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Unread 2015-11-06, 11:28 AM   #276
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Dodge Viper ACR Destroys Hypercars At 1/10th The Price

The rumors surrounding the death of the Dodge Viper are true; the supercar isn’t long for this world. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to go quietly into the night. In fact, it set out to do the exact opposite. To give the demonic snake a proper send off, Dodge took its latest and greatest Viper ACR to racetracks around the country to show what American engineering can accomplish. And in the understatement of the century, it performed better than anticipated.

Before the Viper ACR’s unveiling this spring, Dodge took the street-legal racecar to racetracks all across the country to not only dial the car in, but also see what records it could demolish. In the process, the Viper ACR set a staggering 13 production car lap records at racetracks ranging from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, to Virginia International Raceway. The Viper ACR also ended up beating records set by both the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder.



The two hybrid hypercars set lap times at only one track on the Viper ACR’s list, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. And both were set by MotorTrend’s own Randy Pobst. On the day of MotorTrend’s test, the McLaren went first and set a blisteringly fast lap of 1:30.71. The 918 Spyder then beat the McLaren, setting a lap time of 1:29.89. Everyone believed those records would stand for quite some time. That is until the Viper ACR descended on the track.

With the optional Extreme Aero Package, which includes a six-foot adjustable rear wing, revised front splitter, and additional dive planes, Randy Pobst once again set a psychotically fast lap time. The track record now stands at 1:28.65. That’s a full second off the Porsche 918 Spyder’s time, a feat truly staggering when considering the Viper ACR at $118,795 is an eighth of the Porsche’s $845,000 price tag, and has only three-quarters of the Porsche’s 889 horsepower. The gap between the Viper ACR and the McLaren P1 is even further with the Viper ACR’s price representing only a tenth of the $1.15 million it took to purchase a P1, and having only two-thirds of P1′s 903-horsepower . It’s additionally bewildering when the Viper ACR is also limited by its rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox.

With these records set, the Viper ACR has only one last track to tackle, the infamous Nurburgring. With speed limits soon to be removed on the ‘Ring, you had better believe that this born and bred American racer has the potential to humble the track known as the Green Hell. We can’t wait.


https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/dodge-...140018734.html

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Unread 2015-11-06, 11:43 AM   #277
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I love the Corvette, but the Viper is so American it's not even funny.
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Unread 2015-11-06, 12:10 PM   #278
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The Viper is the one in my list of dream cars that's just out of reach. Will be sad to see it go. Now that it is going to die, I'll really never be able to make it happen.
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Unread 2015-11-06, 12:44 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by RiskyRick View Post
The Viper is the one in my list of dream cars that's just out of reach. Will be sad to see it go. Now that it is going to die, I'll really never be able to make it happen.
You could buy a Gen 2 for what you paid for your 5.0, bro.
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Unread 2015-11-06, 03:56 PM   #280
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Unread 2015-11-06, 06:37 PM   #281
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You could buy a Gen 2 for what you paid for your 5.0, bro.
I'm not really after a gen 2, I was thinking in a decade I'd try to pick up a now current gen, but they're probably gonna stay high after the car goes out of production.

Oh well, after this Vette I really want to get away from a car payment anyway.
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Unread 2015-11-06, 10:03 PM   #282
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I'm not really after a gen 2, I was thinking in a decade I'd try to pick up a now current gen, but they're probably gonna stay high after the car goes out of production.

Oh well, after this Vette I really want to get away from a car payment anyway.
You bought a vette?

Did you make a thread on here?
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Unread 2015-11-06, 11:10 PM   #283
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You bought a vette?

Did you make a thread on here?
I've mentioned it, but no I never made a thread. 2012 LS3 M6 in Blade Silver, 1LT with absolutely no options.
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Unread 2016-01-12, 02:47 PM   #284
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Report: A New Dodge Viper Is a Possibility




