Archive for February, 2009

Boy And the Hood

Written by editor on . Posted in Viper Lifestyles, Winter 2009

Everyone came away from VOI.10 in Detroit with something, even if it was just some great memories. However, Dan Mishler, son of WV/PA VCA club member Tom Mishler of Hollsopple, Pa., walked off with something a little more tangible.  Dan won the Viper hood through the random drawing at the Invitational. Now all he needs is the rest of the car to go with it.

Senior Moment

Written by editor on . Posted in Viper Lifestyles, Winter 2009

The graduation photos of high school seniors have certainly come a long way from the old days of posing in front of a white backdrop in the school cafeteria. Linda Thomas, of Sarasota, Fla., is a photographer who has been doing these photos for years, but when her granddaughter was in town from Effingham, Ill., she wanted to do something special.

She said, “We’re Viper people and I wanted to share this photograph. Her name is Macy Koester and as I was doing her senior pictures, this was the photo that she chose.
I know you have a section that prints photographs of people and their Vipers and I thought you might want to use this one. She’ll freak when she sees it.”

Just think how much more often grandchildren would visit if grandma and grandpa owned a Viper.

Lucky 13

Written by editor on . Posted in Viper Lifestyles, Winter 2009

By Alex Ristanovic

If only every event had weather like this. Under blue skies, 78 degrees, and a cool breeze, you couldn’t have a better setting for one of our biggest racing events of the year. This was Viper War XIII—an annual event held by the Illinois VCA.

The setting for this Viper War was the famed Autobahn Country Club. It’s one of the best tracks in the area! Speeds are moderate, the venue is safe and the asphalt is great. While experienced drivers hit the track, novices attended the class at the very beginning of the day.

The day was absolutely magnificent and without a single incident. There were three run groups total and members had quite a few sessions to run the track. Folks certainly got their fill. At the end of the day all the members got together under the tents to present the awards and say their goodbyes.

And last but not least, we crowned our newest Triple Crown winner who went home with a large glass award and the coveted traveling winner’s cup! Our 2008 Triple Crown winner is Howie Frank!

Custom Coincidence

Written by editor on . Posted in Viper Lifestyles, Winter 2009

The Alabama/Tennessee VCA chapter took a Smoky Mountain run one weekend with a combined 30 Vipers from seven states. Things went smoothly along the cruise until a weird coincidence gave everyone pause.

Brett Boyer described the scene: “Along the cruise, we encountered several biker groups on overlook stops. At a meeting point near Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, we noticed that one of the bikers had a custom-painted Harley that matched the Viper my wife Tammy and I were driving. Considering we’re from Huntsville, Ala., and he was from Indianapolis, what are the chances of this color combination meeting on this trip?

Tech You Very Much

Written by editor on . Posted in Viper Lifestyles, Winter 2009

At a recent tech session, Viper ACR Program Manager Mike Shinedling, presented the engineering developments of the new Dodge Viper ACR to VCA Northern California members.  The event was held at Hartzheim Dodge in San Jose, and also included seminars on installing a clear bra, how to remove scratches from your Viper and, of course, Viper tech tips.

Vipers Invade Mackinac

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2009

By Alex Ristanovic

The stage was secretly being set in 2007 as plans to launch a huge gathering of Vipers were in the works. The idea was to create a unique trip centered on the Viper Club with very special events and set at a gorgeous location that would offer a “vacation feel” to members. The venue selected was one of the most beautiful parts of the Midwest—the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in the Mackinac Island area!

The Illinois chapter of the VCA worked with their Michigan brothers at Motor City Viper club to make it happen. The trip would include two car cruises, boat cruise, two car shows, town parade, Mackinac Island trip, casino cruise night, VIP brunch, lighthouse reception and great goodie bags!

This event was also planned around one of the largest annual local car gatherings in the Midwest—The 33rd Annual St. Ignace Car Show. The Vipers would be the feature car in the huge car show and parade! It’s a sight to see. The town literally shuts down and stages the biggest car spectacle around, drawing more than 100,000 spectators and 4,000 cars! This year our very own Roy “Father Viper” Sjoberg (head of the original Team Viper) was the guest of honor! So what better way to show our support than to create a Viper extravaganza that week?

