Yesterday at the Connor Avenue Assembly Plant, the final Dodge Viper was completed. Forgive us for being sentimental here, but the Viper has been a part of our magazine since its inception. From its beginning in the 80’s as a collaboration between two legends, Lee Iacocca and Carroll Shelby gave Americans another choice for a domestic supercar. I have always been a Chevy fan, but my eyes were opened by the mean snake when Hulk allowed us to take the 1993 Hulkster around the country.
Sure we’ve had late model examples here also, and each one has stayed true to its roots. Every Viper has a big naturally aspirated V10 engine. It essentially an evolution of the 440 Magnum, so it revs quickly and makes power from 500 rpm to past 5,000. A brutal clutch pedal is also a trademark, but it is predictable and easy to launch. The Viper doesn’t have stability control, active differential, or an optional automatic transmission. It has a steering wheel, short throw six-speed shifter and more grip than you will ever need. Fiat Chrysler is trying to focus on Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati in the US, so they can no longer justify the hand-built beast or it’s dedicated assembly plant. Posing in for a photo opportunity, FCA VP Ralph Gilles uploaded a few shots to his Instagram page:
The skilled workers of Connor Avenue Assembly face an uncertain future, and Dodge dealers have lost the centerpiece of their showrooms. The Viper died at 25, a shame if you ask us. As you are reading this, the final new Dodge Vipers are on their way, so check with our dealers before they are gone forever.
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