The Dodge Viper has captured the hearts and imaginations of sports car enthusiasts around the world. In fact, since the Viper concept debuted in 1989, the Viper has created more buzz and generated more interest than exotic sports cars that cost five times as much.

With engaging editorial and striking visual appeal, VIPER Magazine makes for the kind of high-energy reading that Viper owners and enthusiasts clamor for.


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Vipers take to the air

An Oregon car show like no other

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SRT Party

The SRT division debuts in Los Angeles

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Houston VCA at AutoRama

Major car show done Texas Style

Enter the Tail of the Dragon

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Maurice Q. Liang

Three hundred eighteen curves in 11 miles. Car enthusiasts, bikers and tourists flock to the Tail of the Dragon to experience this wonderful stretch of road. I have long wanted to drive the Tail of the Dragon and see the Smoky Mountains I’d heard so much about in country songs, so when VCA AL/TN president Chip Winter and the Viper Twins invited me to join them for this year’s event, I couldn’t resist. What better way to experience the place than with a bunch of Viper friends?

The event has become an annual thing, drawing Viper club members from Tennessee, Georgia, Utah, Florida, and yours truly from California. We converge at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Knoxville, Tenn., for the start. It’s a mini-car show for anyone who happens to be driving by. A shiny twin-turbo V-10 sparkles under the hood of Matt Chambers’ silver SRT10® convertible. With 1250 rear-wheel horsepower, it’s one of the most powerful Vipers here. As a joke, I add another bolt-on—a battery-operated gerbil running around on a squirrel cage treadmill. “1250 HP + 1 GP (Gerbil Power),” laughs Chip. The waitress learns that I’m from California and says with a southern accent, “Well, ur a looong way from home!” To which I reply, “Yes, but look at all the friends I have!” That’s the neat thing about the Viper club. A couple of my new friends are Ed and Faye. Ed was one of the original owners of McDonald’s restaurants, and together with his partner, invented the famous slogan, “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” Talk about a piece of American history, right here in our club!

After breakfast, it’s time to head up the mountain. We pull into a turnout for a group photo. I take off ahead in my rented Camaro to scout out a good photo spot. Three hundred eighteen curves, 11 miles, 34 Vipers, one Challenger and one Camaro, and guess who gets pulled over for speeding! Fortunately, Officer Millsaps is in a charitable mood and lets me off with a souvenir “time slip,” rather than a ticket. As I settle into my roadside perch, one-by-one the Vipers roar past up the hill. At the end of the Tail is the “Tree of Shame,” decorated with parts of fallen motorcyles. We stop for a break and people swarm over to check out the cars.

Headquarters for the weekend is the Shular Inn in Pigeon Forge. Just as we arrive, the heavens open up and an afternoon downpour begins. Perfect timing. We huddle under the overhang and watch Mother Nature rinse off our cars. Once the rain goes away, it’s off to the Alamo Steakhouse for dinner. After dinner, we head over to a go-kart track.

The morning sun comes up, turning up the color intensity on the Vipers as owners are wiping down their cars. Passersby check out the cars, and several club members give rides to young enthusiasts. Out in the parking lot, I meet Ben and Missy, and their kids Austin and Rochelle. With two Vipers, they’re a family that Vipers together. Missy got her Snakeskin Green convertible first, and then Ben decided that was pretty cool and added a Viper Violet convertible with the aero group. At first, they were hesitant to join the club, but after meeting club members at last year’s event, they felt right at home. “Viper owners are neat people,” observed Missy. “We went to a Corvette gathering, and the owners spent most of their time trying to keep people from touching their cars. But when a kid comes up to a Viper owner, pretty soon, the door is open and they’re sitting in the car.” Chip gives Viper fan Adam a ride to the gas station, and I give Adam a copy of my Viper Buyer’s Guide. Perhaps we’ve planted a seed today for a future Viper owner.

Today we’re heading up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in Tennessee. Near the top, we stop for a group photo. From 6600 feet, you can see forever. The mountains are layered upon each other. Bright green turns to dark shades of green, which turns to shades of blue. Now I see where the Blueridge Mountains get their name! An older couple is enjoying their picnic lunch with the breathtaking panoramic view in front of them. It’s picture postcard perfect and stunning.

That evening, the Viper Club of America shuts down the main street of Gatlinburg, as 40 Vipers cruise into town for dinner. Tourists stare, and cameras pop out as if Paris Hilton had just arrived, sans underwear. Jon B from PartsRack has donated gift certificates, which Chip awards to those who have driven the furthest, those with the least miles on their car, and those with the most miles. Viper earplugs are given to the two “Most Loud AND OBNOXIOUS” Vipers. And I’ve dug into my Viper treasure chest for some raffle prizes to hand out.

After dinner, we visit the “Cars of the Stars” auto museum, where we see famous cars like Herbie the Love Bug, James Bond’s BMW, Bob Hope’s country club convertible, the Flintstone mobile, and Burt Reynolds’ Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit.

The next morning, after a big country breakfast, we mount-up and head out of town. Chad has arranged a stop at the Knoxville Hooters for lunch. We take some photos of the Hooters girls around Bill’s Hooter Orange Viper. (What? That’s not the name of the color?)

It’s been a fun weekend—kind of like a mini-VOI—Vipers on twisties, a great bunch of people and wonderful scenery. The next time you’re traveling, see if there’s a Viper event going on. It might be a great chance to visit some of your “Viper family!” “It’s just beautiful here in the fall, during the color change,” says Viper Twin Lisa. Well, I jess might have to come on back for that, y’all.

The King Is Back (At LAGUNA SECA)

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Maurice Q. Liang

The red Viper ACR flew down the main straightaway at Laguna Seca like a scalded cat. As it scampered past the start/finish line, the lap time flashed up on the board, and a new record was set: 1:33.915 for the 2.238-mile course, shattering the previous record by more than 1.1 seconds. The Viper was once again King of the Track as the fastest production car to lap Laguna Seca.

Laguna Seca Raceway is one of the most iconic tracks in this country, if not the world. Located near Monterey, Calif., it’s known for its dramatic elevation changes, famed corkscrew, blind corners, and dramatic scenery—it’s the ultimate driver’s challenge. Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand and Senior Vice President, Product Design Office, Chrysler Group LLC, squinted out at the twisting pavement and said, “No matter how many times I drive this track, I never get bored.”

Two years ago, Randy Pobst set a track record for a production car in a Viper ACR at 1:35.117 while working on an article for Motor Trend. But recently, the Devon GTX, a specialty-built car based on the Viper, bested that time. So when engineers were out testing the 2010 ACR at Laguna Seca, they took another run at the record.

November 24, 2009. It’s a brisk sunny morning in Northern California. SRT engineers set up the “Laguna Seca Edition” ACR. It’s red with a black driver’s stripe, the inverse of the red with black hood and red driver’s stripe car that set a lap record at the Nürburgring. The rear wing on the 2010 ACR features new endplates with cutouts and a new profile. Chris Winkler, an SRT vehicle dynamics engineer and hot shoe, takes the ACR for a couple of practice runs. After a few laps, an unofficial clocking shows him to be just slightly behind the track record. Winkler brings the ACR into the pits and the engineers make some adjustments and put on a fresh set of tires. Well-known Comp Coupe racer Bob Woodhouse and his driver Kumo Whittmer discuss the optimum line around the track with Winkler.

After a couple more practice runs, it’s time for the official run. Representatives from the major car magazines are on hand to witness this historic event, including Angus McKenzie editor of Motor Trend. With yet another set of fresh tires, Winkler goes for the gold. His first run comes in just shy of the record, but the next run comes in at 1:33.915. It’s official; Viper has taken back the title as fastest production car at Laguna Seca, beating the Devon GTX’s time by over 1 second.

After Winkler pulls into the pits, he reports, “It was definitely exciting, but somewhat uneventful lap overall from behind the steering wheel. There’s still more in it.” With a little more development time, he felt could drop the time even more. But there’s more work to be done on the other Vipers that are there for testing, and the mission is accomplished. Viper is King of the Hill again at Laguna Seca.

Mike Shinedling, ACR Program Manager, applies the Laguna Seca track decal to the back of the ACR as a badge of honor. “We’ll be producing a limited run of 33 ACRs in this paint scheme,” says Ralph Gilles. “We’ll call it the 1:33 edition.” If you want one, order yours soon!

Jon Brobst

I am a big road-racing fan, especially when Vipers compete. I was fortunate to attend the US-FIA Series Championships at Sebring and Laguna Seca in 1997. Chrysler clinched both the manufacturers and drivers titles. If I close my eyes, I can still taste the spray and recall the sticky residue of the “Champagne Showers” from both Victory Lane celebrations. The excitement was palpable, and “Viper Pride” was rampant on message boards and in VIPER Magazine. Chrysler pride caused 100 GT-2 {GTS-R Replica) Vipers to be created to honor that crowning achievement, Chrysler’s first. 

Team Viper won Le Mans in ’97, ’98, ’99, most of the ALMS races and the championships here. Attending several races, I enjoyed more champagne showers. It’s addicting! In 2000, Team Viper won the overall Rolex Daytona-24 hours, even beating the LMP cars. That winning Viper resides in the Chrysler Museum, and 360 “Final Edition” Vipers were built in 2002 to pay respect to the achievement. Having won everything in sight since 1997, business priorities changed and “factory” racing took a long hiatus—I miss it.

So when I heard that the 2010 Viper would be doing testing at Laguna Seca in late November, I respectfully cajoled an invitation. Stopwatches in hand, I was NOT disappointed. SRT was ready with a newly-liveried black/red 2010 ACR, whose paint scheme is an exact reverse of the red/black 2008 show car. A small but skilled SRT crew, complete with multiple sets of Michelin Sport Cup green and heat-cycled ACR tires, were ready to pull out 1-2 hot, “qualifying laps” in attempting to break the 1 minute 35 second Laguna Seca Track record.  In only one day!  [Like they did at ?the Nürburgring].

Accomplished SCCA champ and SRT driver Chris Winkler would have the pressure on his back, and he did not disappoint. Chris actually broke the record twice, to major displays of finish line excitement both times before his tires were past their peak.

The record result of 1:33.9 is a testament that the “decades old” Dodge Viper is still alive and well, and very competitive. High-fives, hugs, and backslaps were mandatory, as the press was invited in to a presentation and a lunch. Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles did the honors, and unveiled plans for a “1:33 Edition ACR” to commemorate the still-warm record setting ACR! Laptops blogged to the world that the Dodge Viper is back on top at historic Laguna-Seca. The VCA Web site was quickly infected with renewed Viper pride. Dodge dealers began taking orders: just 33 will be built, making the 1:33 one of the rarest special edition Vipers in history.  

Congrats Team SRT, and thanks for the peek. We look forward to more surprises. And if SRT decides to tackle the records at their other championship tracks of Sebring and Daytona, you bet I’ll close shop, break the travel budget, and try to be there. The excitement is still just as real and palpable. And who knows, it could lead to yet another champagne shower. 

Jon Brobst

VCA Oregon

2010 Viper Breaks Cover (and Breaks a Record)

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

Dodge officially unveiled the new 2010 Viper at the L.A. Auto Show—showing two new exterior colors—Toxic Orange Pearl Coat and Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat—with a wider dual racing stripe pattern. Also new for 2010 is a revised fifth gear ratio—.80:1 instead of .75:1—for all Vipers, to dramatically improve high-speed acceleration. A standard Viper will reach 200 mph 14 seconds faster with the new gear. The idea came from SRT’s experiences at the Nürburgring, when Viper set the production car lap record. It was thought that the ACR would be even quicker with the new gear. Will we see a new expedition to the famous track in the near future?

The 2010 ACR and the ACR-X will have new slotted wing endplates to go with a revised wing profile to give more downforce in yaw. This means the 2010 ACR will be even quicker in corners, which would have been a factor at Laguna Seca a week earlier. ACRs also get a short-throw shifter and the new fifth gear.

To celebrate the new lap record at Laguna Seca, Ralph Gilles announced a Viper special edition ACR, to be built in the same special red and black livery as the record car. The paint scheme is the reverse of the one that was on the Nürburgring record-setter. The new edition’s name: “1:33,” to commemorate the record of the same number. Thirty-three (33) will be produced.

Lurking in the pits at Laguna Seca the previous week, and featured in the Chrysler booth, was Ralph Gilles’ black ACR with its new graphite-color driver stripe enhanced by red outlines. This menacing color combination is the hallmark of another new edition named “Vooodoo,” offered for this 2010 model year. Dodge will produce only twenty of these darkly beautiful monsters.

An improved gearbox, a better ACR aero configuration and gearshift, striking new colors, two exciting new special editions and two new track racers introduced at PRI—Viper is poised to have a great year in 2010 with even more goodies rumored to be in the pipeline as Dodge and SRT finish a legendary run and gear up for 2013.

ACR-X The Weapon for the New Viper Cup

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Dan Reid

New Vipers, New Race Series, New Record, New Features, New Colors and a New Web site.

The beginning of the holiday season brought Team Viper to both U.S. coasts for big events in California and Florida—starting at the Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif., and then moving to the Los Angeles Auto Show; before heading back across the country for the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Orlando. At each event Dodge served notice that Viper isn’t finished astounding the automotive world. Dodge also announced a new Viper Web site, www.viperheadquarters.com, to be the focal point for news and information for the Viper nation.

The Dodge Viper SRT10® ACR-X, introduced at the PRI show on December 11, is a turn-key, non-street-legal race car slated to make its on-track competition debut in the new Dodge Viper Cup in July 2010. The brand-new race series will be sanctioned by the NARRA Viper Racing League. The spec racing series is exclusively for the new Viper ACR-X. Two races per weekend for five weekends will make up the 10-race Viper Cup schedule which includes July 9–11 at Virginia International Raceway; August 14–15 at Hallett Raceway; September 11–12 at Pocono Raceway; October 1–3 at Miller Motorsports Park and October 22–24 at Daytona International Speedway.

“The Dodge Viper ACR-X takes the performance attributes of Viper to an even higher level for a wide range of drivers starting with the grassroots racer all the way up to the professional,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. “This project is a result of many years of performance engineering expertise from our SRT® team, combined with the passion and dedication of the Viper Nation, to keep the Viper racing tradition going strong on tracks around the country and the world.”

Combining the best performance attributes of the record-setting, street-legal Dodge Viper ACR (American Club Racer) and the safety equipment of the championship-winning Viper Competition Coupe, the Viper ACR-X is powered by the SRT-developed 8.4-liter V-10, equipped with factory headers and a low-restriction exhaust system, that produces 640 horsepower (40 more than production model).

The suspension is tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track usage, while the X-car is lightened by a full 160 pounds (versus the standard production Viper) to take on even the most challenging road course. Additional aerodynamic upgrades improve downforce, while enhancing stability and significantly improving grip in high-speed cornering.

Similar to the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, the Viper ACR-X contains factory-installed safety equipment such as a fuel cell, race seat and an SRT-designed 8-point roll cage. Additional racing components are added to meet the significant durability and reliability requirements for on-track competition.

Last month, the SRT team used a testing session at Laguna Seca raceway to shake down the Viper ACR-X for the first time. Behind the wheel was professional driver Kuno Wittmer from the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship series, who was able to run consistent 1:31.00 lap times around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn course. Wittmer’s lap times were more than 2 seconds faster than the street-legal Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR that holds the production car track record at Laguna Seca raceway.

“The Dodge Viper ACR-X is incredible,” said Wittmer. “After a short warm up, I was running lap times as quick as exotic GT race cars. I was blown away by the power and acceleration, and even more surprised at how the ACR-X navigated the challenging Laguna Seca corners and how friendly it was to drive at the limit.

“All aspects of the car work together perfectly to plant all that horsepower and torque without issue,” Wittmer added. “This will be a great package for someone coming out of grassroots racing with a desire to step-up to GT level competition. Dodge nailed it with this one!”

The Viper SRT10 ACR-X is designed to compete in the Viper Cup, Viper Racing League, Sports Car Club of America and National Auto Sport Association events.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X will be approximately $110,000 for a car finished in primer. Colors and custom paint schemes will be available at extra cost. Production is slated to begin in spring 2010.

For more information and to order your Dodge Viper ACR-X, call Viper Race Headquarters at (888) 960-3333 or visit www.viperheadquarters.com. Check out the Viper Racing League at http://www.viperdays.com/race_viper.php (the Viper Cup site was under construction as we went to press).

See you at SEMA

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Darren Jacobs

Each year, Mopar® and Chrysler Group LLC roll out one of the hottest displays at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, exhibiting parts, engines and “Moparized” vehicles so outrageously modified that eyeballs have been known to pop out of their sockets. But while SEMA Show attendees count the Mopar exhibit as a can’t miss stop, the Mopar and Chrysler Group contingent working the event have their own must-attend engagement in Vegas: the annual VCA SEMA dinner, hosted by the Nevada VCA.

The 2009 dinner, organized by Nevada VCA president Marko Radosavljevic, took place on Wednesday night, Nov. 4, as Viper owners and Mopar/Chrysler Group representatives dined at Tony Roma’s near the Las Vegas Convention Center. Members from VCA regions as far away as Europe (we’re talking about you, Colin Herd!) turned out for the event, which has been a mainstay at SEMA since the mid-1990s, according to Radosavljevic. The Nevada VCA issues an open invitation each year to any Chrysler Group LLC employee that wishes to attend the dinner and speak to the club.

Following a delicious meal of ribs, steaks and seafood, Viper owners participated in an informative Q&A session with Dale Aldo, Coordinator–Performance Parts, Mopar; Ed Arthur, SRT® Performance Parts Program Manager; and Joe Vitous, SRT & Motorsports Aero-Thermal Manager. The brief session was beneficial to both groups, according to Aldo.

“We not only explain the new products that we’ve come out with, but the VCA makes suggestions on new parts also,” says Aldo. “It’s a two-way street. We talked to the group about the new Viper ACR upgrade kit (see story on page 6) that is now available, and a bit later a Viper owner (Nevada VCA member Michael von Quilich) also made a suggestion on a retro fit fan kit, which we are now looking into making into a performance part. Even though it’s a very high-line car with tremendous performance potential and a tremendous performance package, Viper owners are still interested in tailoring the car to their own desires and tastes. They want to personalize the Viper and increase the performance potential.

“It’s always a pleasure to interact with such a loyal and enthusiastic group of consumers. They drive one of the most exciting vehicles ever produced. We look forward to getting their input to create more excitement in parts and accessories.”

Echoing Aldo, Radosavljevic raves about the annual chance to visit with the people who help build the VCA’s baby—the Dodge Viper.

“We love having the Chrysler folks come out and keep us posted on the new products and new information that’s coming out,” Radosavljevic says. “We heard about some new parts on their way and we also gave some feedback of our own. It was nice seeing all the folks from Mopar and Chrysler. We always seem to meet new people who are coming out for the first time.”

“It was a treat, just talking and listening to those guys,” said von Quilich, a member of the VCA since 2005. Scheduled to take part in a drag racing event at Irwindale Speedway in California soon after the SEMA Show, von Quilich was gifted with some insightful advice from Aldo during dinner.

“I received some very helpful tips from him,” said von Quilich. “He told me when I see the second yellow light (at the starting line), drop the hammer. Don’t wait for the green!”

How many car clubs can brag that they receive drag racing advice from their manufacturer? Not many, we’ll wager. The VCA SEMA dinner is just another example of a fact long understood by Viper owners—the Viper Club of America is the greatest car club in the world!

“I strongly urge the VCA members to get involved in their club,” exhorted Wedel. “The more you give, the more you get back. Once you experience that giving and how much you get back, I highly recommend taking it to the next level and volunteering as a Zone Director, Director at Large and then on to the National Board.”

Toy Box Trio

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Darren Jacobs

When charter Northern California VCA member Dick DeLuna needs to get his mind straight, he doesn’t head to the psychiatrist. Instead, DeLuna visits one of his three garages—dubbed “Toy Boxes”—to chill out among his astounding car collection, including a 1996 Dodge Viper GTS. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

“It’s my therapy,” explains DeLuna. “I don’t play golf, I don’t play tennis. I collect cars.”

DeLuna, 71, owner of a collection agency and a resident of Woodside, Calif., bought his first Dodge Viper in 1993 and his current one in 1996. The Snake joined a truly amazing car collection.

“Toy Box 1” is a 5,000 square foot barn that on the inside morphs into an architecturally astounding car cathedral, with a congregation of more than twenty cars. “Toy Box 2” is a 7,000 square foot warehouse in San Carlos, Calif., just minutes from Woodside, where DeLuna displays assorted foreign and American cars, maintains a working shop and stores his racing rig, motor home and race cars. DeLuna also uses the standard garage at his home (we’ll call it “Toy Box 3”) to house vehicles he is currently driving, or “playing with.” All told, the collection encompasses around 45 vehicles, “Everything from tractors to Doodlebugs,” according to DeLuna.

“Toy Box 1,” the barn-turned-car museum, is undoubtedly the most awe-inducing edifice in DeLuna’s garage stable. It boasts completely finished all-wood floors and ceilings, spread out over two levels and surrounded by a remarkable array of car memorabilia. The top level is home to pre-war vehicles; post-war gems take up the downstairs. The barn often plays host to tours by car clubs and organizations.

“One visitor said, ‘It’s a beautiful home with cars in it,’” recalls DeLuna.

“Toy Box 2” includes an oversize lift accompanied by a variety of other garage equipment and tools. The facility features 24-foot ceilings, large enough to accommodate the oversize automobile signs accumulated by DeLuna, an admitted automobilia addict.

“Toy Box 1” and “Toy Box 2 “ are 15 minutes apart, a fact that is no accident. “That way, I can drive all the old cars on city streets without going on the freeway,” says DeLuna, who spends about 2-to-2 ½ days in his garage per week.
DeLuna bought his first collector car in 1981. The collection has grown by leaps and bounds, and now includes a number of Chrysler classics.

“I’m a big Mopar® fan,” says DeLuna. “I have a 1936 Dodge Woody that has been hotrodded with a Mopar small block Magnum® engine. I also have a 1943 Jeep® Willys, 1948 Chrysler Town & Country, 1950 Willys Jeepster, 1946 stretched Skyview taxi cab, and my daily driver is a Dodge Magnum.”

With so many cars to choose from and so many garages in which to store them, one might wonder if DeLuna’s Viper gets lost in the shuffle. The answer, of course, is no (this is the Viper we’re talking about, after all!).

“The Viper is my American muscle car,” raves DeLuna. “I like brute American horsepower. I want something that is fun to drive, and that’s the Viper.”

In fact, chances are good that one more Viper might be joining DeLuna’s collection.

“That’s a very definite possibility,” says DeLuna. “I could see myself owning a Viper Competition Coupe. They look like they’re going 200 miles per hour before the key is turned on. That’s a car that excites me.”

If he does snap up another Viper, DeLuna faces a conundrum: Where to put it? “Toy Box 1,” “Toy Box 2,” or “Toy Box 3”? It’s a question DeLuna will surely enjoy answering!

Invasion of the Vipers

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Alex Ristanovic

A Viper is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. But what happens when nearly 125 Vipers get together for a good time? It’s a rare event and can consume entire cities! It happened again recently; and the Viper Club was responsible!

Each year the Viper Club of Illinois puts together a traveling event that has a vacation feel, takes over an interesting city, and makes a very public splash with the Vipers. 2009 was no exception as Vipers Invaded Niagara Falls!

The earliest beginnings of this trip took place on a Tuesday as large groups of cars began to make their way to a free “pre-event” in Detroit which was available only to those who were doing the Niagara trip. At this point, over 100 people and 55 Vipers congregated at the Marriot hotel in the northern suburb of Troy, filling the hotel’s back lot completely. The next morning was a real treat as chartered buses whisked everyone away on a special Chrysler car tour. But the fun was only beginning.

Upon returning to the hotel, there was a media blitz as news stations, radio and Web reporters were interviewing people and taking photos. The car enjoyed some great publicity as the club members were in full effect telling the world how much they love their Vipers. But the day wasn’t over. The second part of the afternoon included a special lunch prepared at none other than the home of Chrysler design VP Ralph Gilles! [Editor’s note: Just two weeks later Ralph was named President and CEO of Dodge. He will retain his design responsibilities. Could this be a portent of great things for the Dodge Viper?] Tents were set up, lunch was catered, there was a free raffle, an auction, a PartsRack furniture reveal, tour of Ralph and Doris’s home, special items on display, and many, many very well known VIPs in the Chrysler world! An airplane fly-by was even arranged to take aerial photos of the spectacle!

Later that afternoon, Vipers left Detroit and headed to Canada. Vipers crossing the border were an interesting sight. Among the many other passenger vehicles and large trucks, the shiny band of sleek sports cars stood in wait, stretching back across the bridge in one long line. The border guards, having been made aware of our entry into Canada, helped move the cars through rather quickly. The subsequent trip through the countryside was wonderful. Along the way pictures were being snapped by camera phones and by tourists watching the Vipers rumble through. During the trip more cars joined the group as the early evening brought Vipers pouring into the city in ?huge numbers!

Vipers drove in from all directions, coming from nearly every state. One club member even flew in from Europe to be part of this grand event! The Hilton Embassy Suites in Niagara Falls, Ontario, was proud to host the Viper event. They really rolled out the red carpet. Upon our arrival, the hotel staff helped guide the cars directly to their reserved spaces on two entire levels of the underground parking garage. Nearly a dozen Vipers adorned the paddock area in front of the hotel as a special display for the crowd to enjoy!

Thursday’s schedule was built to give everyone a chance to leave their cars for a whirlwind view of everything that is Niagara. The day included a Niagara Falls 4-D experience: A Behind the Falls tour, Maid of the Mist boat trip, Dave and Busters lunch, Aerial cable car ride, whitewater walk, power plant tour and Skylon Tower viewing. What a day! Everyone got their fix and CONTENT was the word of the day. That evening was also exciting as the club rented the Copacabana restaurant in Niagara Falls and treated everyone to a Brazilian steakhouse experience. By this time, the buzz of the Vipers had rippled throughout the city. You could see from across the street the Vipers were drawing quite the crowd in front of the hotel!

Friday morning brought the rumble of V-10’s as Vipers awoke and prepared for a great cruise day. The city of Niagara Falls had been advertising the Vipers visit for months in advance. The Vipers made their presence known as they passed through the area in one massive group! The cars drew many onlookers for what was over a “Mile-O’-Viper.” The car owners themselves were having a great time as it’s not often you drive in a line of Vipers so long that you can’t see its beginning or its end!

The Vipers visited many local towns and toured the countryside. Several stops were made throughout the cruise, which included the well-known Chateau Des Charmes Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the nearby town of Port Dalhousie, and a visit to the interesting Lock 3 of the Welland Canal. Everywhere the cars went, there were people wanting to be part of the action. Viper Club members in particular are a very welcoming group, always willing to answer questions and even let people sit in their cars at times. And when the group was away from their cars enjoying one of the stops, traveling security kept a watchful eye over the parked snakes.