Publicity started early as the local newspapers had front page coverage about the Vipers coming to town! We named the event “Viper Invades Mackinac”—and did we ever! We had a total of 51 cars and 115 members from 10 regions (including Germany) in attendance.

For most VCA members, the big trip began on Wednesday. A few large caravans got together to trek north. For one particular group from Illinois, the drive began slowly, only about 65 mph. But by the time we reached Michigan, blue skies and dry roads led to what might have been the fastest drive to the Upper Peninsula in highway history. We won’t document the speeds here—but next time we’re signing waivers and wearing helmets!

By afternoon, Vipers began to arrive in the area. The initial trip across the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge was a great welcome. St. Ignace began to shake and the familiar rumble of V10s brought smiles to many faces. Our host hotel was the beautiful Harbour Pointe in St. Ignace (just across from Mackinac Island). It’s one of the best hotels in the area, and being right on the lake it provided great views from the balconies. As members checked in, they received great goodie bags filled with “Viper Invades Mackinac” merchandise and a schedule of events.

Members had some time to wash their cars and get ready for the first evening. That night we kicked off our week’s activities with the Lighthouse Pointe reception. This property was a huge venue, protected by thick woods and surrounded by water. Only a small hidden driveway led you through the trees where you were then greeted by the lighthouse staff.

Everyone enjoyed the scenery and grabbed a bite of some fantastic food that was catered in for the gathering. The pier was a popular place for all to congregate and watch the sun set over the water. This was a marvelous place to unwind after a long trip.

Looking back on the day, we realized that it didn’t rain a drop even though the forecast called for some thunderstorms in the area. Strange but lucky, we figured we’d have plenty of rain to come in the next days as the weather forecast looked worse with each day. But this was paradise for now and Day One was in the books!

Thursday began with more arrivals, but for those already in town, the morning and afternoon were reserved for a Mackinac Island day trip. Members flocked to the docks to catch a jet boat and get whisked away to this historic place where the only wheeled vehicles allowed are horse drawn carriages. It was pure serenity. Members were enthralled with the island as the gentle clip-clop from the horses in the distance reminded them of a simpler time.

Many of the club members purchased tour tickets which led them on a group horse-drawn carriage ride throughout the entire island. Some of the stops included historic buildings, 200-year-old cemeteries and beautiful natural wonders. Some stopped at the exclusive Grand Hotel. (You actually have to pay to enter!) While there, a large contingent decided to eat in style at the hotel’s grand buffet—and yes, it was worth it!

Others walked the town to do some souvenir shopping and sample the world famous Mackinac fudge! It was hard to leave, but everyone headed back to the docks to grab a boat back to reality. Again, thoughts turned to the fact that we still didn’t see rain as expected. In fact the early morning gloom was replaced by gorgeous blue skies and puffy clouds as far as the eye could see! Viper Club–2, bad weather–0!

The early evening was upon us and given the beautiful weather (and a fear of future rain storms) a rare photo opportunity was organized in front of the famous Mackinac Bridge. The Vipers caravanned to a scenic park right in front of the massive 5-mile structure. We packed our cars in front of the bridge and took a spectacular panoramic photo that needed four sequential shots just to get all the cars in one photo!

Shortly thereafter we headed off to the next stop which was the Kewadin Casino cruise night and car show. All the Vipers arrived, and we had a great spot right in front of the live music. There were many other classic, modern and custom cars in attendance—but there was no other brand of car anywhere near in number to the Viper.

The band rocked in the background as members perused the cars, grabbed a bite or hit the casino. Following that was a very well organized, police-escorted cruise through town. The Vipers led the parade behind the squad car. Many locals knew of the cruise and collected along the route to see the cars go by.

We arrived back at the casino and, while some retired for the evening, others elected to stay and hit the tables (some actually won money this time). As we looked back on the day, we realized how lucky we were with the weather. But eyes were glued to the weather channel that evening as we witnessed the grimmest forecast yet. Looked like definite rain the next day.

Friday morning brought, you guessed it, more blue skies and sun! Somehow these storms were just missing us. The morning was free time for members and shortly thereafter, everyone drove together to the VIP brunch. Roy Sjoberg was already there, members gathered around to greet him. We posed for pictures with Roy in front of the Team Viper banner. A great sport and gracious gentleman, he also signed commemorative event plaques for all the members of the club. The brunch began and among the many announcements and presentations, Roy was presented with a plaque as the guest of honor this year. He was also presented the key to the city.

With bellies full, our Viper cruise started! All the Vipers met in the parking lot where the brunch took place and away we went! A marvelous cruise took us through back roads and small towns of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We were practically alone on the roads and the group did a great job at staying together. We drove up to Tahquamenon Falls where we visited the gorgeous upper falls. Again, no rain!

We parked our cars, filling one complete section of their lot. Of course many passers-by flocked to the spectacle and kept a good eye on our cars while we were away. Members began the relaxing walk through the preserve to get to the big river. We took our time following the trails and taking pictures along the way. There were several places you could access the falls including an observation deck right alongside. It was a great photo opp and a wonderful outdoor experience for everyone.

People had a chance to buy souvenirs and grab a drink or ice cream before hopping in the cars for the swift ride back. At the hotel, club members freshened up and cleaned their cars for the next event which was going to be really cool!

Cars are a big deal during show time in St. Ignace and they always arrange a huge parade that literally shuts down the streets through downtown. Many people line the streets to watch the cars drive by. We lined up for the parade at the local airport. Now at this point, we had some dark clouds coming and we knew we’d be in for rain. We prepared for the worst and moved on. The vehicles were then staged on the street just in front of the parade route. It was a good chance to take pictures.

The Vipers had their own section of the parade. We were near the front of the parade led by our very own Roy Sjoberg in his red RT/10 and custom mini-Viper trailer. The first two cars were given special permission to do something that for years the parade committee did not allow (due to safety concerns). Special commemorative Viper Frisbees were made by the club and thrown to the spectators from the lead cars. A total of two hundred Frisbees were thrown into the crowd. They absolutely loved it!

Just around the time we were reaching the end of our Frisbee stockpile, it began to drizzle. Tops went up on the Vipers and a heavy rain hit the area. Luckily for our members, we had the best (and driest) seats in the house. It didn’t put a damper on our fun. We finished the parade and most Vipers parked in a nearby lot to watch the rest of the cars and floats go by. By the time the parade was over, the rain was done and we headed back to the hotel. Many members made it a late night at various bars and eateries throughout the downtown area.

The next morning—and our last day—began with the big St. Ignace car show. Now, the day was doomed again as far as the weathermen predicted—and it finally looked like they’d be right this time. Members figured it would be a wash out. Setup began in the early hours and it was gloomy but not raining. Downtown was shut down to all traffic as the streets were converted into a virtual automall of spectacular cars. The Vipers were arranged facing each other on opposite sides of the street; it would make you grin to see. And as always, the Viper club was intent on doing something special for its members.

Several tents were trailered in along with coolers and club signs. Three big tents were setup right behind the cars (we rented the lot), orange cones were placed to keep non-club people out, and huge stand up signs welcomed the VCA members. We had our own show-side chalet!

Vipers continued to arrive and were guided in to their positions. The morning continued to clear as we polished up our cars. And by show time, the sun even began to peek out. The streets slowly began to fill, and by 11 a.m. it was a full blown car show, under open skies and bright sun! No one could believe it. It got even busier as the day progressed because the weather was SPECTACULAR and more visitors filled the streets, you could barely see anything through the sea of folks!

It was a great time. Members wandered among the TWO MILE stretch of cars, vendors and attractions. Lots of folks lounged under the tents to get out of the sun. Folks passing by would look at the large tents and see the signs. They saw that we like to do everything in style!

About 4 p.m we began to pack up and soon, the Vipers fired up and left their spots. We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and prepare for the grand finale!

