Saturday, July 10, 2010, Alton, Va. — Ben Keating won the first-ever Dodge Viper Cup race today, the first of two races at the inaugural Dodge Viper Cup weekend event, held at VIRginia International (VIR).
Dodge announced two new colors—Toxic Orange Pearl Coat and Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat—to celebrate the final production year of the current generation Dodge Viper SRT10.® The Viper is now available in 12 different colors and six stripe options—the most regularly-available choices in one model year.
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When factoring in body style, color, stripes, wheels, interior color, interior trim and radio choice … 41% of 2009 Vipers were unique 1 of 1 vehicles.
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By Darren Jacobs
It’s funny, sometimes, the way inspiration can strike. Earl Kessler had hit rock bottom in 1996. In rehab for alcohol abuse, he was looking for something, anything, to kill time, to distract him from the urge to take a drink. A magazine in the rehab facility, probably left behind by a visitor as an afterthought, caught Kessler’s eye—the Summer 1996 issue of VIPER Magazine, featuring the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe on the cover. In that moment, Kessler’s life was changed for the better forever.
Kessler marveled at the cover. It became a motivational tool he employed to survive his stay in rehab. “I had never seen a Viper Coupe before,” recalls Kessler. “I read that magazine every chance I could during my stay. On my last day I made a deal with myself that if I could stay sober for ten years, I would buy myself a Viper Coupe.
“The Viper absolutely helped me pull through. It gave me lots of hope and something for which to look forward. I looked forward to buying a Viper, and I would never have found out about it if it hadn’t been for the magazine.”
Kessler is very fortunate to have many friends and family that encouraged him on the road to recovery, “My family and friends were there for me when I needed them,” Kessler emphasized. “I would not be where I am today without their support.”
The early years of sobriety weren’t easy on Kessler. “The first two years were the hardest, since I had to completely change my lifestyle,” he says. “I just stayed focused, even when the Viper Coupe was retired in 2002.”
Four years later, in 2006, Kessler celebrated his 10th year of sobriety. Lo and behold, what should appear on the cover of the Winter 2006 issue of VIPER Magazine, but a homage to the 1996 cover which inspired Kessler, featuring the exact same layout but this time highlighting the new 2006 Viper SRT10® Coupe. Coincidence? We think not—after all, twelve-step programs do emphasize the need to submit to a Higher Power!
“I couldn’t believe it,” recounts Kessler. “It was like it was meant to be. There was ?no way I couldn’t buy a Viper now.” He wasted little time, purchasing his Viper in 2006. He stills owns the 2006 SRT10 twin turbo coupe. “I just keep making it meaner,” says Kessler. “I had RSI double then triple the horsepower; now it’s at 1500 hp. It’s sweet.”
The 46-year-old contractor remains sober today. “I feel very grateful that I was able to make it,” says a thankful Kessler. “I’m a hard-working person. I stay busy and have fun with my car and family on the weekends. I’ll come home really tired and sore from working all day, and all I have to do is peek in that garage and I’m feeling better.”
As with all VCA members, Kessler receives a free subscription to VIPER Magazine with his Club membership. He also pays for a second subscription out of his own pocket, and leaves each issue at different businesses he visits, hoping to pass on his muse to others.
“When I go to my AA meetings, or I’m at the county offices pulling permits, all the different areas I visit, I leave a VIPER Magazine behind,” says Kessler. “It definitely changed my life when I read that magazine, so I like to share it if I can. Who knows what’s going on in people’s lives? Maybe it will have the same effect it had on me.”
By Don Firth
My wife, Eunice and I both own Vipers. We actively participate in South Florida Viper Club activities and drive on the tracks at Sebring, Homestead and Palm Beach, Fla.
Here are photos of Eunice and myself at the Biltmore during a Viper Tennessee rally, our two Vipers and two members of our office staff posing with our newest Viper.
I purchased my silver Viper in 2005. I went to an auto showroom to buy a Ferrari and drove away in a Viper—never regretting the switch in plans. A few months later I added a supercharger from Doug Levin Motorsports, which boosted the power to almost 800 hp. I participated in annual track events at Sebring with Skip Thomas and Danny Archer as well as HookedOnDriving, FARA, ERME and Chin.
