Written by independent automotive journalist Tom Jensen
When Dodge unleashed the Viper sports car on the unsuspecting public in 1992, there was no mystery, no pretense, no hidden message about what the car was or what it represented. The first-generation Viper roadsters were as subtle as a flamethrower, as refined as a sledgehammer and as loud as a freight train.
The Viper was a Dodge on a mission; a two-seat, V10-powered sports car designed to thrill drivers with its race-car-like chassis, its throaty motor, fat tires and a devilishly sexy body that looked like it came from a superhero action movie.
Dodge created the Viper because it needed a halo car, something that would define the automaker’s willingness to defy convention, ignore normal limitations and make a bold and audacious statement. And the Viper did just that.
From 1992 clear through 2017 Dodge, and at times its SRT sub-brand, built about 25,000 Vipers in five distinct generations. Through the 25 years there were myriad changes to the Vipers produced, but two things remained constant: Every Viper ever built came with a V10 engine, and every Viper was thrilling to drive. The car may have changed over the years, but its mission never did, nor did its attitude.
What began in 1992 as a 400-horsepower V10 sports roadster that would accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph, morphed into a beast that in its final incarnation produced as many as 650 horsepower, went from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and had a top speed of 208 mph.
At the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction, April 12-15 at the South Florida Fairgrounds, there will be a remarkable pair of Vipers for sale at No Reserve, meaning they each will be auctioned to the highest bidder, regardless of the dollar amount bid.
Call it a tale of two Vipers, for each is unique, each is brash and beautiful, and, for sure, both are road rockets.
The first of the two Vipers is a 2010 Hennessey Viper Venom 1000 Twin-Turbo Coupe (Lot #660). One of just 24 built by Hennessey Performance Engineering, this beautiful Viper has just 442 actual miles from new.
And make no mistake about it, the Hennessey Viper Venom 1000 package isn’t just a couple of bolt-on parts to show off a hot car. It is an entire reimagining of the Viper’s already prodigious performance capabilities.
According to the Hennessey website, the Viper Venom 1000 package produces truly astounding numbers: 1,120 horsepower, 1,092 ft/lbs of torque, zero to 60 mph acceleration in 2.7 seconds and quarter-mile runs of 9.7 seconds at 152 mph.
Virtually everything in the engine is new or upgraded in the Hennessey package: rods, pistons, fuel injectors, turbochargers, bearings, headers, intercoolers, wastegates, fuel pump and lines. You name it, Hennessey has made it better. And, of course, it comes with proper plaques and badges to identify it as a Hennessey Viper Venom 1000 Twin Turbo Coupe.
If your tastes lean more towards bone-stock, Barrett-Jackson has that covered, too, because also scheduled to cross the auction block in Palm Beach is a 100-percent stock 2013 Dodge Viper GTS (Lot #406), one of only 62 produced that year in a gorgeous and vibrant hue known as Stryker Red.
The 2013 model year marked the introduction of the fifth-generation Viper, the ultimate manifestation of the high-performance sports car Dodge had spent more than two decades perfecting.
That means that under the hood is the 640-horsepower, 8.4-liter V10 engine, which is connected to a 6-speed manual transmission.
This Viper is in pristine condition, with less than 3,000 actual miles in its garage-kept life. All maintenance on this lustrous beauty has been performed by a professionally trained Viper technician, ensuring it is in optimal running order. The consignor says the car is free of mechanical and cosmetic issues, and has never been on a racetrack or out in the rain.
So whether you like your Viper just as it rolled off the production line or tweaked and tuned to deliver true supercar performance, Barrett-Jackson has you covered in Palm Beach.
For up-to-date information on these and other vehicle on the Palm Beach Auction docket, click HERE.