As always, our group thrives on doing special things. What better way to cap this trip off than with a lake cruise? Better yet, this was a custom chartered two-level boat rented for VCA members only. We arrived at the dock and as members boarded the tour boat, they grabbed drinks and appetizers as the captain slowly backed the ship from the dock.

The beauty of having our own charter was that our club designed the route. We planned an absolutely beautiful cruise that started off with an up-close and personal view of the Mackinac Bridge. The captain took us under the bridge while giving us a narration of some extraordinary facts about the structure.

We then turned around and headed toward Mackinac Island. The boat slowed a bit for a steady ride and it was around this time that dinner was served. The food was great and so was the company! The waters were calm and comfortable and members spent time enjoying the view below or climbed on the observation deck to feel the open air! Cameras never stopped taking photos.

The boat arrived at Mackinac Island and the captain brought us into the bay and turned the boat so that everyone got a great look of the island. He then followed the shoreline, bringing us very close to land. We viewed the beautiful houses, watched the horse drawn carriages and took a ton of pictures!

The captain then brought us past the Mackinac lighthouse and then continued to follow the shore of the island to our next stop. It was around this time that the engines were cut and a short presentation took place. MCVO President Mike Cipponeri and I presented Roy Sjoberg with a special poster signed by all members in attendance on this trip. Roy was touched and he has yet another thing for his walls in the garage.

The engines fired back up and thank yous were extended to all those who helped arrange this great event. But it wasn’t over yet. We passed by the famous Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It was a sight to see from the water (this place is not small). After a slow cruise along the shore, the boat turned around and headed for open water. It couldn’t be a better ending to a fantastic voyage that the more than 100 people made together in the spirit of the club.

The next day you could see (and hear) the Vipers slowly departing in different directions. The energy was great and the people were indeed content with all they experienced. We didn’t just get lucky this trip, we were given a gift! Good planning, great venue, fun events, great people, and near perfect weather created what was probably one of the most unique and diverse Viper Club events done in the Midwest in some time! Hats off to everyone for attending, this was a truly passionate group.

So, would we do something like this again? Well, rumor has it that planning has already started on the 2009 event!! Hint: It’s someplace very different and just as overwhelmingly beautiful—it’ll be worth the trip! Where will it take us? We think you’re going to like it. We’ll just plan on seeing you there!

Alex Ristanovic is the president of the Illinois chapter of the Viper Club of America and a frequent contributor to VIPER Magazine.

Triple Threat

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2009

The folks in the Illinois chapter of the Viper Club of America often joke that the event known as the Longest Day should be renamed the Longest Weekend. The latter might best describe this event which combines three major driving disciplines into one huge two-day affair. Members from all over the Midwest participate in what has become a traditional event that incorporates drag, autocross and road course racing back-to-back-to-back.

Most drive in the day before to grab dinner together and get a good night’s sleep before the next day’s action. The weather was a question (the day before there was a tornado) and some drivers were scared off. But most are made of sturdier stuff as one driver said, “I don’t think a hurricane would stand between us and our track day.”

Day one always begins with a road course event at one of the club’s favorite tracks—Putnam Park in northern Indiana. This year’s event brought out more than two dozen Vipers and a good number of these contained rookie drivers.

Everyone arrived at the track bright and early to find that a nice sunrise was an indicator of good weather for the day. A short drivers’ meeting was held before the action started on the track. Longest Day veterans comprised the first group on the course while the novices sat through some much-needed classroom sessions.

As the day warmed up, so did the lap times. Alex Ristanovic, president of the Illinois VCA and Longest Day competitor said, “It’s just amazing what some of us can do with these cars and it shows what many years of driving experience can do to improve your skill.”

After Putnam Park, the group began their trek to northern Indiana to get to their hotels for the next day. But, as Ristanovic reported, it wasn’t a simple commute. He said, “As we were leaving Putnam, some terrible weather was coming through. It wasn’t more than 20 minutes that the caravans found themselves in the middle of a terrible storm with high speed wind.”