We were incredibly saddened to learn that the Dodge Viper would end production in 2017. Even more so than the Corvette, the Viper is arguably the last great American sports car, raising a proud middle finger to anyone or anything that questions its brashness. Despite that, it’s never been a sales success, leading Dodge to cut prices by $15,000 in 2014.
Now there’s a faint glimmer of hope for the beleaguered Viper. In a press conference at the Detroit auto show, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that a new Viper is a possibility, according to an Automobile report.
“Given the architectural development within the brand, there is a possibility that a new version of the Viper may surface,” Marchionne said. What isn’t clear is whether a new Viper would be ready in time to immediately replace the current-generation Viper, or if it would appear further down the road.
The ever-pragmatic Marchionne isn’t a fan of the Viper’s proprietary platform, so a theoretical future Viper likely would be based on a version of the new rear-wheel-drive platform that underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia. The Giulia, which is Alfa Romeo’s on-ramp to volume U.S. sales, is reportedly delayed six months in Europe and even longer in the U.S.
Any future rear-wheel-drive cars from Fiat Chrysler—barring Ferrari, of course—will be commensurately delayed because of the Giulia. So a new Viper isn’t exactly around the corner. Furthermore, Marchionne said Alfa Romeo won’t receive as much investment as was planned a few years ago due to a scaling back of its ambitions in the faltering Chinese market.
While we’d very much love to see a new Viper, Marchionne’s statements don’t sound very promising. File this under “we’ll believe it when we see it.”
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Unread 2016-01-13, 10:25 PM   #285
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Dodge Viper reportedly axed over side curtain airbags

2015 Dodge Viper SRT

Dodge Viper reportedly axed over side curtain airbags

Countless fans are mourning the impending death of the Dodge Viper but a new report shedding light on why it's being sent to the automotive graveyard in the first place.
Citing a source "intimately familiar with FCA’s plans," Motor Trend is reporting the Viper isn't being axed over slow sales. Instead, the publication says the model cannot comply with federal safety standard FMVSS #226 which requires vehicles to be equipped with side curtain airbags. As the source explained, adding side curtain airbags would significantly reduce the vehicle's limited amount of headroom.
While it sounds odd that Chrysler wouldn't have factored in upcoming safety regulations when the Viper was being designed, it's far from the first model to disappear due to problems meeting safety regulations.
Of course, the Viper's disappearance could be short lived as FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has said "Given the architectural development within the brand, there is a possibility that a new version of the Viper may surface." Nothing has been decided but FCA is reporting considering an all-new Viper based on the same platform that underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Unfortunately, even if the Viper survives it will likely eschew a V10 engine.
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Unread 2016-06-21, 10:38 PM   #286
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Dodge Viper production to end after 2017

Swan song begins with five new special editions.



We can't say we're surprised, but we're still saddened to report that the Dodge Viper will not live on past the 2017 model year. It's had a solid 25-year run, though, and that's worth celebrating. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles does just that for the Viper's final model year, with five special editions (some of which seem less special than others, admittedly): The 1:28 Edition ACR, GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR, VoooDoo II Edition ACR, Snakeskin Edition GTC, and Dodge Dealer Edition ACR.

Instead of running through what makes each of these 2017 Vipers special, we'll direct your attention to the press release below and the images above. All but the Dodge Dealer Edition commemorate memorable Viper models of the past 25 years, and the GTS-R is probably the pick of the litter with its classic blue-on-white paint scheme. Unless you prefer to err on the side of gaudy, in which case Dodge has you (and your car) covered with Snakeskin Green.

If none of these special-edition Viper models strikes your fancy but you'd still like to park a 2017 Viper in your garage, fret not. Dodge is still offering its "1 of 1" customization program for the Viper's final year of production. Finally, instead of dwelling on the past, even when that past is as exciting as the Viper's, let's choose to look to the future with the only logical question left unanswered: What's next?
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Unread 2016-06-22, 08:12 AM   #287
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Not surprised. It is the most shaky of the big three automotive companies and there is only room for so many $100k+ sports cars. It is a shame though, they are gorgeous cars.
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Unread 2016-06-23, 09:35 PM   #288
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Dodge Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Final Year of Viper Production with Five Exclusive Limited-edition Models

  • New 25th anniversary limited-edition models feature exclusive content to commemorate the final year of Viper production
    • 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer) – Celebrating the current Laguna Seca single-lap record of 1:28.65
    • GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR – One of the most iconic Viper liveries of all-time
    • VoooDoo II Edition ACR – Rebirth of the VoooDoo ACR
    • Snakeskin Edition GTC – Inspired by the original Snakeskin, now with unique snakeskin stripe
    • Dodge Dealer Edition – Viper ACR special edition available through Tomball and Roanoke Dodge dealers
  • Each limited-edition Viper model features a serialized instrument panel badge with the model name that can be customized with the customer’s name
  • Customers can begin ordering special edition Vipers on June 24, 2016
  • The 2017 Viper is available in more than 50 million unique build configurations, including the ACR package, through the “1 of 1” customization program for a truly one-of-a-kind snake American hand-built supercar

June 21, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Dodge brand is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dodge Viper with five limited-edition models that commemorate the final year of Viper production and highlight several of the most iconic special edition Vipers of the past.

