Detroit - It's the end of the road for the Dodge Viper, the iconic American sports car known for its wild and untamed nature.
Due to slowing sales of the car in the US, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to quit production of the 8.4-litre two-seater coupe. On August 31 the last Viper will roll off the production line of the Connor Avenue assembly plant in Detroit where more than 30 000 Vipers have been built since the car was launched in 1992.
Five special-edition models will be available to commemorate the car’s final, 25th anniversary year in 2017.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne recently said the car was a “labour of love” and that the company, which also owns Italian brands Alfa Romeo and Maserati, has access to other architectures that could be used to develop a car with significantly improved performance.
For a quarter of a century the V10-engined Dodge Viper has left an indelible footprint on America’s sports car landscape with its raw and fire-breathing persona.
The spiritual successor to the legendary Cobra, the Viper made its debut in 1992 as a two-seater retro-styled roadster powered by a huge 8-litre V10 truck engine boasting 298kW. It was built in roadster and coupe body styles and underwent several iterations, culminating in today’s 481kW 8.4-litre version.
The car spawned various special editions including the ACR (American Club Racing), Voodoo and Snakeskin, and the Viper took several victories in GT and endurance racing including class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hour. It also holds lap records at several American circuits.
Production of the Viper was halted in 2010 after Chrysler’s bankruptcy bailout, and revived again in 2013, but this time the production line is closing for good.
Vipers were exported to Europe but never made it to South Africa (excepf for a few private imports) as they were built only in left hand drive.