241 [36]
2009 ACR 245 [36]
2010 SRT-10 Convertible Final number pending.
2010 SRT-10 Coupe Final number pending.
2010 ACR Final number pending.
2010 ACR-X Final number pending.
2011 ---- No 2011 model year Vipers.

Sales

Calendar Year US sales
1999 1,315[38]
2000 1,470[38]
2001 1,388[39]
2002 1,511[39]
2003 2,103[40]
2004 1,782[41]
2005 1,652[41]
2006 1,455[42]
2007 435[42]
2008 1,172[43]
2009 482[44]
2010 392[45]

Motorsports

Following the release of the Viper in 1992, several North American and European teams attempted to race Viper RT/10s. Based on production cars and using an added roof for rigidity, the cars were not able to perform as hoped. Although they were never officially backed by Dodge, the company became interested in developing a fully backed race car by the time the second-generation Viper was under development.

Viper GTS-R

A Dodge Viper GTS-R used by Zakspeed in 2006 24 Hours Nürburgring

Based on the Viper GTS, the GTS-R was launched in late 1995 as an attempt to prove the capabilities of the Viper design worldwide, although the racing programs mostly concentrated on Europe. Using production block, cylinder heads, and crankshaft, Dodge engineers were able to extract up to 750 hp (559 kW) from the normally 450 hp (336 kW) second-generation 8.0 L V10 engine. The chassis was re-engineered from the ground up by British sports manufacturer Reynard Motorsport's Special Projects Division under chief engineer Paul Brown, while Oreca assembled and maintained the racing cars.

The car made its competition debut in the 1996 24 Hours of Daytona with Canaska Racing, followed by Oreca in the BPR Global GT Series. Oreca went on to take most of the success with the Viper, winning the FIA GT Championship three times, 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins three times, and an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000.

Between 1999 and 2002 Zakspeed won the 24 Hours Nürburgring three times, with Viper chassis[46] C15 and C36. In an attempt to outsmart the 2003 24h rules in which the GTS-R was granted special admission as "Chrysler Viper 1.350 kg 90 Liter 2 x 30,8 mm (air restrictors)",[47] Zakspeed entered as Dodge Viper. In pit stops, they filled with more than 90 liters of fuel, were penalized twice and finished fifth on track, with 134 laps. Afterwards, they appealed at DMSB and were disqualified[48] altogether, with "Wertungsausschluss"[49] (exclusion from classification) for the Chrysler Viper. As the rules limited engine capacity to 6200 cc since 2005, Zakspeed converted the engine into a V8[50][51][52] of that size.

Following the end of official factory support for the program in 2001, Vipers were used by privateer teams with much success. Viper GTS-Rs continued to be used competitively into 2007.

Viper Competition Coupe

A Viper Competition Coupe competing in the FIA GT3 European Championship

As of 2003 a special, non-street legal Viper SRT-10 Competition Coupe was available from Dodge for race car drivers, picking up where the GTS-R racing variant left off. The power and torque ratings were improved, and with the vehicle stripped of anything not essential for racing, such as the interior body panels, carpet, instrumentation, air conditioning, and stereo systems, which lightened the car by 380 lb (170 kg). The Competition Coupe comes equipped with a full roll cage, a racing fuel cell, and other racing-related equipment. It is not sold through dealers and is purchased from Dodge directly with a price of approximately US$155,000. The Viper Competition Coupe is raced predominantly in the U.S. in the Viper Racing League, sanctioned by Viper Days. The Viper Competition Coupe also races in the highly competitive GT class of the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge. Dan Archer was the 1999 GT driver's champion in a Dodge Viper.

In 2004 Samuel Hubinette teamed up with Mopar and DC Performance in Los Angeles used a Competition Coupe with a modified rear axle for Formula D, in which he won the title before the car was barred by the end of the season (as FD would adopt D1 Grand Prix regulations from the following year, which had already prohibited the car from competing) and was replaced by an SRT-10 the following season.

After a few one-off entries in the Spa 24 Hours, from 2006, the Viper Competition Coupe raced in Europe fulltime for the first time, joining the new FIA GT3 European Championship with the Italian team Racing Box. At the end of the year Oreca announced the development of a package transforming the car to GT2 regulations in national championships.

The Primetime Race Group use a Viper Competition Coupe in the American Le Mans Series in the GT2 class. They began racing in the end of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season. During the 2008 American Le Mans Series season they raced full-time with Hankook Tires. The car's best result was a 5th place in the GT2 class at the 2008 12 Hours of Sebring. The team continued to develop and race the Viper in the 2009 American Le Mans Series season, with Dunlop Tires.