“The Dodge Viper has had a great run, and 25 years after it was first introduced, it leaves the supercar world reaching for the records it continues to set,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat – FCA, North America. “With more track records than any production car in the world, the Dodge Viper ACR will live on as the fastest street-legal Viper track car ever, the car that has set the benchmark for all that follows in its tracks.”

One of the most unique and exotic high-performance machines on the road today, Dodge is honoring the Viper’s rich, colorful and exceptional performance heritage on and off the track by paying tribute to some of the most iconic Vipers in its history. Beginning on June 24 and new for 2017 model year, customers can order their special snake in the following exclusive special edition configurations:

Viper 1:28 Edition ACR
  • Pays tribute to the current production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by champion driver Randy Pobst in a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., in October 2015
  • Features black exterior and painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, 1:28 Edition exterior sill decal, ACR interior with red accent stitching, serialized instrument panel 1:28 Edition badge, along with a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • As many as 28 units of this new special edition configuration will be built for the 2017 model year
  • Looking back in Viper history: Using the same track record theme, Dodge previously produced 33 units of the 2010 Viper ACR 1:33 Edition to tout its previous track record of 1:33.915 set by SRT dynamics engineer Chris Winkler at Laguna Seca Raceway in November 2009

Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR
  • Designed to pay tribute to one of the most distinguishable and iconic Viper paint schemes of all time – the white and blue combination of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition
  • Features Pearl White exterior with Blue Pearl GTS stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Exterior Carbon Package, unique red Stryker badge decal, GTS-R exterior sill decals, USA flag B-pillar decals, ACR interior with red accent stitching, Header Red seat belts, serialized instrument panel GTS-R badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • As many as 100 units of this new special edition configuration will be built for 2017
  • Looking back in Viper history: 100 units of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GTS Championship Edition were produced to commemorate the Viper winning the 1997 FIA GT2 championship

Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR
  • Modeled after the original 2010 Viper VoooDoo edition
  • Features black exterior and graphite metallic ACR driver’s stripe with red tracer outline, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, VoooDoo II exterior sill decals, ACR interior with silver accent stitching, serialized instrument panel VoooDoo II badge and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • As many as 31 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017
  • Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original VoooDoo Viper ACR were built in 2010

Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC
  • Color was inspired by the original 2010 Snakeskin ACR
  • Features new Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin patterned SRT stripe, Advanced Aerodynamics Package, GT black interior, serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • As many as 25 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017
  • Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original Snakeskin Viper ACR were built in 2010

Dodge Dealer Edition ACR
  • Available exclusively through Dodge’s highest sales volume Viper dealers, Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Ill.
  • Features Viper White exterior with Competition Blue center stripe, Adrenaline Red driver stripe, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Extreme Aero Package, ACR interior with red accent stitching and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • Serialized instrument panel ACR badge
  • As many as 33 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017

Industry-first ‘1 of 1’ Viper customization program continues
Continuing for the 2017 model year is the exclusive Viper “1 of 1” customization program that enables buyers to create their one-of-a-kind “Snake” from the ground up. With 16,000 exterior color options, including matte exterior finishes, 24,000 custom stripe colors, 11 wheel options, 16 interior trims and seven aero packages, three brake packages and four suspension options, there are more than 50 million ways for buyers to customize their one-of-a-kind Dodge Viper. Each “1 of 1” model Viper features a personalized instrument panel badge with customer’s chosen name to commemorate their exclusive design. No two customers can order the same configuration, including color, in the same model year

ACR model returns as ultimate street-legal racer
The Dodge Viper ACR returns in 2017 as the indisputable “ultimate street-legal race car” with significant aerodynamic and suspension upgrades. Relaunched in 2016, the third edition (1999-2002, 2008-2010) of the Viper ACR has taken the performance car world by storm with more track records than any production car in the world — a total of 13 road course lap records as certified by the Sports Car Club of America.

About Viper
All 2017 Dodge Vipers are powered by the iconic all-aluminum 8.4-liter V-10 engine that delivers 645 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque — the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports car engine in the world. Standard safety features include electronic multistage stability control, traction control and a new four-channel anti-lock brake system.

Since 1992, Dodge and SRT have built approximately 30,000 Vipers at the Mack Avenue Assembly (1992–1994) and Conner Avenue Assembly Plant (1995–current), both in Detroit.

About Dodge Brand
The Dodge brand is America’s mainstream performance brand. With the purification of the brand and consolidation with SRT, Dodge is getting back to its performance roots with every single model it offers. The Dodge and SRT brands offer a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out within their own segments. Dodge is the “mainstream performance” brand and SRT is positioned as the “ultimate performance” halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.

