It’s Official: The Dodge Viper Will Die in 2017
FCA to see the V-10-powered monster off with five special edition models.
Grab the hankies, folks: The Dodge Viper has officially been marked for extinction at the age of 25. Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles announced on Tuesday that 2017 will be the final model year for the legendary sports cars.
The news may be tragic, but it doesn't come as a tremendous surprise. The Viper's bespoke chassis and gas-sucking naturally-aspirated engine have rendered it somewhat anachronistic in an era dominated by platform sharing and forced-induction engines. And with cars representing an ever-smaller percentage of the carmaker's sales, dedicating the entire 75-person assembly line at Detroit's Connor Avenue Assembly plant to an expensive sports car that sells in a fraction of the numbers seems like an increasingly poor financial decision.
FCA management has been priming the pump for this flood of sorrow for a while now. The latest United Auto Workers contract did not promise any vehicle would be built in the Connor Avenue assembly plant past 2017. The carmaker's famously loose-lipped CEO Sergio Marchionne also mentioned that the car was unlikely to survive back in January. "Every economic analysis that we’ve carried about keeping that vehicle in its current architectural state alive don’t add up," he said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
In proper Mopar fashion, Dodge and SRT will see the Viper off with a series of limited-production, special-edition models, celebrating some of the high points of the car's storied history with custom liveries and lots of badging:
—The Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR, a white-and-blue homage to the special edition Dodge released to celebrate the Viper winning the 1997 FIA GT2 championship, outfitted with carbon-ceramic brakes, American flag decals on the B-pillars, and the Extreme Aero Package, brah
—The Viper 1:28 Edition ACR, celebrating that time Randy Pobst set a production car lap record of 1 minute, 28.65 seconds around Laguna Seca in a 2016 Viper ACR by offering a black-and-red exterior, ceramic brakes, the aforementioned Extreme Aero Package, and a whole bunch of "1:28 Edition" badges
—The Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC, clad in Snakeskin Green with a snakeskin-patterened stripe and a custom car cover matching the exterior paint, because somebody at Dodge clearly doesn't believe in good taste
—The Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR, a black car with a gray stripe, the Extreme Aero Package, exterior side decals, and an intentionally misspelled name that pays tribute to the little-remembered 2010 Viper Voodoo Edition
—The Dodge Dealer Edition ACR, a white car with red and blue stripes only available through Tomball Dodge of Texas and Roanoke Dodge of Illinois, because they have been the two dealerships with the highest volume of Viper sales, and a special-edition car is Dodge's equivalent of a gold watch for a job well done
Marchionne has suggested the Viper could return at some future date on a shared FCA platform, even offering "significantly improved performance" in the bargain. But we're willing to bet most Viper die-hards would rather see their beloved serpent left in the ground than resurrected on a Ghibli platform with a small-displacement twin-turbo engine under the hood.