The Dodge Viper has once again departed the automotive landscape, but it won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Why? Because it represented one of the purest sports cars a Detroit automaker ever built—and actually built in Detroit, Michigan, at that.
Donut Media is back to help us get up to speed on the Dodge Viper, but here’s a factoid: Lamborghini was paramount to the Viper project.
Yes, at the time Chrysler owned Lamborghini and it tasked the Italian supercar maker with creating the Viper’s V-10 engine. Dodge handed over its cast-iron block V-10, which was designed for trucks, and told Lamborghini engineers to make it suitable for a sports car. The Italian brand worked its magic and recast the block and heads in aluminum, and thus, the 8.0-liter V-10 was born. It was two liters larger than the Diablo’s engine and was built at a quarter of the price.
1996 Lamborghini Diablo once owned by Jamiroquai is for sale
Actually, the Lamborghini connection doesn’t stop there. The same designer who penned the Lamborghini Diablo actually designed the original Dodge Viper—none other than Tom Gale. The Viper was Gale’s crown jewel before retiring from Chrysler in 2000. Chrysler sold Lamborghini to an Indonesian investment group in 1994 before it would land in the hands of Volkswagen Group in 1998.
The V-10 engine would remain a hallmark to the Viper through its entire 25-year run and continued as a testament to “no replacement for displacement.” In its final iteration, the 8.4-liter V-10 engine cranked out 645 hp.
Fiat Chrysler built the final Dodge Viper on August 18, and the automaker finished it in the same red color as the original Viper built in 1992. FCA said the last Viper will join the automaker’s heritage collection.