A North Carolina dealership ordered a large batch of 135 cars before Dodge discontinued Viper production. Now the team that builds the car has to see what it has in store in order to fulfill the demand for the final run. If there's more to be made after all orders are accounted for, the ordering process will reopen. If the current orders will utilize the remaining parts needed, then that's going to be all she wrote for the Viper.
If you want one, you may be able to find a Viper in stock in your local dealership. If you can't, then perhaps you should hop on a plane and get to North Carolina to pick one up from the Gerry Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram store in Salisbury. That dealer currently has 128 examples listed for sale on its website, and the dealer is not adding markups.
It's been a fun 25 years with the Viper, and the car is better than it's ever been. In this case, it seems, the good really do die young.
Of course, this news might not be so great for a the dealership that bought what it thought was the last 135 Vipers ever to be made. That was likely an attempt for a cash grab but Gerry Wood Dodge swears it has no intention of marking up the cars over MSRP. Despite the promise, those 135 cars probably just became a whole lot less special.
Want to get a 2017 Dodge Viper before it dies? Seems you just got lucky, but you better start counting those pennies or writing to Santa now, because once those order books open you can bet another flood of deposits will be put down. Who knows how many more Vipers Dodge can actually build.
SOURCEAfter all, it was Marchionne who in 2012 made the decision to pull the plug on NASCAR, leaving the Sprint Cup series with just three manufacturers: Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. He said during that press conference that, at the time, he was trying to balance the books at Chrysler and NASCAR was an expense he could not justify. That said, Dodge had only a two-car team with Roger Penske, and won the season championship with Brad Keselowski.
Dodge had a deal with Andretti Autosport to take over Dodge in 2013, but that stalled with Marchionne's final decision.
Marchionne said at the Ferrari press conference that the books are balanced, and it may be time to come back.
"I had dinner with Jim France last night," Marchionne said, referring to the executive vice president of NASCAR, "and we discussed the possibility."
Unfortunately for Dodge loyalists, the analysis regarding a return to the sport showed that it would be too complex and, more importantly, too expensive. Part of the problem would be finding a team with top-tier engine-building capability-and there just aren't many choices now that the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series has consolidated engine-building among a handful of teams (Or in Toyota's case, the company itself.) Dodge would prefer to supply the engine specifications and have the engines built by the team, like they were at Penske. But there are minimal options.
Also, re-creating the infrastructure to race at NASCAR's highest level-which Dodge did gradually starting with the NASCAR Camping World truck series before entering the Cup series in 2001 with the help of then-flush Dodge dealers-would be prohibitively expensive. The bottom line: perhaps the company could afford to return to NASCAR, as Marchionne suggested, but that doesn't mean it would make financial sense.
Dodge left NASCAR on top, as they did when they dropped the Dodge Viper program from the American Le Mans Series immediately after winning a season championship. The company has now reallocated its motorsports support to the National Hot Rod Association, where Dodge- and Mopar-backed teams are doing well in Funny Car and Top Fuel.
Like he did in 2012, Marchionne could conceivably overrule the recommendation that Dodge not return to NASCAR, but that seems unlikely. Nor is Volkswagen, which came very close to fielding a Cup car based on the Passat, likely to reconsider its decision to not join the series. And for those holding out hope that Honda/Acura might race in NASCAR-always a very abstract possibility-that became more of a long shot this week when Roger Penske and Acura announced they would race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, the NASCAR-affiliated sports car - sanctioning body.
So unless a manufacturer comes out of left field with the money and dedication to make a NASCAR program work, it appears that NASCAR will have to make do with Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. As one Dodge employee suggested: "We don't want to come back and embarrass ourselves."
This week marked the third attempt at a lap time for the independent group. It was a week of several misfortunes. Early on, driver Luca Stolz suffered a sudden left-front tire failure at speeds exceeding 170 mph. After replacing the tire, Stolz returned to the track, but a loose drain plug caused the car to lose its differential oil, seizing the diff and putting the car out of contention.
Driver Lance Arnold set the 7:01.3 lap time on his first full-speed lap in the second Viper ACR, beating the previous 7:03.23 the team set late in August. But on his second lap, Arnold’s car suffered nearly the exact same tire failure that hobbled Stolz. At around 160 mph in a corner, Arnold’s left-front tire gave out. He grazed the left side guardrail, then skidded across the track into the railing on the right. The airbags deployed, but luckily, Arnold walked away without injury.
With both cars out of contention, and an unforeseen expense to repair the damaged railing, this seems to be the end of the crowdfunded, privateer effort to set a Viper ‘Ring lap time. Russ Oasis, the man who hatched the idea and who has been at the legendary circuit for every minute of this gargantuan effort, was understandably disappointed to have it end like this.
“The combination of this powerful car and this track demands too much from any tire that can also be street legal,” Oasis told me by phone from Germany. “This wraps up our effort, trying to bring home the ultimate worldwide production car record at the Nurburgring.
“It’s been an honor to have worked with drivers of this elite level,” he continued. “Luca Stolz, Lance Arnold, Mario and Dominik Farnbacher, we couldn’t have done this without them.” Dominik Farnbacher in particular was a driving force in the effort, Oasis said, working as the development driver who provided the feedback for the team to get the ACR’s suspension and aero settings idealized for the demanding 12.9-mile circuit.
Those racers, Oasis noted, had high hopes for the Viper too. “Everyone thought it was good for a 6:55,” he said. “Not one of them thought it couldn’t do that. Every single driver said this car is unbelievable.”
While the Viper crew wasn’t able to get below seven minutes, their effort has put the 2017 Dodge Viper ACR firmly into the record books—without any support from Dodge. As we told you back in July, this has been the only privately-funded, non-factory-backed effort to set a ‘Ring lap time. The fact that they did it with showroom-fresh, bone-stock Vipers (provided by Texas dealership Viper Exchange), full-tread-depth street-legal tires (supplied by Kumho, a major sponsor of the effort), and transparency unmatched by any automaker effort, sets them apart from any other ‘Ring lap attempt known to Road & Track. We can think of no better tribute to the Viper as it ends production.