The Dodge Viper (sold as the Dodge SRT-10 in the United Kingdom) is a V10-powered sports car manufactured by the Dodge division of Chrysler Corporation. Production of the two seat sports car began in Detroit, Michigan, USA, at the New Mack Assembly Plant (now called New Mack Engine Complex), in 1992 and moved to its current home at Conner Avenue Assembly in October 1995. The car, as well as numerous variations of it, has made countless appearances in TV shows, video games, movies, and music videos. All generations had the same 6-speed manual transmission. According to 2009 research by internet company Yahoo, the Viper is the second most fuel consuming car on sale in the United Kingdom.
The Viper has appeared in every Gran Turismo game so far, excluding Gran Turismo HD Concept.
The Viper was conceived as a historical take on the classic American sports car. The iconic AC Cobra was a source of inspiration, and the final version of the Viper bears this out with its powerful engine, minimalist straightforward design, muscular and aggressive styling, and high performance. Some saw claims to kinship with the Cobra as a marketing exercise, ignoring that Carroll Shelby was heavily involved in the initial design of the Viper, and subsequent design of the Viper GTS coupe. Notably, the later (1996 through 2002) Viper GTS coupe took a few design cues from the Pete Brock designed Shelby Cobra Daytona. Though the proportions seem similar at first glance, the designs are quite unique. Carroll Shelby was key in the development of the RT/10 as well as having a hand in the development of the GTS model.
The Viper was initially conceived in late 1988 at Chrysler's Advanced Design Studios. The following February, Chrysler president Bob Lutz suggested to Tom Gale at Chrysler Design that the company should consider producing a modern Cobra, and a clay model was presented to Lutz a few months later. Produced in sheet metal by Metalcrafters the car appeared as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in 1989. Public reaction was so enthusiastic, that chief engineer Roy Sjoberg was directed to develop it as a standard production vehicle.
Sjoberg selected 85 engineers to be "Team Viper," with development beginning in March 1989. The team asked the then-Chrysler subsidiary Lamborghini to cast some prototype aluminum blocks based on Dodge's V10 truck engine for sports car use in May. The production body was completed in the fall, with a chassis prototype running in December. Though a V8 was first used in the test mule, the V10, which the production car was meant to use, was ready in February 1990.
Official approval from Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca came in May 1990. One year later, Carroll Shelby piloted a pre-production car as the pace vehicle in the Indianapolis 500 race. In November 1991, the car was released to reviewers, with the first retail shipments beginning in January 1992.
The Viper in Gran Turismo
There are several road and race car versions of the Dodge Viper featured in the Gran Turismo series:
- Dodge STP Taisan Viper GT (JGTC) '99
- Dodge Viper Gr.4
- Dodge Viper GTS '96
- Dodge Viper GTS '99
- Dodge Viper GTS '02
- Dodge Viper GTS-R '96
- Dodge Viper GTS R Concept '00
- Dodge Viper GTS-R Team Oreca Race Car '99
- Dodge Viper GTS-R Team Oreca Race Car '00
- Dodge Viper RT/10 '96
- Dodge Viper SRT10 '03
- Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR '08
- Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe '06
- Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe/Tuned Car '06
- Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R '15
- SRT Viper GTS '13
- SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition '13