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.”

Boy Toys

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

Our collector extraordinaire, Maurice Liang, provided these photos of some primo Viper collectables. Maurice writes, “This is the new Autoart 1/18 Viper coupe. The detail is amazing! Too bad it’s not the 2008 (and in Snakeskin Green!).”

Well, we’ll just have to make do.


Not Just for Downforce Anymore

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

In the last issue of VIPER Magazine, we featured a photo from Maurice Liang where he placed an attractive model on the rear wing of an ACR and listed her as “an optional 100 lbs. of downforce.” VM had a number of inquiries about this photo, along with a request for any other outtakes from that photo shoot. As always, VM is happy to oblige.

Move Over, Guys

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

Former Georgia VCA president Peter Mansolillo had an encounter recently that goes to show you’re only as old as you feel. “I had this 76-year-old widow customer come in the office last week, with this custom made 2009 ACR look alike,” he explained. “She has another Viper with 130,000 miles on it. When her husband passed away six years ago the GTS only had 900 miles on it. She drives it everyday. This kind of thing really gives me hope for the future.”

Brotherly Love

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

By Paul Schlageter

I want to tell everyone that I enjoy VIPER Magazine very much—especially the Tech Notes section. My brother and I both have 1995 RT/10s. We got them about six years ago and have had little or no problems with them. Mine is the red one and my brother Kurt has the black.

When we were growing up one of us always had to have a better car than the other. Now we have the same but, as I tell him, mine is better because it has “Last 300 side exhaust” etched on the frame.

We live in Grass Valley, California, so we get to drive them almost all year round. And all Viper owners know you always get the looks from people. As my brother and I say, “A Corvette is just a Corvette, a Porsche is just a Porsche—but a Viper is bad!”

Have You Been Viperized?

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

If you frequent the drag strips around Ohio and Pennsylvania, chances are you’ve seen the “Viperizer” roaring up to the starting line, emerging from a cloud of white smoke as Ron Siegal heats up his slicks to make a quarter-mile pass. It’s a sight to see!

This beastly beauty, handcrafted for Siegal by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, can burn the quarter mile in 7.19 seconds @ 194 mph. The Viperizer’s chassis is fabricated from Chromemoly tubing, the body is hand laid fiberglass. The interior is carbon fiber, while titanium and other exotic metals are used for wheels and wheelie bars to make this race car weigh in, driver included, at a remarkable 2150 lbs.


Incredible attention has been paid to every detail. For example check out the hand- painted tail lamps. Siegal is also an avid Mopar® collector, so when it came time for him to build the power plant for the Viperizer, there was no doubt it would be based on the legendary Mopar V8s. The current power plant is an all-aluminum 572 cubic inch V8 creation that produces nearly 1,300 hp.

The Viperizer is for the race track, but if the weather is right you might see Siegal in his 1998 Viper GTS or his Snakeskin green 2008 Viper SRT10® cruising down the road.

Poker Run in the Sun

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

By Bill Rodway

Recently, the New Mexico Viper Club organized an event with the main purpose of raising money for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF). The event was the First Annual Roadrunner Charity Fun Run in Albuquerque, N.M. More than 50 exotic sports cars participated in the poker run, where participants picked up playing cards at seven locations around town and at the final stop, played their best five-card poker hand.


Hand-made trophies made of engine parts were awarded to the top three poker hands, and more than 15 door prizes were given to random entrants. With the help of an additional large donation by a local business, Motiva Performance, the New Mexico Viper Club was able to raise a donation of $2,000 to be given to the MC-LEF. We hope to make this an annual event and we anticipate an even larger donation next year. Come and join us for this very worthwhile event.

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