From muscle cars to compact cars, minivans, crossovers and full-size SUVs, the Dodge brand’s full lineup of 2016 models deliver best-in-class horsepower, class-exclusive technology, unmatched capability and a slew of cool features, such as LED headlamps, Dodge signature racetrack tail lamps, dual exhaust, 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment centers and 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable gauge clusters, to name a few. For the 2016 model year, customers will be able to drive the new 2016 Dodge Charger and Challenger, as well as the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat. The Dodge brand lineup also includes the Dodge Dart, Durango, Grand Caravan and Journey, including the Crossroad model, and its flagship, the Dodge Viper.
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Unread 2016-11-30, 06:16 PM   #289
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Dodge is reopening order books for the 2017 Viper before it dies



2017 Dodge Viper

After 25 years, the Dodge Viper is going to die, for good. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] confirmed this fact back in June as it announced final edition models that sold out pretty much instantly.
A weird thing happens when you say you're killing off an icon: sales spike.
The uptick in sales caused Dodge to close the order books for the final run of Vipers as the company was suddenly concerned as to how many it could deliver. Why would Dodge be concerned? We hear it's because it wasn't sure enough parts would be available, especially for the ridiculous--in the best possible way--ACR model.
We reached out to a Dodge spokesperson today, who confirmed that order books for the final model year of the Viper will reopen before the end of the 2016 calendar year. For those counting, that would mean within the next four weeks.
Of course, this news might not be so great for the dealership that bought what it thought was the last 135 Vipers ever to be made. That was likely an attempt for a cash grab but Gerry Wood Dodge swears it has no intention of marking up the cars over MSRP. Despite the promise, those 135 cars probably just became a whole lot less special.
Want to get a 2017 Dodge Viper before it dies? Seems you just got lucky, but you better start counting those pennies or writing to Santa now, because once those order books open you can bet another flood of deposits will be put down. Who knows how many more Vipers Dodge can actually build.
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Unread 2017-07-13, 01:16 PM   #290
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And it is all over

It's over: the Dodge Viper dies forever on August 31





2016 Dodge Viper ACR
Enlarge Photo

The end is nigh for an American sports car icon: the Dodge Viper will officially exit production on August 31, 2017, and the Connor Avenue Assembly plant where all Vipers have been built will be closed for good.
Previously, designer Ralph Gilles let the date slip during a speech at the 2017 Chicago auto show held in February, but this is the first time Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has made the date official, according to ClickOnDetroit.
The Dodge Viper and its 8.4-liter V-10 engine have been hand-assembled at the facility since the car was launched in 1992, with the current team composed of 87 remaining employees. Fun fact: the short-lived Plymouth Prowler was also built in the assembly plant during its production span from 1999 to 2002. FCA says it anticipates every employee will be offered work at another assembly plant.
2017 Dodge Viper
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2017 Dodge Viper
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2017 Dodge Viper
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The Connor assembly plant's Detroit zip code has also made the Viper the only American sports car actually built in "Motor City." The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are built elsewhere in Michigan, while Chevy Corvette production now emerges from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Challenger isn't as American as you'd believe, either—it's assembled in Canada. So is the Ford GT.
The Viper has left an oversized imprint on the automotive industry for the past 25 years. Long known for its untamed nature, the coupe and convertible have always represented a raw piece of American performance, and they've taken on the world in the process.
The Connor assembly will finish building Viper orders specced through the One-of-One program until the plant's closure. Those seeking one last chance to own a piece of history will then have to locate their Dodge Viper through a dealership.
Thanks for the memories, Viper.
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Unread 2017-07-26, 01:21 PM   #291
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The Dodge Viper ACR just ran the 'Ring in an unofficial 7:03.45









































Image 1 / 7


















Just ahead of the doors closing forever on the Dodge Viper, a new lap record attempt is being undertaken at the Nürburgring.
A number was just set, and it's not slow: 7:03.45 was run by a white-with-blue-stripes 2017 Dodge Viper ACR, an uber-rare Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR to be exact.
For those keeping track, the time would make the Viper ACR the fastest rear-wheel-drive production car to lap the 'Ring. The previous fastest time was set in December 2016 by a Mercedes-AMG GT R that put down a 7:10.92 lap.
Of course, this new lap time is both unofficial and not a record-breaking number in the sense that there are faster laps set by other production cars.
While not record-breaking, it is quicker than the factory-backed fourth-generation Viper ACR which in 2011 laid down a scorching 7:12.13 time.
Both today's lap and the one back in 2011 were set by a professional racer by the name of Dominik Farnbacher.
And no, this whole thing isn't factory backed. It's been stitched together by 378 fans who provided funds for one final assault on the Nürburgring.
The car is a bone-stock Viper ACR GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR with street-legal Kumho Ecsta V720 tires. The same tires every current Dodge Viper ACR rolls off the factory floor with.
Don't take that unofficial number as the finale for the snake. Road & Track says the privateers aren't done attacking the 'Ring as another flying lap is planned for later this week.
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Unread 2017-08-17, 11:04 PM   #292
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The Last Dodge Viper Rolls Off The Assembly Line In Detroit





The last Dodge Viper has rolled off the line at the company's Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.

