Twenty-five years after its debut, the Dodge Viper prepares to drive into the sunset.
Dodge’s supercar will soon be no more. This week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced that 2017 will be the final year for the Viper, a lusty two-seater and a stalwart competitor to such models as the Porsche 911, Audi R8, Nissan GT-R, Jaguar F-Type and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
Rumored to be on the chopping block for the past year, FCA confirmed what many had feared: Production of America’s fastest supercar was coming to an end. The news followed vague assurances made by the company’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, earlier this year that “a new version of a Viper will eventually — may eventually — surface.”
The Viper’s demise can be attributed largely to federal regulations. Specifically, all new cars must be outfitted with side curtain air bags by 2018. That’s a cost FCA can’t justify as the Dodge Viper is built in such small numbers. In 2015, just 676 units were sold in the U.S.
To mark the Viper’s 25th anniversary and final year of production, Dodge will close out with five exclusive limited-edition models. Customers can begin ordering their special 2017s on June 24, 2016. Each model will have a serialized dash panel and each customer will be able to display his or her name above the driver’s side door.
1. Viper 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer) – This model is a tribute to the current Laguna Seca single-lap record of 1:28.65 set by Randy Pobst in October 2015. This version has a black exterior, a painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, 1:28 decaling and is equipped with an extreme aero package and carbon ceramic brakes. Dodge will limit the production of the 1:28 Edition to just 28 units and charge $138,795 for one.
2. Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR – One of the most classical Viper models of all-time is one based on the white and blue 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition. Like the 1:28 Edition, this one includes an extreme aero package and carbon ceramic brakes. It adds an exterior carbon package, special decaling and an ACR interior with red stitching. Production will be limited to 100 units and the price has been set at $140,245.
3. Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR – The VoooDoo ACR is back! Based on the original VooDoo ACR model released in 2010, the current version features a black exterior and a graphite metallic ACR driver’s stripe with a red tracer outline. This model gets the extreme aero package, carbon ceramic brakes, decaling, badging and an ACR interior with silver accent stitching. Dodge will restrict production to no more than 31 units and price it at $136,095.
4. Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC – Offered as a tribute to the original Snakeskin, the current portrayal has a unique snakeskin stripe. This model features a new Snakeskin Green patina, special badging, an advanced aerodynamics package and a GT black interior. The previous version was limited to just 31 units; the 2017 version will be restricted to 25 and cost $113,795.
5. Viper Dodge Dealer Edition ACR – The final model in the fivesome will be limited to 33 copies and offered by just two dealers — Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Illinois. The pair was selected as they are the highest volume Viper dealers anywhere. This model has a Viper white exterior with a Competition Blue center stripe and an Adrenaline Red driver stripe. All models come with carbon ceramic brakes, an extreme aero package, an ACR interior with red accent stitching and ACR badging. No price has been set yet.
Customize Your Dodge Viper
Beyond the 217 units allocated for the five special editions, all other 2017 Viper shoppers can customize their builds, choosing any one of 16,000 exterior colors, 24,000 custom stripe colors, 11 wheel options, 16 interior trims, and multiple aero, brake, and suspension options. In all, Dodge says that there are more than 50 million ways for Viper buyers to build their sports cars.
All 2017 Dodge Vipers are powered by an 8.4-liter V10 engine with an output of 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. The latter figure is unmatched by any other naturally aspirated vehicle in the world. This model offers a six-speed manual transmission, electronic multistage stability control, traction control and an all-new four-channel antilock brake system.
You’ll pay about $90,000 for a standard model plus a $2,600 gas-guzzler tax and a $2,495 destination charge.
The Long Farewell
In all, the Dodge Viper experienced three generational changes and has been hand-built at two Detroit factories: Mack Avenue Assembly Plant (1992-1994) and Conner Avenue Assembly plant (1995 to present). It also skipped 3 model years and was sold briefly as the SRT Viper.
To date, more than 30,000 models have been produced, but we may not have seen the last of it. With Ferrari and Maserati also part of the vast Fiat Chrysler dominion, a Viper return is always possible.