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Untouched 1996 Dodge Viper Crate Motor Has An Unbelievable Story Behind It

A technician's mistake over two decades ago means a brand new first-generation Viper engine could be yours.
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The first-generation Dodge Viper was one of the most American cars ever built. At its core, it was an unforgiving, obscenely powerful roadster powered by an 8.0-liter V10 producing 400 horsepower. Many of these engines are still chugging away under the long hoods of original Vipers, but one was never installed in one of the classic sports cars. It’s currently for sale on Bring-A-Trailer, and it has an incredible story behind it.

The engine was delivered to a Dodge dealership in 1996, but there was no Viper there to receive it. Allegedly, a dealer employee was attempting to order a tube of red touch-up paint for a customer’s car. As it happens, he messed up a digit in the part number. That alleged mistake meant he didn’t order any paint, but instead a fully-dressed Viper engine. It was dutifully delivered as the employee specified. It was not returned to the automaker, and despite having passed through a few owners, it’s never actually been installed in a car after all these years.

Its current owner obtained the engine in 2021 and has decided to sell it. It has never run, and it still turns over fine. It doesn’t appear to be leaking anything from the included images. Having spent its whole life indoors in California, we can worry a little less about the ages of some of the seals and gaskets.

The engine has been more or less ready to install in a car since it was delivered to the dealership in the 1990s. It not only has a complete front dress, intake manifold, and exhaust manifolds, but it also has a clutch, pressure plate, and ignition system already installed as well. It’s been mounted to a custom stand for many years, although the original plastic crate it was shipped in is also included in the sale.

If you want an original untouched Viper engine, this is probably gonna be one of the only opportunities to get one. The engine was delivered to the dealer at a cost of around $10,000 in 1996. As of writing, the V10 has been bid up to $5,000, with 7 days left to go.

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