What does the future hold for one of America's top sports cars?
At this year's Detroit Auto Show, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed in an interview with Consumer Guide that the current Viper may be coming to an end. He states, "financial arguments to keep the current car don't add up." If the Viper program is discontinued, what will it mean to it's future status as a classic car?
Before we look at the future, let's take a look at the past.
The Viper began production in 1991, and it quickly joined the ranks of the AC Cobra as one of America's most hardcore roadsters. It carried a V10 8L engine from a truck. It lacked modern driving aids which made it difficult to handle at high speeds. It didn't have air conditioning, adjustable suspension, or a proper roof until 1994. Dodge didn't bother to offer ABS until 2001. It was a car for those that didn't mind taking a risk with every touch of the throttle.
It also resulted in a great investment. During the last 10 years, values on classic Vipers (model years 1992-1995) have soared by over 34%. Many potential collectors are now asking themselves if the current Viper will see similar growth in its future.
The current 3rd generation Viper was released in 2013. It was a new car from the ground up, with a modern body and an exciting 8.4L V10 which produced 640hp. But it was also filled with modern driving assists at the request of former SRT CEO Ralph Gilles, "I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car."
With a high price, tough competition from the US and overseas, sales were slow, production volumes were cut, and the factory was closed for over two months. The new Viper looked like a financial failure.
But not all was lost. In 2015, Dodge began production on the ACR variant aimed at road racing and autocross. More power was added, while assists were removed. To keep it short, it was a track animal that remained road legal. As of this writing, it broke over 13 production car track records. While not a financial success, it placed the 2016 ACR Viper into the history books.
That is significant to both auto enthusiasts and future Viper collectors. Low production numbers, incredible performance and a place in the history books is what will only help the ACR Viper grow in value.