The much loved Dodge Viper has reached its 24th birthday and to commemorate the event, it seems only right that we take a look over the beast’s history.
The first generation of Viper was the RT/10 Roadster which went on sale in 1992. The engine was the main focus point of the car as it was made by Lamborghini and produced an outstanding 400bhp. The top speed of the RT/10 Roadster was an impressive 165mph but with a fuel consumption of 12mpg, it was very clear that even back then this car was not for the faint hearted.
In 1996, the second generation of Dodge Viper was born. The exhaust was relocated to a single muffler at the rear of the car which exited via two central tail pipes. The reduced back pressure had increased the bhp to 415!
Later in the year of 1996, the GTS was introduced, a new coupe version of the Viper. The GTS became known as the “Double Bubble” due to its slightly raised sections in the roof which were designed to allow the usage of helmets. Despite how similar the GTS appeared, it was in fact 90% new in comparison to the previous model. The engine was the same as the RT/10 but packed 450bhp instead!
Throughout the remaining years of the 90s, a few minor changes would be made and in 1999, the first ACR package was introduced by Dodge. The air intake was redone, the radio and A/C were removed and the suspension was replaced for adjustable shocks.
In 2002, the second generation Viper was removed from the market and Dodge built the ‘Final Edition’ Vipers to commemorate their final year. The ‘Final Edition’ models were painted with red and white stripes as a tribute to the famous Oreca cars.
Enter 2003 and the Viper went under a major redesign and featured sharp and angled bodywork. The Viper SRT-10 was introduced to the market and replaced the GTS and RT/10 models. The engine in the SRT-10 was increased to 8.3L which combined with other upgrades, boosted the output to 500hp.
The second generation SRT-10 was introduced in 2008 and was able to produce 600bhp! The engine inside the car was developed with the help of McLaren and Ricardo Consulting Engineers. Another change came in the form of a new exhaust system, this time there was no crossover which meant that the heat inside the cockpit was dramatically reduced.
In 2009, the Brand President and CEO of Dodge, Ralph Gilles, announced that the Viper would cease production in the summer of 2010. To mark the occasion, several special edition Vipers were announced such as the Voodoo edition which featured special black and red striping.
The SRT Viper was showcased at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Featuring an all-aluminium 8.4L engine which produces 640bhp, Harman Kardon audio system, 4-piston Brembo brakes, bi-xenon projector headlamps, LED daytime running lamps and a whopping top speed of 208mph!
For more articles like this, receive our weekly e-newsletter, including partner deals and all things motoring, register your email below.