The bittersweet moment occurred yesterday as FCA's Head of Design, Ralph Gilles, traveled to the plant to say his goodbyes. The noted designer documented the event on Instagram and took a handful of photos of the production facility as well as the last two Vipers.

In comments on the post, Gilles said the "The Gen5 had a great 5 model year run and the Viper platform, which has not changed that much over the years, had a great 25 year run!" He also stated the model "sold well over the last couple of years" and the company had a "great mix of mostly ACRs in the last 15 months."

The Viper's fate was sealed by new federal safety standards which require vehicles to be equipped with side curtain airbags. As Gilles explained, the "new ejection mitigation regulation airbag ... simply won't fit in our package."

The 2017 Viper was priced from $90,495 and came equipped with an 8.4-liter V10 engine that produced 645 hp (481 kW) and 600 lb-ft (814 Nm) of torque.
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Unread 2017-08-28, 11:49 AM   #293
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Dodge Viper ACR still can't quite capture Nurburgring record

Hot track temps cooked the tires








Dodge Viper production ended just a few weeks ago. So in an effort to go out with a bang, a crowdfunded effort sent a pair of new Viper ACRs to the Nürburgring in order to reclaim the production-car lap record. Despite its best efforts, the team failed to top the Lamborghini Huracan Performante's time of 6 minutes and 52 seconds. The Viper's best lap was 7 minutes and 3.45 seconds, leaving a seemingly insurmountable gap between it and the Lamborghini. This past week, the Vipers went out again. Unfortunately the new time of 7:3.23 only shaved a few tenths.

Road & Track reports that the hot weather played a major factor into the car's performance. August is hot in Germany, and the northern part of the track had a recorded temperature of 111 degrees. This was killing tires and therefore grip. While Kumho has been kind enough to supply the team with tires, an endless supply of rubber doesn't help if they keep getting cooked. In two hours, the team managed just two hot laps, killing 16 tires in the process.

It's not over. A return trip is in the works. The team believes it can slide under the 7 minute mark. Still, it looks like it's going to take some really ideal conditions to make it work. Either way, the Viper ACR is and will remain one of the fastest production cars ever built and something of the likes we'll never see again.
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Unread 2018-01-08, 11:36 AM   #294
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1 of 10The Viper isn't just a car -- it's a V10-powered manifesto.




















Saying goodbye to the Dodge Viper with a V10-powered road trip

The Viper isn't --wasn't -- just a car: It's a manifesto






Long after sundown, on a quiet stretch of I-65 an hour or so north of Nashville, an RX-8 materializes in the rearview mirror. The guy wants to race. No real surprise there. It’s the kind of thing you come to expect when you’re driving a Viper. More so when that Viper is the street-legal race version, the ACR, what with its towering rear wing, ground-scraping front aero, semi-slick tires and particular brand of large-displacement attitude.
By design, any Viper makes a very unsubtle statement—one which must from time to time be backed up with action, if only to uphold the reputation of the good people back in Detroit who hand-built the thing.
The Mazda is decidedly nonstock; its rotary wails and its tailpipes spit flames. But even before I drop to third gear, wind up the V10 and punch a Viper-size hole in the darkness, its driver has to know there is no way in hell he has the faster car. No, he just wants to see what the Dodge can do.
There are two kinds of people out there: those who appreciate the Dodge Viper and those who don’t understand it. That was as true in late 1991, when the first generation of the unlikely production hot rod emerged, as it is of the fifth-generation (or third “phase,” depending on how you break it down) car today.
The RX-8 driver gets it. So does the guy in the Challenger 392 and whoever is driving that new Stingray and all of the other people on my 1,200-mile drive from Detroit to Nashville and back who either want to race or nearly drive off the road with astonishment and excitement when they see me slicing through interstate traffic like a predator.















