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Greg's List: Dodge Viper
By Greg Warner

Classic Car Articles by Greg Warner

The Dodge Viper RT/10 was introduced to rave reviews in 1989 at the NAIA Show (North American International Auto Show) in Detroit and was quickly rushed into production shortly thereafter. Designed by a hand-selected group of engineers, nicknamed "Team Viper", they began development, in March of 1989, of what would soon become the production vehicle. Their goal was to create a new "American" made 2-seater, sports car, which would be steeped in traditional, iconic designs of such cars as the Anglo-American AC Cobra and could go from zero to 100 mph and back to zero in under 15 seconds. Oh and of course, could compete with the dominating and legendary Chevrolet Corvette. Even the seasoned legend, Carroll Shelby, was involved with initial design cues and even more-so when the GTS Coupe was introduced in 1996. The Dodge Viper would be considered, at least internally at Chrysler Corporation, a modernized version of the infamous "Cobra" from days gone by. Lamborghini, at the time a Chrysler subsidiary, was requested to help develop an aluminum-block, V10 engine (Dodge currently had a cast-iron blocked, V10 engine available in their line of pickups which was too heavy) for use in the new sports car. They pushed to ready a pre-production unit, to use as the Pace Car for the 1991 Indianapolis 500, which was actually driven by the one-and-only Carroll Shelby himself.

The 1st generation Dodge Viper (1992 to 1995) had a front mounted engine with rear wheel drive and 4-wheel independent suspension. It was a conglomeration of muscular looking, sleek, low, wide, fast, nimble, powerful, pull almost a "G" force in the corners in stock form on those fat, low-profile tires and capture your stare with those sexy curves that seemed to be never-ending! Wow, what a beast of beauty to behold for all the car lovers of the world or anyone with a pulse for that matter.

The modernized, resin transfer molding (or "RTM"), fiberglass body panels are wrapped around a sturdy, tubular steel frame. As modern as the 1st generation Dodge Viper was in many respects, it was also primitive in some areas, such as no roll-up windows, but a pair of fabric-trimmed, flexible, zipper-up, clear plastic windows could be put into place where glass might usually have been. No roof, but again, a flexible "soft roof" was available, which was mainly useful only for inside storage. No outside door handles, you actually had to reach inside to open the doors, in order to climb into the cockpit! All these exclusions, of seemingly commonplace creature comforts of the day (save for maybe on a soft-top Jeep CJ, YJ or Wrangler), were eliminated in order to keep weight to a minimum. No traction control or ABS brakes were available either! All this "dieting" helped the 3,284 pound, 400 hp, V10, 488 c.i., six-speed manual transmission, Dodge Viper achieve a zero to 60 time of 4.3 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds with a maximum speed in excess of 180 mph!

This featured Viper is offered by Coastal Custom Automotive in Costa Mesa, CA and only has 517 miles on it! You can reach them @ 714-374-2283 for more information on this awesome car and/or many others they offer for sale!

Quiz of the week: What memorable Tom Hanks movie grossed over 300 million dollars at the box office in 1994? (And also won him over 7 prestigious awards for his performance, including Best Actor Oscar from the 67th Academy Awards!)

Answer: Forrest Gump

Thanks for reading and continue to enjoy our growing industry and beloved hobby of automotive admiration!

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