Author Archive

The Real Vipers of Orange County

Written by editor on . Posted in Summer 2009

By Juli Polak

Skeeter Todd, NY/CT VCA Mid-New York events director, is credited for organizing an amazing event at the Orange County Chopper shop. Yes, THE Orange County Choppers. The amazing thing? There were 87 Vipers in attendance that day in Newburgh, N.Y. The Teutuls were unveiling a Dodge HEMI® Chopper to promote the new Dodge HEMI Ram Truck.

Vipers came from all over the Northeast—Maryland, Virginia … hundreds of us attended. No two Vipers seemed to be alike, except two owned by brothers “Matt and Mike” who had matching black 2008 ACRs they both will track. It really was amazing to see that many Vipers supporting the VCA and Dodge, as we want the Viper to continue. Mike Davi took an awesome picture of Paul Teutul riding the newly-unveiled bike through a sea of Vipers.

Also in attendance were CitySnake’s beautiful 2008 SRT,® Bob Carroll’s one-of-one gorgeous 2008 ACR, and Chuck Tator, also known as the “Viper Wizard,” showing the traffic ticket he received while trying to lead the pack to the event. Dan Dibner, AKA “Damn Yankee,” created a poster to go with Mr. Tator’s ticket. The poster is a testament to the abundance of humor, camaraderie, fun and not-so-serious talk when this group gets together.

The day ended with a delicious luncheon at Torches on the Hudson River. Our return trip to Albany, N.Y., proves that a Viper can slither just fine in the rain.

Hook ‘Em Horns

Written by editor on . Posted in Summer 2009

By George Farris

About a year ago, all was going well for a car guy like Bunky Preston of Amarillo, Texas. He had a 2002 Yellow Viper RT/10 and a 2001 Burnt Orange Prowler. Of course, being an avid Texas Longhorn fan, the Prowler was indeed the right color.

Like many Viper fans, Bunky’s neat and orderly world changed when Dodge introduced the 2008 Viper with 600 hp and all those different colors. It was more than Bunky could take. He desperately wanted the very Viper Orange to keep true to the Longhorns, but that would be one of the last colors available and he didn’t want to put his desire on hold for that amount of time.

So studying the colors again, Bunky decided to go with a Snakeskin Green coupe with white stripes. It turned out to be a stunner. The car has been a hit all over Amarillo and even down in Austin at the Hill County Cruises this past summer.

But since he was still affected by Longhorn fever, the orange car became too much to resist. So Bunky did what any self-respecting Viper fan would do—he ordered up another Viper. This one is very Viper Orange with white stripes. As neat as his garage was before, it is super neat now with those two beautiful 600 hp beasts!

In the photos with the new Vipers are Bunky and his daughter, Austin. No surprise there. After all, being a Longhorn fan, no way was she going to be named Ann Arbor, South Bend, Coral Gables or Tuscaloosa.

Fantastic Vehicle

Written by editor on . Posted in Letters, Summer 2009

Fantastic Vehicle

In reading your recent issue of VM (Winter 2009), I was impressed and most thrilled to see the display of personalized license plates from various states.

Thereupon, I took a picture of my 2003 Viper SRT10®’s rear license plate to submit for your consideration in a subsequent publication.

Furthermore, it has been one of the greatest pleasures in my life to spend time driving this wonderful machine. Everyone that has been seated beside me has also enjoyed the exuberance and exhilaration that comes with the ride.

I would like to take this opportunity also to commend you on the wonderful job you and your staff have done in bringing this fantastic vehicle to light. Keep up the good work!


Raymond J. Bucci, M.D.

Simi Valley, Calif.

Thank you for the kind words about our publication, Dr. Bucci. Regarding the Viper being a fantastic vehicle, we could not agree with you more.—Ed.

VM Back Issue

Could you send me a PDF of the Winter 2009 issue of VIPER Magazine? My friend would like to view this issue. She doesn’t want a hard copy.


Laura Sullivan

Via e-mail

Laura, the Winter 2009 issue of VIPER Magazine is available online at—Ed.

So Many Combinations

I found the article about the 2008 model year Viper production in the spring issue of VIPER Magazine very interesting. WOW, 121 different paint and body combinations. I didn’t realize there were that many possible combinations.

Best Regards,

Chris Moleski

Via e-mail

You’re not alone, Chris. There were many VIPER Magazine readers that were amazed at the number of possibilities for paint and body combinations.—Ed.

Viper Plant

I heard the Viper plant is operational. That’s fantastic! It’s music to my ears.


Heidi Stender

Via e-mail

After being idle for over three months, the 392,000-sq-ft Conner Avenue Assembly Plant was temporarily operational. However, as I write this letter, the plant is idle again during Chrysler LLC’s reorganization.—Ed.

Connor Avenue Assembly History:

Built in 1966, the plant was purchased by Chrysler in 1995. Dodge Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Prowler production began in May 1997 and ended in February 2002. Viper V-10 engine production transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Assembly in May 2001.

New Era is Just Ahead

Written by editor on . Posted in Ignition, Summer 2009

President Barack Obama’s public address to the nation on April 30, 2009, announcing Chrysler LLC going into Chapter 11 restructuring was shocking and disappointing to many. The world changed for Chrysler employees, dealers, autoworkers, suppliers and many families on that day.

As of this writing, the honorable U. S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez is hearing this case in the Southern District of New York. His experience handling other complex corporate cases will no doubt help in the hearing of Chrysler LLC’s case. At this point we know two things for certain: 1) Chrysler’s alliance and plans with Fiat SpA are subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval and 2) Dodge Viper remains secured under bankruptcy protection.