Car Life

Gallery: SRT Viper exterior





The Viper has always been a special, difficult car. Did its front-midmounted V10, rear-wheel drive and manual-only setup make sense when the model was first conceived, nearly three decades ago, as a sort of Shelby Cobra successor? Tough to say. The configuration was certainly archaic by the time this, the present (and for the foreseeable future, final) version debuted in 2012. But that’s the way it had to be. To have done it any differently would have been to lose what made the car extraordinary. It wouldn’t have been a Viper.
Disclaimer: I have never driven one of these of any vintage on a track. I do know that in the right set of hands, the Viper ACR is faster than just about anything else on four wheels. Look to a privateer team’s 7-minute, 1.3-second Nürburgring run earlier this year, plus a baker’s dozen records at domestic tracks, for proof.
I will never set any lap-time records in a go-kart, let alone a monster like this, but I’ve always appreciated the idea of the Viper. What started as a halo car became a sort of middle finger to the rest of the world. It’s a manifesto: This is the way it’s done in Detroit. Deal with it.
The Viper Experience is not for everyone. It’s best described as “visceral,” if you’re in charitable mood, “crude” if you’re not. When you hit the starter button and all 8.4 liters of that V10 sputter and boom to life, the car rocks slightly, side to side. That engine may drone a bit while loping along in sixth gear on the highway, but that’s its way of reminding you that it doesn’t peak (at 645 hp) until 6,200 rpm. The chassis is rigid and the suspension wonderfully direct, which is another way to say that the setup reveals every bump and groove beneath it.

















Gallery: SRT Viper interior




You have to reconfigure yourself mentally, and to an extent physically, to accept the car as it is, or you’re simply not going to have a good time with it. If the seats get uncomfortable after long stints—even with, as on this car, a GTS package that adds a more luxurious interior than your standard-issue ACR—be thankful that it doesn’t get better fuel economy and stretch it out when you stop for gas.
In its fifth generation, the Viper finally got traction and stability control, which is less of a surrender to the nannyism than you might think. Despite its surprisingly mild manner when driven even semi-sensibly, the Viper can snap—quickly—if you get too comfortable and push it beyond the threshold of balance. At times, it can get downright scary, but this sense of lurking danger adds a certain savor to the experience. Maybe I’m wrong to enjoy that. You’ll miss it, though, when cars are sold without steering wheels.
In any case, those Kumho ACR tires are useless in the rain; think of their grooves as more of a suggestion of treads than an actuality, and you’ve got the idea. There are a few white-knuckle moments, and, driving back to Detroit, I have to pull over to let a thunderstorm pass. When was the last time you felt compelled to do that in a new car?
But the Viper isn’t a new car, at least not spiritually. It’s all of the best parts about a classic grand tourer zapped into the present. Or maybe it’s a vintage muscle car that’s been taught to handle. Maybe, in true hot-rod fashion, it’s some combo of the hottest, most essential bits of everything. And while the Viper badge speaks for itself in and around Detroit, I am floored to meet Nashvillians who don’t even know what the thing is. It doesn’t help that this generation of Viper suffered an identity crisis (recall that, for a time, it dropped the Dodge badge in favor of a standalone SRT nameplate).



Fiat-Chrysler’s Conner Avenue factory was unusually quiet. On a day in early August, as the Dodge Viper inched toward history, the factory was more like a funeral parlor. The line had shut down ...



The Viper’s ostensible competitors—depending on how you look at it: the Mercedes-AMG GT, the Nissan GT-R, even the Chevrolet Corvette Z06—may do certain things better, or for a lower price. Even Dodge’s own Hellcats have it beat in the horsepower wars.
But the Viper isn’t about power above all, nor was it ever supposed to be a slick, tidy toy designed for the clinical delivery of speed. It is a demanding, rewarding, multisensory experience, built to order by hand by skilled workers in an old factory at the northern edge of Detroit. There is effectively nothing else to compare it to.
Now that the Viper is dead, the elegies flow: opinion pieces praising its analog brutality and its Motor City bona fides, market analyses trumpeting its prospects as a future collectible. They are belated—and correct. Read it here first: The Viper was and is good. Cars like it are too few and far between to go unsung.
A neighbor recently took delivery of his Viper; it must have been one of the last cars off the line, which has since gone quiet. Sometimes, when I hear him rumbling down the street, I stop what I’m doing and run to catch a glimpse. Like a kid running for the ice cream truck. His Viper, with its TA 2.0 package, is subtler than the ACR but still impossible to miss—painted the bright yellow of lane markers.
It’s a car I’d love to own, but I’ve never felt even a tinge of envy. It’s his car, and I am content that he has it and appreciates it. That there are at least two of us on the block that really get it.
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Unread 2018-01-08, 12:11 PM   #295
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1 of 24As the Viper becomes a legend, it's home becomes quiet. Photo by Josh Scott



























