Here’s a snapshot we unearthed from the VM photo archives. A sunny day at the drag strip always brings a smile to one’s face—even for a Dodge Viper!
By Nancy Ann Friend
In October, my husband Larry and I took our annual fall road trip with our two Vipers. We traversed eight states in seven days. We both love to drive our Vipers, so consequently, the 2000 miles did not seem extensive. The first site we visited was Brown County, Ind. After a day and a half there we moved onto the great Smokey Mountains. At the Biltmore Mansion in N.C. the security guards were very accommodating and allowed us to park in front of the mansion for a picture or two. They then led us to our own private parking spots.
That night at the hotel it started to drizzle and while we were unloading our luggage the driver’s door on my Viper would not close. It was late and we both knew repair shops would not be open. We couldn’t keep the door open all night in the rain. Fearing that we would break the door if we pushed too hard, we decided to call our Dodge dealer, Roanoke Motors in Ill. It was late there, but as usual, John Gastman answered his phone and was there to help us. He assured us that this had happened before and that the piece in the hinge would break before the door would. Larry pushed until the door closed. This is not the first time we have sought the help from Roanoke Motors. We are fortunate to have such an accommodating dealer.
The next day was rainy and we didn’t expect to see much. While in Tennessee my Viper veered right, but luckily it happened at an exit ramp. I had trouble controlling the Viper until I arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway. Being huge NASCAR fans we just had to tour as much of the track and museum as we could and it proved to be an unexpected highlight of our trip.
Another thrill was crossing the Appalachian Mountains in W.V. and Ohio using only the back roads. All day our Snakes slithered their way around sharp curves, switchbacks and steep grades. We really put our Vipers through their paces thus testing the legendary handling of these cars.
This 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster features a 2000 Dodge Viper crate motor (460 hp, 500 lb-ft of torque) that is mated with a Viper 6-speed transmission. This custom beauty was hand-built over a period of four years by Brad Videen of Cambridge, Minn., and his brother Greg.
“Special thanks to my brother Greg Videen, Stan Berg and Mike Speidel for their guidance and talented help in completing this car,” said Brad. “Greg has fabricated countless parts, was the chief technical guide, and did all of the tig and arc welding. Stan took my body work to a final finish, and Mike worked with me on multiple projects during the course of construction.”
Other Viper modifications include: Viper seats with custom leather by Venzano Automotive (Mich.); adjustable Viper pedals (narrowed), “SUPERCHARGED” factory hood emblem modified to read “VIPERCHARGED;” Viper oil cooler, 2 ½” high flow custom stainless exhaust, Viper headers; Borla mufflers and crossover pipe; Viper steering column with tilt Viper wheel; and the paint is ’96 Viper GTS Blue Pearl Metallic.
Dan Govero, of Imperial Mo., was set to race at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan., this past March with the NARRA (formerly Viper Days); however, due to a late snow storm (6″ of snow) the event was canceled. As a result, Dan decided to plow snow with his Snake—well, not really, one of Dan’s employees thought he’d have a little fun with Photoshop.® “Since I couldn’t race, I may as well have a little laugh about it,” said Dan.
In the fall 2008 issue of VM, we covered Hugh Hoard’s accomplishment of being the first person to exceed 200 mph in the mile at the Silver State High Noon Shootout. Now, here’s a further update from Silver State participant, John Fuchs:
“In the last event, Bill Bagshaw and I won the 150 mph class (again), this time in a 2008 Viper SRT10® coupe, with a time variance of 0.021 seconds and an average speed of 149.9985 mph over 90 miles. In doing so, we beat 21 other cars in our class, nine of which were Corvettes. Another VCA member, David Green, took a second in the 115 mph class in a Neon SRT4,® with a time variance of 0.1267 and an average speed for 90 miles of 114.9948 mph.”
John Seward of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., is justifiably proud of his black 1994 Viper RT/10. “It’s won a number of awards, including many that were Best of Show,” Seward explained.
However, his Viper may be a special breed due to an unusual interior enhancement. Seward said, “It has a black leather interior, possibly the only 1992–1994 RT/10 that does. I was told it was built for a top Chrysler exec.”
How about it? Anyone else have a 1992–1994 with black leather interior? VM would like to know.
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.
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.