VCA Northern California member Randy Fox’s 2001 GTS was photographed with Amber Sparks during a model workshop in August at the Need 2 Speed Complex in Redding, Calif. The 28-year-old graduate student is currently finishing a double Master’s Degree in Communications and Business. Fox is owner of Blvd Body Shop Inc. in Redding, Calif. “This particular photo shoot was a workshop for new models and I was invited as an experienced model to help instruct the beginners on posing techniques and other aspects of modeling,” Sparks explained. “I had a lot of fun and ended up with some great photographs with Mr. Fox’s Viper. Since I am a huge Viper fan it made my day more memorable.”
Long time Viper owners may remember Frank Vaughn, Launch Manager at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant (Home of the Viper) during the GTS introduction. Frank recently married his bride, Jeannie. Being a true Viperholic, both of his Vipers attended the wedding as well, a yellow ‘95 RT/10 roadster and his red with white stripes ‘02 Final Edition GTS. We wish Frank and Jeannie many happy miles of Vipering!
Viper Club Nordic Vice President Martin Czernik and his wife Malin recently returned from Nepal and Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas. “We did not beat the altitude at Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro (19,331 ft. – 5892m) but the Viper flag was with us all the way to 17,585 ft. (5360m),” reports Czernik. “And, I’m happy we did it again.”
By Bill Lombardi
Here’s my Hulk Viper, or should I say my Snakeskin Green Viper with the Massachusetts “HULK” license plate. I’m a New England VCA member since August 19, 2002, and at that time, I owned a beautiful ‘96 blue-with-white stripes GTS. The car was mint and I was going to keep it forever until I saw the 2008 Snakeskin Green Viper coupe with black stripes. I had to have it! I looked for some time and tried to make a couple of deals with dealers but every time I was ready to pull the trigger—SOLD.
Well, I discovered that Bill Pemberton at Woodhouse had one and I called him and didn’t even flinch. We made the deal. He took my ‘96 on trade and when it was delivered I couldn’t believe the color, it was awesome! So of course, I needed a plate for my new Snake because my old plate “VENOMS” just was not for this car. So I started looking and thinking, and it actually drove me nuts. I called our state RMV a couple of times and almost went for “GRINCH,” but damn, it was taken, and I needed something green and strong.
I could not believe it but “HULK” was available. Done, HULK was my plate!
So then, I had to juice up the car with green items. I visited eBay and looked under Hulk. I couldn’t believe it but Marvel Entertainment Inc. was selling off every one of their Hulk promotional statues from 2008. They were expensive and there were only 200 made. I didn’t care and purchased the statue as I felt this would be awesome to be able to stand this monster with the car—especially with the HULK license plate.
My friend Glenn Cote, also a New England member, was able to get a trailer and planned a road trip to Connecticut to pick this thing up. Once we got there and saw it we couldn’t believe it. We were not sure if it would fit on the trailer. Glen said, “We can do it, no problem!” The road trip back was long but worth it. We had just as many thumbs-ups as we do driving our Vipers.
Brothers, Bob and Brad Blain and Bob’s son, Scott, from Rochester, N.Y., are now all Viper owners. Brad always dreamed of owning a Viper. When brother, Bob, came back from a trip to Atlanta, Ga., with his newly purchased 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10, Brad had to live up to his dream. He then purchased his 1998 GTS Coupe and the brothers cruised around together. Most recently, Bob’s son, Scott, joined the Viper family with his purchase of a new 2008 SRT10® Viper. Now the three Blains enjoy driving their Vipers around town together and watching heads turn.
By Margie Yost
I would like to formally introduce you to someone you may have met at a VOI or various Viper events held by the VA/MD and PA/WV clubs. His name is Carlos Ugaz, Sr.
Carlos has been a Viper owner since 1996, when he bought a red 1994. About a year later, he began changing the look of the car with custom paint and new interiors to reflect his unique style and taste. Very few off-the-shelf customized parts were available for Vipers at that time, so Carlos designed, and in many cases created most of the parts himself.
On the interior, he has changed the instrument and door panels, consoles and seats. On the exterior he has changed the decals, replaced the exhaust, and added a unique spoiler. The finished result is an attractive, cohesive design that flows well with the Viper look and untouched components of the car.
Whenever Carlos drives his Viper, he is questioned by admirers. They never focus on one specific element, but seem to be struck by the overall package. “Can I take a picture of your car?” he is often asked. People even hold cell phones out of car windows to capture the image. This puts a smile on his face, as it would any of us.
While the cars draw a crowd today, there were lessons and challenges along the way. For example, when Carlos replaced the exhaust for his first Viper, he did not realize until the car was raised on jacks that a metal cover concealed the entire underside. He knew the removal would be a lot of work, but with determination it was finally completed—not just once but twice. The first set of exhaust pipes was too loud so he had to replace them with a specially designed pair that had a better sound.
