Unless you left your Viper parked outside in a sandstorm chances are it isn’t primed for a full frame off restoration. However, its a great ride to customize. And as difficult as it is to believe it was 20 years ago that Dodge unvieled its V-10 beast!
The Viper was first concieved in 1988 as a modern day Cobra and premiered in concept form at the 1989 North American International Auto Show. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the company decided to prep it be produced as a regular production vehicle. Team Viper consisted of 85 carefully selected engineers. Wanting to create a modern muscle car and needing to adhere to modern fuel consumption standards the Viper’s engine naturally become the centerpiece of its design.
The team started with Dodge’s caste-iron block V-10 truck engine which was far too heavy for sports car production. The team had Lamborghini (a Chrysler subsidiary) recast the block and head in aluminium alloy. The result was a 711lbs monster that kicked up to 400bhp during dyno chassis testing, clocked 0-60 in 4.6s and had a top speed of 164mph.
The first generation of Viper was in someways all balls and no brains. It lacked modern safety amenities like traction control and anti-lock brakes. Considering its curb weight of 3,284lbs it is easy to understand why Car and Driver likened it to playing ping-pong with a Lousiville slugger. The vehicle also lacked side windows and a roof, although a soft-top was available.
Being the restoration gurus that you are these challenges may be minor, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The 1992 Viper was a beast for sure. But, it would get absolutely beasted by its modern equivalent. The 2012 Viper boasts 600bhp engine and a top speed of over 200mph. Nasty!
Photo Credit: consumerautoguide.howstuffworks.com