Upon returning to the hotel, it was cleanup time as Vipers were getting washed and prepped for the next day. But that evening was also a very special one. The club reserved a segment of the huge Keg Steakhouse & Bar in our host hotel. Here members enjoyed a great dinner with stadium seating that overlooked Horseshoe Falls! Even here you could see the support for the car as many members proudly wore their Viper clothing. After 9 p.m., the illumination of the falls began as a stunning lighting effect was created onto the running falls. And at 10 p.m. the group was treated to a fantastic fireworks display right over the falls. What a way to end the night!

Saturday was a huge day as the city shut down one of its main streets for what was probably the most stunning Viper car show in history as the cars painted three blocks in wall-to-wall Vipers! Several sound stages were setup among the cars and many bands played throughout the day. The streets of Niagara Falls had a picturesque small town feel with beautifully manicured flowers everywhere. Viper owners interacted with onlookers and hit the many restaurants, coffee shops, and stores. Over 200 specially designed “Viper Invades Niagara” frisbees were handed out to grateful visitors. Even more excitement was added to the day as the Viper Club arranged for ?a 150 foot crane to be erected in three places to allow brave club photographers the rare opportunity to photograph the spectacle while they dangled in a basket 150 feet above the cars!

The event was brought to a close in the afternoon as cars fired up and slowly departed. The evening and Sunday were left open for club members to kick back and do what they wanted. The smile on every face was an indication that the trip met their expectations.

Many people came together to help plan this event, including many sponsors who stepped up to make this a VERY affordable trip for club members. Huge thanks to our biggest sponsors Dodge, PartsRack, and Roanoke Motor Company. Other sponsors included Prefix, Details by D, Northern Trust Bank, OnTrack Insurance, and the IL VCA.
This was an historic event, which affected so many people, involved a complete city, and greatly supported Dodge, our carmaker. A total of 123 Vipers and over 225 people were involved with the event! The publicity before, during and after this event was magnificent! The Vipers were in several newspapers and made front page news twice – before and after the event. This was a treat for both Vipers owners and spectators alike. And judging from the occasional burnout patch seen from time to time on the streets, I can say for certain – Vipers left their “mark” on Niagara Falls – and the city will never be the same again!

A Note from Viper Headquarters

When Illinois VCA President/Midwest Zone Officer Alex Ristanovic told VIPER Magazine about the fabulous Niagara Falls “Invasion” we were incredibly envious. The Illinois VCA doesn’t do anything halfway, so we knew this would be a big one and we found ourselves scheming about ways to go along. Alas, deadlines and other commitments here at Viper Headquarters prevented our attendance, but, when we noticed that the trip included a “Pre-Event” in Metro Detroit, we called Alex and slithered our way into the snake pit for a day. The experience was no less than fantastic—a quick trip to a secret Chrysler stopover and then lunch with Ralph Gilles, Sr. V.P. of Product Design and soon-to-be President and CEO, Dodge Car Brand (he’s the new leader of the Viper Nation, among other very important duties—and he’ll be doing a column in VIPER Magazine). Here are a few photos from our excellent mini-adventure.

Carrying the Torch

Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Roger Meiners

On January 26, 2008, NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert, of Lincolnton, N.C., experienced every parent’s worst nightmare—his two sons, Jon, 17, and James, 12, lost their lives in an automobile accident. Herbert, trying to make sense of the tragedy, decided to form a non-profit organization that would focus on safe driving. He wanted to help prevent other parents, friends and families from enduring the pain of losing a loved one to an automobile accident.

Herbert partnered with Jon’s classmates from SouthLake Christian Academy in Huntersville, N.C., to create a name for the safe driving foundation. The students chose B.R.A.K.E.S. – which stands for Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe. It is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that, among other things, sponsors driving instruction for young people. For more information, visit www.putonthebrakes.com.

Meanwhile, on a parallel course, Doug and his father, Chet, the famous hot rodder, land speed record pioneer and speed parts pioneer (remember the Herbert roller camshaft?) decided to build a streamliner to break the absolute record for wheel-driven vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. And what better engine to use than the vaunted Viper V-10? The Herberts thought so and installed two, just to be sure.

Unfortunately, Doug’s dad passed away this year and will not be able to witness the results of the project. But Doug is pressing on, with the aid of none other than Ray Evernham the lengendary NASCAR crew chief and team owner. In fact, they are calling this the Herbert-Evernham Land Speed Record (LSR) Project.

