The Dodge Viper is a two-seater sports car, the most powerful production car made by Dodge.
The car was developed as a modern AC Cobra and also has a certain amount of muscle car heritage in its distinctive aggressive styling. The basic shape was displayed as a concept car in early 1989 and the first prototype was tested in December 1989. The first car was first offered for sale in January 1992 as the RT/10 Roadster.
The RT/10 has an aluminium V10, 7990 cc engine developed by Lotus from a Dodge V8. The engine produces 400 bhp and 664 Nm of torque and consumes fuel at a rate of 21 miles per gallon when driven sedately. The body is a tubular steel frame with resin transfer molding (RTM) fiberglass panels. Unusually for modern performance cars it has a classic layout with a front mounted engine driving the rear wheels; it is also heavy with a curb weight of 1,488 kg and lacks many modern driver aids such as traction control. Despite these characteristics, in straight line performance it can complete a quarter mile in 12.9 seconds and had a maximum speed of 264 km/hr.
Later models increased engine power, the 1999 GTS had a 450 bhp engine and could complete the quarter mile 0.7 seconds faster and had an extra 35 km/hr or so of top speed. A number of third party firms modify the car to boost performance, for example Hennessey Motorsports sell a Viper with a 650 bhp engine at a bit more than double the Dodge list price.
Dodge raced a version of the Viper in the FIA GT-2 Manufacturers World Championship, winning the Overall Series in 1997.
In the first six years of production almost 10,000 Vipers were sold.
see also the Dodge Car list