We made Vipers: The men and women of Chrysler's Conner Ave. plant

The end of a venomous snake means diaspora for those who built it






Fiat-Chrysler’s Conner Avenue factory was unusually quiet. On a day in early August, as the Dodge Viper inched toward history, the factory was more like a funeral parlor. The line had shut down before 2 p.m., and noises inside the 392,000-square-foot plant were faint and faraway. The row of landmark Vipers that long greeted employees and visitors—Le Mans winners and Nordschleife record holders—sat undisturbed.
Soon the collection would be joined by the last Viper and sent to storage. That day in August, three weeks before Conner’s official closing, the last Viper was already in the line.
To build the fifth-generation, 2013-17 Viper, Conner Avenue was outfitted to assemble eight or nine cars a day. After February 2017, when orders were locked down for remaining production, it had been building about three. Some 90 percent of those were Viper ACRs, and the vast majority were ordered through Dodge’s “1 of 1” program, which allowed thousands of permutations and came with assembly photos and a plant tour.
Ironically, maybe cruelly, the Viper died on its 25th anniversary, after more than 30,000 had been built. One of the world’s unique automobiles is gone, and with it goes one of the world’s unique automobile factories. The end of Conner Avenue Assembly, the source of 26,000 of those Vipers, dispersed a relative handful of sad but appreciative workers—and left only one auto assembly plant operating entirely within Detroit’s city limits. There were more than a dozen in the mid-20th century.

A Viper chassis ready for testing.






The factory at 20000 Conner opened in 1966 as a Champion spark plug plant. It had been fallow for five years when Chrysler bought it in 1995, after management realized that the crazy Dodge Viper roadster might actually have legs. Launched in 1992 as a one-run-and-done special from a corner of Chrysler’s Mack Assembly plant, Viper demand continued to exceed expectations as the original tooling wore out.
The Viper line at Conner started in October 1995, and the GT-S coupe joined the roadster. Plymouth Prowler production was added in 1997, and before the Prowler finished its five-year run, Chrysler’s V10 engine production was moved to Conner. Yet in the desperate days after Chrysler’s bankruptcy and the merger with Fiat, the Viper became imminently expendable. Production ended the first time in July 2010.
Then, as the economy improved and to the surprise of some, FCA polished up Conner Assembly and began building a new-gen Viper in December 2012. Even in the new millennium, the Viper line reopened without robots.
Viper production was basically three stages: engines, chassis and final. The blocks and heads were cast in England and shipped to Canada, where they were machined and the heads were assembled. After final assembly at Conner, every engine was trucked to FCA HQ in Auburn Hills, Michigan, fully dyno’d and then returned to Conner for installation. With the end of
Viper, new Chrysler cam-in-block V10s—based on the 5.9-liter Magnum V8, massaged by Lamborghini and famous for a burble like a school bus—hiss no more.

One of the last Vipers to leave the Conner Ave. factory.






Viper assembly started with steel spaceframes jigged up at a supplier in Kentucky and placed on a rolling trolley at Conner. The wheel hubs were essentially identical to those on a Dakota pickup, which was last built before the last-gen Viper started production. Body panels were molded by Plasan Carbon Composites in western Michigan and painted at a facility near FCA headquarters. Interesting stuff, all that, but it doesn’t account for Conner’s unique place in the automotive universe. If 392,000 square feet seems like a lot of floor space, understand that it’s less than 10 percent of the space at FCA’s Ram pickup plant, just northeast of Conner Assembly in Warren, Mich. Through the last Viper’s run, Conner employed 14 salaried and 67 hourly workers (Warren Truck has 4,706). Through 2017, the average cycle time—the time the trolley sat at a given stop on the line—was 69 minutes. In the typical auto plant, it’s less than a minute. Yet a majority of Conner’s workers had been there since it opened for Viper, and they had helped build 26,000 cars.
Conner Avenue came as close to legitimate by-hand assembly as there is at any large automaker, right up to Bentley and Rolls-Royce.




















Now Viper is finished, and the city of Detroit is down to 1.5 auto assembly plants. The one is FCA’s Jefferson North Assembly, home of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. The 0.5 is GM’s Buick/Cadillac/Chevrolet sedan plant, which straddles the border between Detroit and the encapsulated city of Hamtramck. The Conner Assembly building will be converted to another FCA purpose, but only the company knows what. We’re guessing it’s going to be Italian.
As for the 81 craftspeople and managers who built Vipers, all are guaranteed jobs elsewhere in the FCA scheme. While many believe those jobs can only be a step down, they seem almost universally grateful to have had the opportunity to tangibly contribute to something very cool.
Few of us get an opportunity to meet the people who build our cars. It’s easy enough to lose track of the fact that our cars are still largely built by people, who are largely proud of what they do and worried about the same things we are. With the end of Conner Avenue Assembly, we’ll take the opportunity to introduce some of those who built one of history’s truly unique automobiles, in one of Detroit’s unique assembly plants.
Viva Viper.

