Learn the History of the Dodge Viper

Dodge Viper has slightly changed through the years, but one thing has always been the same - that massive V-10.

Donut Media

This week's "Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed" video by Donut Media features the Dodge Viper. The Viper's impact on the car world spans 25 years. It was almost killed off twice and still came back swinging. Donut Media's host, James Pumphrey, gives you the background on the American-icon of a car. 

The Viper was the brain child of Chrysler president at the time, Bob Lutz. The same Bob Lutz who is credited with helping create BMWs M division, as well as working for Ford before Chrysler and General Motors after his stint at Chrylser. Lutz enlisted the help of Tom Gale at Chrysler Design and in 1989, at the North American International Auto Show, they debuted a concept car which arrived with huge customer demand. The first generation Viper was released in 1992, featuring an 8.0 liter V-10 putting out 400 horsepower and 465 foot pounds of torque. This Viper was stripped of any unnecessary components. It had no air conditioning, no power-locks, no door handles, no roof, and no windows. At the time, Chrysler owned Lamborghini which allowed some cross pollination of knowledge as the Viper 8.0 liter V-10 was cast in aluminum alloy with help from Lamborghini to save weight.

Danny Korecki

In 1996, Dodge released the second generation of the Viper. Little changed, though a roof was added as well as door handles. However, in 1999 the Viper received its most noticeable change. Dodge released the Viper with the American Club Racer package which featured BBS wheels, Koni suspension, as well as a 5-point race harness for the track. Around this time, Dodge created a GTS-R version of their GTS model. Dodge found racing success using the GTS-R working with French group Oreca racing in events such as the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Something the video does not touch on is that the Viper was the star of a TV show. From 1994-1999, the Dodge Viper was the star car on the NBC television series, Viper

In 2003, the Viper retained a bulkier design but lost 100 pounds of weight while adding 50 hp. From 2003-2005, the Viper was only available as a convertible, but in 2006 a coupe was again available. There were no 2007 Dodge Vipers produced.

Viper returned again in 2008 and this time was available with up to 600 hp in ACR trim. In 2009, CEO Ralph Gilles, announced that the Viper would end production.

Chrysler was not done with the Viper and in 2013 under the branding of SRT, Chrysler released the SRT Viper packing 640 hp and 600 foot pounds of torque. The SRT brand only lasted two years and in 2015 the Viper was again re-named the Dodge Viper. This generation held-on to the multiple trims Viper fans know such as the GTS and ACR, but released a new Time Attack trim. A fun fact I did not know before watching the video is that the Dodge Viper ACR's huge rear wing is 1776 millimeters long, because America!

Check out the video below and get more of the details.