He continued, “The group of people driving Vipers battled the wild storm, even having to stop at times. Power lines were going down, trees were falling on roads, and two semis even tipped over. It was a wild ride! Luckily our group made it though without harm and continued on to our usual two restaurants for an evening’s dinner. I think it’s the first time we talked more about the weather than the day of racing.”

Day two brought everyone to US41 Dragway. The drag racing shootout was scheduled for the morning and the autocross later in the afternoon. However, the weather still remained a threat. Ristanovic said, “In the early morning a very light drizzle began which prevented the drag from starting. After just an hour delay, we began our session. The day progressed with dry conditions and we were able to complete the drag racing portion of the event without incident.”

With all eyes toward the sky, the drivers quickly hit the autocross course. “We started off with five runs each, figuring rain would catch up to us sooner or later,” Ristanovic said. “But by late afternoon we laid in another five runs with no weather problems. We even had sun toward the end of our autocross. Over 15 plaques were awarded to members posting the fastest and most consistent scores across all three events. And our overall winner was Tom Shapiro.”

As part of the closing ceremonies, a refreshing surprise was arranged by one of the Longest Day’s veteran members, Howie Frank. He served up ice cream for everyone at the track. Ristanovic said the treat was the perfect capper to the weekend. “By the end of the two days, folks could indeed say they got their fill of racing, and with this group, that is no easy accomplishment!”

Synchronicity

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2009

The case for a new transmission for the 2008 Viper SRT10® was summed up succinctly by Kevin Stepinski, senior product engineer for SRT® and the person mainly responsible for the Viper drivetrain. “We used to say about the old transmission, ‘You shift the T56 because you have to, not because you want to,’” he explained.

The new TR6060 transmission is the latest evolution of the Tremec T56 six-speed manual that Viper owners know and (conditionally) love. The T56 got the job done, but most Viper owners found it not to be as crisp with its shifting as they would have liked. The folks at SRT knew that if they were going to move the 2008 Viper along toward the 600 hp mark, they would need a new transmission that would be equal to the task.

The TR6060 is more than capable of delivering on that promise. Stepinski pointed out that, although they may look similar, the TR6060 has almost totally different components than the T56. He explained, “There may be two or three parts that are the same, but for the most part, it’s all new. Two of the biggest changes are the wider gears for higher torque capacity and a new synchronizer package.”

The new shifter system results in greatly improved performance. Stepinski said, “The shifter throws are 20 percent shorter than the T56. Going from first to second has been reduced by three-quarters of an inch. That’s a dramatic improvement. The TR6060 is the whole package—there is less free play, reduced shift travel and more shift precision.”

But improved shift quality is just part of the story behind the new TR6060. And part of the development history involves a couple of the Dodge Viper’s archrivals—the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford GT.

Share and Share Alike

The research, testing and development cost that goes into a major component such as a transmission can be daunting—especially when the expense can only be spread out over a limited production such as the Viper’s.

Stepinski said that as SRT was planning to revamp the trans for the Viper, Tremec was already doing work on an upgrade for Ford and Chevy. “We all shared the design and production cost for the TR6060,” he pointed out. “It not only helps keep the overall cost down, it means we can devote more resources to other parts of the Viper.”

The objectives of the new transmission were simply stated, but certainly easier said than done:

  • Support increased torque levels of the new 8.4 liter engine
  • Meet durability standards
  • Improve shift precision
  • Improve driveability and ergonomics

“In order to accomplish these goals, everything had to be re-evaluated and redesigned,” Stepinski said. “One of the biggest changes was in the synchronizer designed. The old T56 had a double cone for 1–2 and a single cone for 3–6. The TR6060 has a triple cone for 1–2 and a double cone for 3–6. These enhancements reduce friction and improve engagement feel.”

Of course, the changes didn’t stop there. The TR6060 has gears that are 10 percent wider than its predecessor which gives the new trans a higher torque capacity. The shorter travel of the synchronizers makes extra space available for the use of stronger, wider gears.

