The End of an Era: Viper Ending Production

In 1998 a friend purchased a used 1994 Dodge Viper. I’d never seen a Viper in person, and the car took my breath away. Its glistening red paint and exotic curves were unlike anything I’d seen on a car before.

I got more than my fair share of seat time in that car and am even proud to say I got at least one “Viper Kiss,” the infamous burn on the calf from the exhaust pipes mounted just under the doors.

As time went on, my taste in cars shifted more toward German engineering, but the Viper always held a special spot in my car-loving heart.

Next month the Viper, which has had a tumultuous past couple of years, will cease production and fade into the past as a relic of a gas-fueled era. Continue reading >>>

Bye-Bye, Viper! Thanks for the Adventures

2016 Dodge Viper SRT GTS in competition blue

I can’t say I’ll miss the Viper.

About 15 years ago a friend of mine had a 1994 version that we enjoyed flinging along twisty back roads. The car was fun, and we got lots of attention (and third-degree calf burns from the ill-placed exhaust). The Viper was perfect for young adults in the late 1990s, but it doesn’t have a place now.

FCA has realized that fact, too, and come 2017, the venerable Viper will end production. There is no replacement car in the works.

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Chrysler Wants Original Vipers Destroyed

1992 Dodge Viper Coupe prototype

Heading to the crusher

I checked my phone after the familiar buzz in my pocket. With the swipe of my thumb, the sexy rear end of an SRT Viper popped up in my text messages.

My lovely girlfriend, on her way home from work, sent the text along with a brief message asking about the car. That quick text led to a lengthy conversation about the Viper, why it’s no longer called a Dodge, and the history of the devastatingly powerful car.

Being a Porsche purist, she was only mildly impressed, but left our talk with a healthy dose of respect for the brute. Enough respect, anyway, to shed a tiny tear when we read last night that Chrysler has ordered the destruction of up to 93 vintage Vipers.

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Could That Used Car Be a Classic Car?

1994 Dodge Viper

When listening to the classic rock station, I’m accustomed to hearing music from Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. So when a Metallica song came on the other day, I thought the station switched without my consent. When I realized the channel was still locked firmly on classic rock, I had a small tantrum.

“Metallica is NOT classic rock,” I said to myself. “I listened to Metallica as a teenager, just a few short… umm… oh man, 15-20 years ago.”

Holy moly, it’s true. Metallica are now considered a classic rock band.

Today I’m having the same realization about cars.

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Used Dodge Viper: Real or Fake?

Dodge Viper based on Corvette

If you want a used Dodge Viper, you should just buy yourself a Dodge Viper.

The car has a strong, loyal following thanks in part to its storied past, which began with a combination effort between Chrysler and Lamborghini. Yes, it’s true, the Viper’s famous V10 engine has roots with the Raging Bull.

Lamborghini, owned by Chrysler from 1987 to 1993, was charged with modifying Dodge’s iron V10 truck engine into something suitable for a performance roadster. The resulting engine weighed over 700 pounds, but included cast aluminum heads, produced 400 hp and propelled the first generation Viper to 60 miles per hour in 4.0 seconds.

The Viper gained a reputation for being a spartan ride, but also a brute force in performance.

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2013 SRT Viper Priced, Ford FF Racer Could Offer Alternative

2013 SRT Viper

There are two ways to build thrilling performance-wielding sports cars:

1. Go big, powerful and fast.

2. Go light, turbocharged and fast.

In the first category, we have cars like the Corvette and Viper. The second category has been limited to cars from Lotus and, even more obscure, Ariel.

Typically the American automakers prefer category 1, but Ford may dive into category 2 with a competitor to the Ariel Atom. That news comes as Chrysler has announced pricing on the new SRT Viper.

Two vastly different ideas for cars with a common purpose: speed.

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The Incredible Legacy of Carroll Shelby

1967 Shelby Cobra

Carroll Shelby: Chicken farmer.

Carroll Shelby: Chili entrepreneur.

Carroll Shelby: Race driver.

Carroll Shelby: Car designer.

Word spread quickly when the automotive world lost an icon late last week. Of course, car people knew Carroll Shelby as the legend behind the Shelby Cobra and, later, the Shelby Mustang. The one-time chicken farmer had more than a half-dozen successful careers during his long life, though, including racing-team owner, automobile manufacturer, automotive consultant, safari-tour operator, storyteller, chili entrepreneur and philanthropist.

But, of course, it’s the cars that made him a legend.

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Next Dodge Viper: Small and Lean or Big and Brash?

2013 Dodge Viper test mule

The BMW M3 will lose its V8 in favor of a turbo six.

The vaunted BMW M5‘s V10 engine has been pared down to a twin-turbo V8.

Mercedes-Benz will develop a straight 6 and replace its 6.3-liter V8 engines with a 5.5-liter turbo 8.

Yes, the theme of the day is downsizing. Automakers across the board are using smaller engines to develop more power and deliver better fuel economy. It’s true in everything from the monster super-sedans to the Ford F-150 and its EcoBoost V6.

There’s one brash automaker, though, that may have decided to buck the trend of going small and plans to reinvent an icon in the only way it knows how: with a crazy big engine.

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