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Icon’s Jonathan Ward Explores the Gritty Underbelly of the Dodge Viper ACR

An expert look at what makes Dodge's legendary sports car tick.

On track, the Dodge Viper ACR is a weapon. Back in 2015 it racked up lap records at 13 different race tracks. It’s a career highlight for the long-lived and unlikely sports car—and likely its swan song, as production is slated to end this year. To get a look at what made the Viper such a high-performance savant, we sent Alex Roy to another ICON—the sprawling workshop of custom car builder Jonathan Ward.

From within the ICON shop, deep in the bowels of the San Fernando Valley, Ward and Roy won’t be trying out any of the heroics that cemented the Viper ACR’s legend. Instead, they’ll get it up on the lift and see what makes it tick. There’s that radical wing, of course, and six-piston ceramic Brembo brakes. Under the sprawling carbon hood is a massive, 645-horsepower V-10 engine. But nobody knows better than an expert builder that parts alone don’t tie a car together.

As Ward finds out, the ACR isn’t the rowdy, tail-happy machine Vipers are reputed to be. So how did Dodge take on the world with a car that can be had for a little over six figures? It takes a good look, and a lot of hard-earned know-how to piece it all together.

Video shot by Chris Cantle, produced and edited by Cait Knoll.