The addition of wider gears is made possible through the use of special fine-pitch teeth synchronizers. Stepinski said, “Basically it means that there are now three teeth where there used to be two. This enables the driver to make quicker shifts. Skip shift and reverse solenoids are similar to the T56, but the heavier springload keeps you from shifting into reverse when you don’t want to.”

The TR6060 is 10mm longer than the T56 and the front adaptor is thicker. There is also improved case structural thickness which improves stiffness. The shifter has also been rotated forward to compensate for the extra length. The front cover casting has been strengthened with a larger input shaft bearing. “Some of these changes contributed to increased weight (the TR6060 is six pounds heavier than the T56) and, although this is not desirable, in this instance we think it was definitely worthwhile,” Stepinski explained.

More Drivetrain Enhancements

Throwing in a new transmission without reworking the rest of the drivetrain would not give SRT the performance improvements it was looking for. So there was a lot more work to be done.

The clutch and flywheel first came under close scrutiny. A small diameter, low inertia Sachs twin-disc design replaced the old large diameter single-disc clutch. The smaller, more compact design resulted in an 18 percent reduction in rotating inertia.

Torque capacity is more than 600 lb-ft and the improved design leads to reduced clutch pedal efforts and improved engagement feel. The clutch hydraulic system uses a revised slave cylinder mated to a clutch master cylinder and adjustable pedals, so the driver can achieve maximum performance and comfort.

The 2008 Viper SRT10 propshaft has a new larger slip yoke—from 47.879mm–47.904mm, although the overall length is the same as the 2003–2006 model years. The old yoke was 42.659mm–42.710mm.

There is also an all-new GKN ViscoLok speed sensing rear differential. With its 4-pinion design, the ViscoLok diff has a viscous shear pump and the sealed unit means quicker response time and fewer temperature effects. Stepinski pointed out, “Overall, the GKN differential gives the Viper faster response to traction transients, progressive and linear lockup characteristics under limited handling conditions and improved corner exit traction. In other words, it provides excellent vehicle dynamics characteristics.”

Stepinski added, “With this new differential, there’s an extremely quick response time. There’s no one-wheel peel, no delay and no leakage. It grips, it’s fast—so you better be ready.”

The 6-speed TR6060 uses Mopar® ATF+4® lubricant and is certified “fill-for-life,” requiring no fluid changes. The clutch is activated hydraulically, which automatically compensates for clutch disc wear, eliminating manual adjustments. The lower viscosity means there is reduced parasitic loss and it runs cooler. The Tremec TR6060 has evolved to a point that it requires virtually no maintenance in all but the most severe conditions.

And there’s even more good news about the TR6060 transmission—it’s not just for 2008 and beyond Vipers. Stepinski explained, “With just a few modifications, the TR6060 will fit in the 2003–2006 Vipers. Mopar is coming up with a kit next year, starting with the flywheel—so that it will be easy for anyone interested to make the switch. It should just drop right in.”

Pub Crawling UK Style

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2009

By Paul Lacey

One of the most exciting experiences a Viper owner can enjoy is driving on any road in the world and suddenly spotting a Viper in the traffic. This was situation as I was on my way to the UK’s first meet of the year. Travelling through roadworks on the M1 motorway at the prescribed 50 mph (converted from kph for our American audience–Ed.), I spotted a flash of red, then red with white stripes, then blue with white—wow! Being conscious of the camera-enforced speed limit, I took a chance by speeding up bit by bit and gradually caught the convoy and tagged on the back.

For those Americans who have never visited a British pub, they are a bit like having a drink and meal in your own home. Our destination—the Fancott Arms in Luton—was no exception with good home cooked meals, fine wines and especially that funny English beer. Fancote Arms was the perfect location to host our first Viper meet of the year which was superbly organized by Barry and Sam Adams for the last five years.

The strange thing is all the UK women really look forward to this event. If you have seen the movie, “The Witches of Eastwick,” you will understand a circle of attractive women sitting round drinking wine and coffee. All that was missing was the caldron in the center to make the scene complete.