Take a step back and consider that an alliance with Fiat SpA represents Chrysler LLC’s best opportunity for the future. Could the brain trusts at Ferrari and Maserati have any influence on the Viper? Who ever thought that this is something we might contemplate? There’s also a very good chance that a third party may acquire the Dodge Viper. Either way, the future of Viper looks promising and interesting to say the least.

Fiat’s principal investment in Chrysler LLC is its intellectual property – namely the engineering and technology of fuel-efficient small cars. With the price of gasoline ratcheting up again, we all know that manufacturing fuel sippers is the right thing to do. It’s only a matter of time before we see more and more Americans buying smaller, more economical cars.

At this moment, Fiat SpA is working closely with Chrysler management to architect the way for “NewCo,” the soon to be reorganized and newly named company. President Obama has ordered Chrysler’s bankruptcy case to be completed as speedily as possible. It’s critical and necessary in moving the company forward.

Meanwhile, the Viper Nation is geared and ready for the summer driving season. Have you had a chance to go on a club road trip? Nothing beats the fun and camaraderie of a Viper club outing. There are many planned so make it a point to participate. Check out the upcoming events listed on under Events or visit and click on Calendar.

You might also take time this summer to plan and outfit your garage. Turn to pages 30–35 to see what some of your fellow Viper-holics have done with their garages. Those could be inspiration for what you might do to enhance yours. And when you’re ready to share your own shrine, submit your photos to [email protected] to be considered for one of our future garage features.

Keep the faith for good things to come and enjoy your summer!

Clay Thompson

President, J.R. Thompson Company

Publisher of VIPER Magazine

My Viper Journey

Written by editor on . Posted in Parting Shots, Spring 2009

By Jason Mattinson

Greetings Viper Nation! I am beyond excited to finally be a Viper owner and a member of the VCA. This past September I purchased a yellow 1995 RT/10 and have loved every minute of it. The Viper has been my dream car as long as I can remember so I wanted to share my story with VM.

Back in the early ’90s I remember getting several car posters to hang in my room. One was a Ferrari and the other was a Viper; both red. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of my Viper journey. A few years later I saw the blue and white GTS coupe for the first time. This was a major turning point and my obsession would only begin to grow.

I started out small by collecting scale models of the Viper in various colors. Then I stumbled upon an issue of VIPER Magazine in a bookstore. I purchased it on the spot and read it from cover to cover immediately (Ironically, it was the fall 1998 issue that had a yellow RT/10 on the cover.). Two years later I signed up for a subscription. I received a red Sneaky Pete key chain with my first issue.

About this same time I turned 16 and earned my driver’s license. I begged my parents to let me get a car with a manual transmission. My reason was that I wanted to be able to drive a stick in case the opportunity ever arose to drive a Viper. Through a weird twist of events, my dad promised that we could go “Viper shopping” if he had a good year at work. The year ended great and my dad kept his word; we were off to the local Dodge dealership.

They let us test-drive a red 1994 RT/10. I then built up the courage to ask my dad if I could drive it. At best I was hoping for a big parking lot so that I could say that I actually drove it. The day got even better when he let me take it out on the roads for a few miles. The dealership wrote up the paperwork but we did not buy the car. My dad made it clear that my education was more important. I kept that paperwork to use as motivation for future Viper ownership.

With the help of my parents, I made it through college and into the working world. I kept the Viper as a goal the entire time.

Finally this past fall I was in the position to purchase one. I took that Sneaky Pete key chain I had been saving for eight years so that I could finally add Viper keys to it. Then I hung the “No Parking except for Jason’s Viper” sign in the garage. The sign was a gift from my grandparents from several years back that I had been waiting to hang.

Even though my road to Viper ownership spanned nearly 15 years it was well worth the wait. I cannot thank my family enough for helping me through school and teaching me the value of hard work and going after your dreams. I also need to thank my wife for being very understanding of my Viper obsession. We purchased the car only six weeks after tying the knot. And one final thanks goes out to the Viper community. Many people have helped to answer all kinds of questions before and after I made the purchase. I am very grateful for the help and hope that I can give back to the community to show my thanks.

Field of Dreams

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

In the winter 2009 issue of VIPER Magazine, Rene Mahr of Luxembourg presented his yellow 1994 yellow RT/10 in various settings around his home and garage. Later, he discovered this field of bright yellow flowers and figured his Viper would be a perfect complement for this bucolic setting. We tend to agree.

Part of Life Itself

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

By Jeffrey Rose

A couple of years ago, VIPER Magazine ran an article about how, in the space of about a week, I purchased three Vipers from John Gastman at Roanoke Motors. I just wanted to provide a short update to that story.

After the initial purchase of those three Vipers, I went on to buy three more Vipers over the next 18 months—a VOI.9 Special Edition Viper from Ringgold Dodge; a 2006 red and silver GTS coupe from Royal Gate Dodge; and a 2008 black and silver GTS coupe, also from Royal Gate.

In closing, I just want to add that Vipers have become a big part of my life since losing my wife Leslie, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2005. The Vipers and the Gateway VCA members help me to fill that void.

Built for Power

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

Viper owners are always eager to show off their modifications, but usually that refers to their vehicles. In this case, John Twele’s Viper is stock, but it’s his wife Maressia who has undergone some fine tuning. According to John, “My wife won first place in the Ms. Minnesota Bodybuilding Competition. A favorite trip was her victory ride along the bluffs of the Mississippi River.”

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