Achievements: Viper Motorsports

  • 2009 Belcar Championship
  • 2008 British GT Championship – won by J. Gornall & J. Barnes
  • 2008 Brazilian GT3 Championship (was not used for the entire season champions)
  • 2007 British GT Championship – won by B. Ellis & A. Mortimer
  • 2007 Brazilian GT3 Championship
  • 2007 24 hours of Nurburgring – SP8 Class, won by team Zakspeed
  • 2006 Australian GT Championship – won by Greg Crick
  • 2006 Dutch Supercar Challenge – won by Hans Ambaum
  • 2006 Formula D – Championship – won by Samuel Hubinette
  • 2006 24 hours of Nurburgring – SP8 Class, won by team Zakspeed
  • 2006 Spa 24 Hours G3 – won by team Signa Racing
  • 2006 FIA GT3 European Championship- Manufacters Championship
  • 2005 FFSA GT Championship – won by O. Thevenin & P. Bornhauser
  • 2005 24 hours of Nurburgring – A8 Class, won by P. Zakowski, R. Lechner & S. Bert
  • 2004 SCCA Speed GT – Drivers Championship won by Tommy Archer
  • 2004 FFSA GT Championship – won by P. Bornhauser
  • 2004 Formula D – Championship, won by Samuel Hubinette
  • 2004 Belcar Championship
  • 2004 Italian GT Championship
  • 2004 1000 Miles of Brazil – won by S. Zonca, A Lancellotti & F. Gollin
  • 2003 FFSA GT Championship – won by D. Defourny & P. Goueslard
  • 2003 Belcar Championship – won by Team GLPK
  • 2003 Italian GT Championship – won by Team Racing Box
  • 2003 Swedish GTR Championship – won by Team Tre Q AB
  • 2003 EuroSeries GT Championship – won by Team Michael Martin Racing System
  • 2002 FIA GT Championship – GT1 Drivers, won by Christophe Bouchut
  • 2002 FIA GT Championship – GT1 Teams, won by Larbre Competition
  • 2002 Belcar Championship – won by Team GLPK
  • 2002 Swedish GTR Championship – won by Team OKA Racing
  • 2002 24 hours of Nurburgring – Overall victory, won by Peter Zakowski, R. Lechner & P. Lamy
  • 2002 Spa 24 Hours – won by C. Bouchut, S. Bourdais, D. Terrien & V. Vosse
  • 2001 FIA GT Championship – GT1 Drivers, won by Christophe Bouchut & Jean-Philippe Belloc
  • 2001 FIA GT Championship – GT1 Teams, won by Larbre Competition
  • 2001 FFSA GT Championship – won by D. Dupuy & F. Fiat
  • 2001 24 hours of Nurburgring – Overall victory, won by Peter Zakowski, M. Bartels & P. Lamy
  • 2001 Spa 24 Hours – won by C. Bouchut, J.P. Belloc & M. Duez
  • 2001 1000km of Fuji Endurance Race
  • 2001 Belcar Championship – won by Team GLPK
  • 2001 Swedish GTR Championship – won by Team OKA Racing
  • 2000 FFSA GT Championship – won by D. Dupuy & F. Fiat
  • 2000 Grand-Am – GT2 Class Champion
  • 2000 24 Hours of Daytona – Overall victory
  • 2000 American Le Mans Series – Class Champion, Team Oreca
  • 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans – GTS Class 1st and 2nd place, won by team Oreca
  • 1999 FIA GT Championship – Drivers, won by Olivier Beretta & Karl Wendlinger
  • 1999 FIA GT Championship – Teams, won by Viper Team Oreca
  • 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans – GTS Class 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes, won by Team Oreca
  • 1999 American Le Mans Series – Class Champion, Team Oreca
  • 1999 VLN German Championship Series – Won every race of season (10/10), Team Zakspeed
  • 1999 24 hours of Nurburgring – Overall victory, won by Peter Zakowski, H.J. Tiemann, K. Ludwig & M. Duez
  • 1998 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Drivers, won by Olivier Beretta & Pedro Lamy
  • 1998 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Teams, won by Viper Team Oreca
  • 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 Class 1st and 2nd, won by Team Oreca, First series production based American car to win at Le Mans
  • 1997 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Drivers, won by Justin Bell
  • 1997 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Teams, won by Viper Team Oreca


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  48. ^ Zakspeed legte Protest ein. Die Zakspeed-Viper (Peter Zakowski, Pedro Lamy und Robert Lechner), als Sieger der beiden vergangenen Jahre einer der Top-Favoriten auf den Gesamtsieg, wurde zweimal wegen eines zu großen Tankvolumens mit Strafen belegt. Die Lokalmatadoren beendeten das Rennen schließlich auf Rang fünf. Das Team legte gegen die Strafen Berufung ein, verlor aber vor dem Berufungsgericht des DMSB und wurde nachträglich aus der Wertung ausgeschlossenhttp://adac.24h-rennen.de/archiv/2003/chronik-2003.html
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  • "The Closest Thing To Having A Lola Champ Car In Your Garage" duPont Registry (June 2006) pg. 119

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