To add to the Viper family, Carlos ventured out and bought another Viper, this time a red 2004 convertible. With ten years between the designs, the two Vipers looked quite different. And as Carlos worked on the ’04, the differences between the cars increased. Carlos modified some vehicle appliqués into snake-eye covers for the headlights. When looking at the front of the car, it looks like a snake is staring you down.
In 2008, Carlos bought his third Viper, a blue convertible. When the car was delivered to the house, he went right to work taking everything apart. The seats were still covered in plastic from the dealership. He hadn’t even driven the car yet and there it was, in pieces. With more than ten years’ experience, Carlos is a pro at Viper customization.
As with any work of art, the artist is never satisfied. Carlos continually thinks of new ideas for customizing his cars. Every weekend, he can be found at the parts shop, dropping off or picking up finished parts that he has designed.
This past July, Carlos drove the red 2004 to Carlisle, Pa., for the 2009 Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals. A couple of days later, he was notified that his Viper won first place in the 2002–2009 Viper Coupe/Roadster category. In 2008, he took third place in the same event. For Carlos, these were fulfilling accomplishments.
As Carlos travels to club events, the question he hears most frequently is, “What have you added to your car?” Being original has always been a part of his personality. He has attended four VOI events and loves looking at the different Vipers and talking to other owners.
Two years ago, my husband and I finally talked Carlos into selling us his 1994. At least he still gets to see it. I am sure deep down he wanted to keep it. Now as a family we enjoy the regional Viper events and VOIs together. And now my husband and I are asked about the car wherever we go. I just smile and say, “My dad custom made it.”
Carlos still owns two Vipers and the only challenge for him and his wife Judy is to decide which Viper to drive that day.
By Graham Lambert
July 4 is just an ordinary date to us Englishmen, but not so in 2009 as this was the date the UK Viper Club had their 4th annual Northern Viper Run (NVR) or “Peak Raid.”
A bright sunny morning saw eight Vipers, a Ram SRT10® and a Holden Monaro congregate at a hotel on the outskirts of Mansfield ready for the 150-mile drive through the Peak District—Britain’s first National Park. Taking part in two stages over the course of the day, the driving was split equally either side of lunch. However, this was not just a leisurely drive through stunning scenery; there was a purpose to this outing—winning the NVR ‘09 Trophy for the best score in
the road quiz. Puzzles, observation, general knowledge and Viper silhouettes all had to be found somewhere on the route.
The 68-mile morning drive began near Mansfield taking us via Hardwick Hall, an Elizabethan country house and through the grounds of Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. After taking in some fabulous scenery on the western side of the Peak District, we arrived at the Three Acres Inn near the Emley Moor TV transmitter station for an excellent buffet lunch. Many thanks to Andrew and Jenny for supplying the American flag cake for Independence Day and managing not to squash it with the spirited driving!
The 70-mile afternoon drive took us through quintessentially English villages, such as Holmfirth and Glossop, attracting huge amounts of attention from young and old alike. The most dramatic part of the route took us over the famous Snake Pass at 1710 ft and through the heart of the Peak District and finally onto the Brimington Hall Hotel near Chesterfield.
For the evening, a private function room was booked for dinner and presentation of the prizes for the days road quiz. Andrew and Jenny Blackmore were once again worthy winners, regaining the trophy off yours truly! Afterwards a few beers and well earned sleep ready for the Sunday drive to the Muscle & Crab pub where Bruce and Alison once again put on a superb lunch for everyone.
This fantastic weekend could not have happened without the dedication and organizational skills of Mich and Suzie Simcox, for which we are all very grateful and look forward to NVR ’10!
Fast cars and photography are two of Illinois Viper Club member Mike Caplan’s favorite hobbies. So it’s only fitting
that he’s found a way to merge those passions. Mike, who is also a TV weatherman at the ABC station in Chicago, recently started a side business showcasing some of his images at www.caplanstudios.com. “These awesome cars are beautiful on their own, but when you’ve got a gorgeous wife and two other supermodels-in-training eager to pose, the combination is jaw-dropping,” Mike notes. “I think these images of Laura, Tera and Jen show off our ’05 Copperhead and my buddy Steve Loudin’s ’08 Viper Bright Blue Pearl coupe in a way I know I won’t soon forget!”
Gateway Region’s Mark Eidelman purchased this little Viper for his nephews Ryan and Tyler pictured with their father, Ken Foster. “I wanted to start Ryan and Tyler out right with their enjoyment of fine cars,” said Mark. “They are enamored with the Viper’s MP3 player and radio. They love the quick acceleration and torque of the Viper and especially its ability to run over and smash flowers and bushes in their garden.”