And what of those Viper V-10s? Displacement is 512.66 cid. Superchargers are F3 Procharger. They’re using Striker cylinder heads, CP Pistons, Oliver rods and Winberg crankshafts. Compression is 8.5 to 1 and projected horsepower is 2,000 per motor. 

Follow the LSR team’s progress at www.lsrproject.com.

Look for updates on the project in future issues of VIPER Magazine as well.

A New Viper in the Valley

Written by editor on . Posted in Letters, Winter 2010

Hello, I currently reside in southern Texas and take pleasure in reading VIPER Magazine. As I have always envied Dodge’s amazing Viper machines, I have dreamed of owning one someday. That someday came one day in October 2008. I was shopping for a very Viper orange Dodge Viper convertible with charcoal racing stripes and found that quantities in the United States were limited. I located one in northern Colorado and managed to make a deal with a dealership. Having only seen a few pictures of the vehicle, I purchased the vehicle and had it shipped to me in an enclosed car hauler.

Anxiously awaiting my new Viper’s arrival, the shipping company notified me and I rushed home to meet them. As they unloaded the vehicle I was speechless. I recall sitting in the vehicle for an hour in the garage doing nothing other than hoping I would not awake from a dream. As time has progressed so has my volume of work. Unfortunately, I am not able to drive it as much as I would like, but I do take the occasional weekend trip down country roads and every once in a while to South Padre Island’s Texas beach.

At age 32, I can say I have owned many fast and amazing machines. However, I can honestly say nothing has ever given me a rush quite like a Viper. I love the publishing of custom Viper license plates in your magazine and thought I would share mine in the hopes that maybe one issue it will be published as well.

“One day with the top down is better than a lifetime in a box …”

J. Matthew Eckert

Via e-mail

Congratulations on taking possession of your first Viper! It’s always nice to see enthusiasm, like yours, for Dodge and the Viper. And we know you’ll be able to enjoy longer driving seasons (with the top down) than most Viper owners, living in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.—Ed.

Viper Soccer Team

Here are some tough Vipers—my daughter Camilia’s age ten and under AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) team. Lia—short for Camilia—is standing to the left of the banner. The expressions are an attempt at showing me their mean faces.

Patricia Jimenez

Menlo Park, Calif.

Thanks for sharing the great photo of your daughter’s Viper soccer team, Patricia. They all have their game faces on and look fearless! Perhaps seeds have been planted today for future Dodge Viper owners.—Ed.

First Viper RT/10

[[article_two_image]]I’ve been a new Dodge Viper RT/10 owner for over a year! My Viper’s features include: 13″ EBC Sport Slotted and Dimpled Brake Rotor Set, EBC Greenstuff Pads, Harland Sharp 1.7 Ratio Roller Rockers, MSD 8.5 mm spark plug wires, Billy Boat Performance Exhaust with 3″ high-flow cats, American Racing Headers – 1 5/8″ stepped up to 1 ¾” primary tubes, Hurst shifter, Clutch lower kit, Fidanza fly wheel, Centerforce clutch, Paxton supercharger and 42 lb. fuel injectors.

I’ve loved Vipers since I was a kid. Here’s a photo of my license plate. Do you feel it fits my Viper? I love VIPER Magazine and wish it came out every month. Keep up the great work!

Piero Zito

Via e-mail

Absolutely! Great license plate, Piero! Thank you for sharing the photo and mentioning all the modifications to your RT/10.—Ed.


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Written by editor on . Posted in Winter 2010

By Roger Meiners

Want the ACR look and aero performance for your GEN III and GEN IV Viper? Mopar® has the actual ACR carbon fiber Wing and other ACR bits and pieces waiting for you in their Performance Catalog—and online at www.mopar.com. These aero parts offer not only bold aesthetics, but functional benefits on the track. The “Race” kits include a variable geometry “fanged” front splitter, an adjustable rear wing sculpted by CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and optimized front dive planes to maximize downforce (up to 1,000 lbs.) and provide increased levels of lateral grip. These new aerodynamic devices are formed in high-performance autoclaved carbon-fiber.

The splitter and dive planes feature a clear-coated carbon-fiber weave. The front splitter includes three removable rub strips that provide protection and wear resistance. It also includes a track extension that replaces the center splitter rub strip for closed-circuit events and reduces overall drag and increases front downforce nearly one-third. Two part numbers, P5155265 and P5155272 are for “Off-Road Use Only” and require a coilover kit (P5155234) to resist high downforce conditions at high speeds. Another two part numbers, P5155273 and P5155274 (for the Viper Roadster) have shorter wings for street use.


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