About Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper (renamed ‘SRT Viper’ as of 2012) is a V10-powered sports car, manufactured by the Dodge division of Chrysler. Production of the two seat hyper car began at New Mack Assembly in 1991 and moved to its current home at Conner Avenue Assembly in October 1995.
Although Chrysler considered ending production because of financial problems, chief executive Sergio Marchionne announced and showed on September 14, 2010 a new model of the Viper for 2012. All Vipers are V10 powered with a manual transmission.
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, 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 for sports car use in May. The production body was completed in the fall, with a chassis prototype running in December. Though a V8 engine 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.