In 2008, Eunice drove my Viper at Sebring and Homestead tracks. As she started as a novice, we were in two classes and were able to slip-seat my Viper for these events. Then in 2009, she advanced to the same class that I was driving. The only solution was to get a second Viper.
Eunice had glimpsed the Snakeskin Green Viper one evening, a year earlier, and decided that was the car for her. I went online in May 2009 to find that there were only two such cars available in the USA. One was 1,500 miles away; the second was 20 miles away. She bought it sight unseen from University Dodge in Fort Lauderdale. This was the only Snakeskin Green produced with the black stripes, spoiler and splitter. After only 7 months, she already has 10,000 miles on the clock.
We enjoy the Viper experience, which includes day-to-day driving, track events and even drag racing. However, the best experience is the new friends we have made during the Viper Club events.
By Dr. Rich Andria
I bought my first Viper, a red 2008 SRT10® coupe, in August 2007 and it was delivered May 1, 2008, in Connecticut. Because I was retiring in December 2008, I shipped it to my new home in Naples, Fla.
As you are aware, Vipers “grow on you” and, with two more spaces in my Viper garage to fill, I bought my second Viper in September 2009, a yellow 2002 GTS. This Viper has some interesting upgrades: a Cat-Back™ exhaust, SRT® wheels, built in radar detector system with sensors in the grille (and at the rear) and a killer sound system including a subwoofer, equalizers, a huge power capacitor and three amplifiers putting out 1,700 watts of power!
So much excitement owning these two killer cars made me upgrade my VCA membership to Venom. However, I still had an empty garage slot to fill, so when I saw a red 2002 Viper GTS Final Edition online (#162) with only 196 miles on the clock, well, what is a Viper lover supposed to do? I purchased this Viper also; and now my three Viper slots are filled. The GTS Final Edition, shown with my wife Terry, has ceramic brakes with slotted drilled discs, roaring Cat-Back exhaust system and straight tubes installed.
Here’s the 1-of-1—2009 Viper SRT10® ACR VOI.10 VCA Raffle Car—with Virginia and me in front of our Viper garage mahal we built in Pahrump, Nev. Thanks to everyone at The Viper Club of America, Chrysler, CAAP, Prefix and Woodhouse Dodge who worked hard to make the 1-of-1 a truly special Viper—a beautiful vehicle that exceeded our expectations!
—Michael von Quilich
Debbie Ruckert purchased this 2006 Dodge Viper for her husband Dave’s birthday. Several Viper owners and John Gastman at Roanoke Motor Co. Inc. assisted her in the buying process—she was extremely grateful for the help. “Thanks to the many Viper owners and John for all the time everyone took in helping us—including sharing your experiences and knowledge about Vipers,” explained Ruckert. “We’re both looking forward to upcoming Viper outings.”
As with many regions, the VCA Northern California Region awards members who have contributed to the club during the past year. This year, President Maurice Q. Liang commissioned Daneen Bronson to custom paint award plaques. The snakeskin pattern is slightly different on each award, making them unique works of art.
By Darrell Igelmund
When my wife Linda and I joined other Washington State Viper Club members driving to Detroit for VOI.10, we never realized that major trips would become an annual affair. Last summer it was the coast highway, all the way from Seattle to LA. We took our time and had an absolute blast. Perfect weather, winding roads and daily vistas of the Pacific Ocean we will never forget.
The photo shows the Viper posing at the destination—the famous Huntington Beach (Calif.) International Surfing Museum (“Home of surfing!”). We blocked the sidewalk with the Viper to get the best angle when two policemen came around the corner. After a few minutes of discussion we found that they liked Vipers also … and were more than happy to add to the fun.
For the next few days we bathed in car heaven. Only a few blocks from the Pacific Coast Highway, we saw about every style and price of car you would ever hope to see—Aston Martins, Jaguars, a Hummer with 60” TVs framed in the back windows, and hot rods of all types. And you know what? The Viper was the biggest head-turner of them all!