Meanwhile the boys were outside talking superchargers, exhausts, brakes, etc. As always happens throughout the world in many languages and whatever the car, the women eventually drag themselves from the pub into the cold to support the men. A special treat was a phone call from Tator Dodge in New York. Chuck Tator called to speak with our guests on Viper-related issues.

Our biggest surprise was a 10-year-old boy whose mother drove 75 miles after having spotted information about our meet on the Viper forum. The youngster was such a Viper nut that Neil Brown just had to give both him and the boy’s sister the ride of their lives in their favorite car. Of course, giving to others seems to come naturally to Viper owners throughout the world.

Shortly after noon, we enjoyed a healthy lunch followed by more talking about the cars outside while the women gathered again for coffee. After a brief rain shower and a sprint to the comfort and warmth of the pub, goodbyes were said, kisses exchanged and we headed for home. But guess what? On the way home in the distance a couple of Viper owners spotted a flash of white with blue stripes and, in keeping with the tradition of Vipers around the world, sped up to form the caravan home.

Viper owners are still basking in the glow of the Viper Owners Invitational held in Detroit.

Written by editor on . Posted in Letters, Winter 2009

Classic Celebration

What a blast! I have to admit, I wasn’t totally pumped up when I heard VOI.10 was being held in Detroit—but I’ve never been so happy to be proven wrong. From the first-class accommodations at the Motor City Hotel, to the tour of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant to our cruise along the Detroit River, the event was just one highlight after another.

My thanks to Dodge, the VCA and all the sponsors who made VOI such a success. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we see an announcement for VOI.11 someday soon.

Max Falzone

Charlotte, N.C.

Relief At Last

I purchased my Viper (a 2003 convertible) about six months ago and while it has been a source of tremendous pleasure, it has also led to a lot of frustration. I mean, when I get to 70 mph in the first three gears, what am I supposed to do with the other three? The car wants to go, but I had to keep reigning it in. That was, at least, until the Viper Owners Invitational.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be able to take my Viper out on the road course at the Chelsea Proving Grounds or on the drag strip at Milan. Finally, my Viper was able to do what it was meant to—go fast! I wanted to add, however, how much fun the Caliber SRT4® head-to-head challenge was. Those cars are incredible. I attached a photo my wife took. You don’t need a Viper to have fun—but it sure helps.

Ted Cooke

Hillsdale, Mich.

The Best Ever

I’ve been to a number of Viper Owners Invitationals in the past, but for a number of reasons, I’ve missed the last few. So I didn’t really know what to expect when I came to Detroit for VOI.10. I know things haven’t been great in the auto industry in general and at Chrysler and Dodge in particular, so I was wondering if all the outside pressures would cast a pall on the proceedings. I’m happy to say the Viper Nation didn’t let me down.

The Viper ownership group is truly a special collection of people. You can put together all the racing events and banquets you want, but if you don’t enjoy the people you’re with, what’s the point? The people who own Vipers and drive Vipers are among the friendliest and nicest folks in the world. Being with them in Detroit made me realize what a mistake it has been for me to miss any of these special events. If there’s a VOI.11, let me know. I’ll be there.

Greg Hite

Huntingdon, Pa.

CORRECTION

Due to an editorial oversight, the Steering Angle column in the Fall 2008 issue of VM contained text that was not approved by Kipp Owen. VIPER Magazine apologizes for the error.

May the Force Be With You

There are a lot of reasons to go to VOI, but for someone like me who doesn’t like to race my Viper (my baby is too precious to subject to that kind of punishment), I find pleasure in other areas. The biggest kick I get is from seeing the hundreds of Vipers, in a blaze of color, all parked together in one place. I took this photo at the parking corral on Belle Isle before the Detroit Grand Prix and I think it’s a good example of what I’m talking about. Seeing these Vipers out in force sends a message to everyone who wanders by—there’s nothing like a Viper.

Bruce Renton

Cincinnati, Ohio

One Question

OK, I made it back home from VOI and have finally settled down into my day-to-day routine. There’s just one thing I want to know—when is the next one?

Paul Widman

Boca Raton, Fla.

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