He took one with him.






He took one with him
Deron Rogers II is reminded daily of what he used to do at Conner Avenue. He was the only non-salaried plant employee who owns a Viper—a third-gen 2003 he calls Black Mamba.
“When the Viper came out, I knew someday I’d own one, long before I had any hope of working here,” he said in August.
Rogers went to work at Conner in 1996, shortly after it opened as Viper Central. He was responsible for parts inventory when it closed Aug. 31, 2017. He’ll move to FCA’s Jefferson North Grand Cherokee factory, but as of August, he still didn’t know what he’d do there.
“For me, this plant was a blessing. It’s history. I’ve met Ralph Gilles a bunch of times and hobnobbed with people I never would have otherwise. And I don’t think too many people can say they helped assemble their own car.”

Off the street, into America's most unusual car factory.






Off the street, into America’s most unusual car factory
Greg Rinehart believes he’s the only person “hired off the street’’ to build Vipers.
The lifelong Detroiter was still fresh from military service when he was hired as a temp at Chrysler’s Mack Avenue Assembly. His foreman was so impressed that he pulled some strings to bring Rinehart to the new Viper line at Conner in 1995.
By the end of Viper’s run, Rinehart was supervising the three people who assembled its V10 and conducting the “cold test”—filling the engine with oil and running 850 diagnostic checks without firing it.
Back in the day, Rinehart’s crew built 47 V10s a week. In the summer of ’17, it was a handful. “I hate that it’s ending. Just about anyplace else (in FCA production), you’re no more than a warm body. Here your responsibility is wider—and your input. I love having worked here. Very proud of it. (Sept. 1) is going to be a very quiet day for me.”

Friends in high places.






Friends in high places
Dave Ironside, a self-described Navy brat originally from Rhode Island, started at Chrysler in 1973, building Chargers at Lynch Road Assembly, which opened in Detroit in 1928 and closed in 1981. He built Lancers, Shadows and Sundances in Sterling Heights, then moved to the original Viper line at VIN 30. Some 30,000 Vipers later, he was responsible for post-assembly quality checks at Conner Avenue.
There, Ironside met Bob Lutz, Jay Leno and dozens more celebrities, and he’s friends with members of the Viper Club.
After 44 years on the line, he plans to go back to Sterling Heights to build the next-gen Ram pickup, but it won’t be the same.
“The central thing is that I love building something I’ll probably never be able to own,” Ironside said. “I’ll settle for the pictures of what we’ve done, I’m fine with that.”

Worse than leaving high school.






Worse than leaving high school
Texcella Evans moved to Conner from Jefferson North Assembly, where her job was essentially one repetitive operation for an entire shift. She did it well nonetheless, with perfect attendance, and in 2012, she jumped at the chance to land a spot on the refired Viper line.
At Conner, Evans moved between three assembly stations, installing the Viper’s rear end, front suspension bits and brake lines and ABS pump. And her stress level was substantially reduced. At Conner, a Viper sat at one station about 100 times longer than a Grand Cherokee does at Jefferson North. Now Evans is headed back to Jefferson North, though she isn’t sure what she’ll do there. She compares the end of Viper to the end of high school, without the anticipation for what comes next.
“Wherever I’m going will be a step down,” she said. “It’s sad, but it just is. It was always supposed to be a five-year run.”

What 90-mile commute?






What 90-mile commute?
Anthony Banks started at Conner shortly after the Viper line opened and shuttered the plant as team leader, final assembly. Through 21 years, he collected autographs from factory visitors and a storeroom full of memorabilia: over 350 die-cast Vipers, remote control models, posters, books, license plate frames. His most prized autographs might be Sergio Marchionne and Evander Holyfield; his favorite Viper is definitely the last generation.
For Banks, there’s a silver lining in Conner’s closing. He hopes to land a spot at an FCA distribution warehouse minutes from his home in Marysville, 45 miles northeast of Detroit. But he’d trade the silver lining to keep his 90-mile commute.
“I’ll be crushed when I drive out of here for the last time, frankly,” he said. “I’ll probably cry. As the minutes tick by, it’s starting to feel like losing a family member.”
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