Time to say goodbye to one of America’s most influential sports cars.
The Dodge Viper has been pronounced dead for some time, but now it’s official. It’s hard to believe one of America’s most influential sports cars is now officially dead. Perhaps we’ve been in denial. Previous reports confirmed that FCA's Detroit-based Conner Avenue Assembly Plant will officially close its doors on August 31. But now it feels more real, because the FCA's Head of Design Ralph Gilles has shared photos of the last ever Viper rolling off the production line on Instagram.
The final Viper is finished in red with chrome wheels and will be displayed at the company’s heritage collection. Photos also show Gilles posing with Dodge and SRT Head of Design Mark Trostle in front of a yellow ACR with black racing stripes which will be the final customer example. The Viper was first introduced in 1992 and lasted five generations. The current generation launched in 2013, but the high cost of hand-building each model meant it struggled to fend off the likes of the Corvette Z06. “The Gen5 had a great 5 model year run and the Viper platform which has not changed that much over the years had a great 25-year run!" Gilles wrote on Instagram.
He added that Vipers "are relatively robust so they will be around making memories for generations to come!" Slow sales didn’t help last year, but new federal safety standards that require side-curtain airbags coming into effect from September 1 was the final nail in the Viper’s coffin since the sports car doesn't comply. Still, at least the Viper got a good send-off. A group of passionate fans recently launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring the Viper back from the dead to attempt a new Nurburgring lap record. Not only did it beat its previous time, it set the fourth fastest time for a road-legal production car. Rest in peace, Viper. It's been nice knowing you.