DoDge Viper Hisstory..

As spectacular-looking as the Viper RT/10 roadster was, the 1996 Viper GTS coupe was even more so. With a roof obviously inspired by the classic Cobra Daytona coupes Shelby American used to win the FIA GT Championship in 1965 and an aggressive ducktail rear spoiler, the GTS Coupe looked simply stunning in vivid Shelby Blue with classic white stripes. It was hard to believe any car could top the original Viper for visual impact. It took another Viper to do it.

Besides the new roof the GTS included such exciting features as roll-up side windows and exterior door handles. Also, the exhaust was rerouted out the back to produce a significantly more pleasing sound and output of the significantly updated 8.0-liter V10 swelled up to 450 hp. Also aboard for the first time were OBD-II emissions controls, aluminum links in the suspension system, dual front airbags and a lighter-weight frame.

That rear exit exhaust also made it to the 1996 RT/10 roadster, which was enough to bump output of its V10 to 415 hp. The roadster also got an improved optional fabric top with better weather sealing.

A production Viper GTS paced the 1996 Indianapolis 500, setting up even more good news for 1996 as the updated 450-hp V10.

The first Viper concept debuted at the 1989 NAIAS, followed by prototypes; the late-1989 VM01 was powered by the 360 V8, but a V10 was already planned. The early-1990 VM02 was powered by the 8-liter V10. The original V10 was reportedly built with the involvement of Lambourghini, which was partly owned by Chrysler at the time; the basic engineering was of course Chrysler’s, since it was based on the venerable 360, but Lambourghini worked on the cooling system, crankshaft balance, weight reduction, and fine tuning; the Italian automaker’s expertise in aluminum was also tapped, since the Viper had an aluminum block to save roughly 150 pounds of weight. Unique features of the Viper version of the V-10, versus the truck engine, included a low-profile cross-ram intake with dual throttle bodies, the manifolds, oil pan, heads, and accessory drive; the compression ratio was raised, the pistons lightened, the maximum engine speed increased, the valves enlarged, the rods and crank strengthened. In the end, few components were shared with the truck engine.
The 2008 Viper had similar consultations from McLaren Performance (not to be confusing with the McLaren racing people who work with Mercedes).

The Viper, at its introduction to the public, was intended to be two things to the corporation. The public version was that Chrysler needed a halo car to show they were still the best at building a low cost vehicle of any type and beating the old Shelby Cobra 0-100-0 times was a showman's way of achieving just that. Privately (and more importantly), within the corporation, the Viper was a production technique testbed- to see if the corporation really could develop new methods of manufacture and assembly to lower the cost of a vehicle. It was originally intended to be killed off and a totally different vehicle replace it in the 1997 model year.
If you take a look under the skin of a 1st generation Viper, it was a crude and rude "kit car," similar to what home builders had been building for years in Cobra replicas. Chrysler (actually JTE engineers working on their own time) translated this into a vehicle and production line that, in one fell swoop, became the most sought after assignment in the corporation up to that point.

Team Viper's primary goal was a vehicle that concentrated on performance above all else. Their benchmark: to go from 0 to 100 back to 0 in under 15 seconds.

The first result was a show car, which appeared on January 4, 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to test public reaction; orders began to flow before the show ended, and the "go" was given.

Chrysler decided to use the Viper RT/10 to test its new platform team concept, taken from Honda's process. An independent cross-functional team was created, making its own rules and creating its own supplier base. The team leader sifted through scores of volunteers to find appropriate people. Team Viper began three years of intensive, often around-the-clock operations that stretched from Italy, where the aluminum engine block was perfected -- to the race tracks at Nelson Ledges and Road Atlanta, where they fine-tuned the chassis and powertrain. Team members worked closely with major automotive suppliers to develop unique components for the Viper RT/10 which would withstand the tremendous stresses associated with high-performance driving. For Chrysler, the Viper itself was considerably less important than the lessons learned in the platform teams, which would soon create in rapid succession the LH (Intrepid), PL (Neon), Clouds (Stratus), new minivans, new Ram, Prowler, and more.

Chassis prototypes, called "mules" in the automotive industry, were developed to study vehicle dynamics. Within a year of Viper's auto show appearance, a V-8-powered mule was being tested. A few months later, a stablemate powered by a cast iron V-10 (presumably from the Ram) joined the test fleet. Finally, in May 1990, Chrysler announced that the Viper would be made with the aluminum V-10; and in May it performed as the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500. Finally, in December of 1991, the first red Viper RT/10 production vehicles rolled off the New Mack Avenue assembly line -- exactly three years after the concept car's 1989 auto show triumph. A second color, black, appeared in 1993, followed in 1994 by yellow and emerald green.

The RT/10 was joined by the Viper GTS in 1996, bringing some refinement to the design, so that it would be one of the world's premier Grand Touring cars rather than a raw racer. The GTS was seen as catering to a broader customer base than the RT/10. While the GTS and the RT/10 look much alike, more than 90 percent of the Coupe was new. Every major part was subjected to scrutiny with telling effect: the GTS with air conditioning weighed nearly 100 pounds less than the 1994 RT/10 without air. Weight reduction changes on both platforms reduced weight by 200 pounds; these included an all-aluminum suspension system and re-engineered frame. For GTS, weight reduction was focused in the engine and cooling system, where over 80 pounds were removed.

By 1998, 9,500 Vipers cruised the world's boulevards and racetracks, building a very strong and extremely enthusiastic owner core. Currently there are more than 1,700 members of the Viper Club of America and 27 Viper Clubs throughout the United States.
What is in a Dodge Viper - and how it is made
Viper's 8.0-liter engine is the largest and most powerful available today in an American production sports car. Viper GTS Coupe and RT/10 Roadster share the same 450 horsepower (460 in GT2 and ACR models) engine, suspension, brake system and adjustable pedal set.

Air intake is through a cast aluminum manifold with formed tubes, including an integral fuel rail cored in the castings. The dual throttle bodies and bottom-feed high-impedence fuel injectors control fuel flow and mixture. Fuel is fed to the injectors by a sequential multipoint injection system.

The engine's forged aluminum pistons are set in cast iron liners. The aluminum cylinder head features a conventional two valves per cylinder with higher-revving dual valve springs.

While a natural extension of the classic American V-8 (the small-block LA series, to be exact), a number of the V-10's unusual design features were derived from Formula One engines. Among these features are a closed tappet gallery for better intake manifold seating, and a sophisticated internal water flow system which traces its route outside the engine block, inside the cylinder head, around each cylinder and inside each combustion chamber for increased engine cooling.
Spent combustion gasses travel through a stainless steel tubular exhaust manifold, then pass through unique sill-mounted catalytic converters and exit at the center rear.
The six-speed manual transmission was designed to harness Viper's substantial power and match its high-performance expectations. It boasts an electronic reverse lockout feature and first-to-fourth skip-shift for fuel economy.
In developing this engine, Team Viper set out to maintain the simple powertrain design of classic high-performance sports cars -- because simplicity leads to durability, reliability and serviceability.
Classic Construction 
Viper's massive V-10 engine is mounted on what is believed to be the stiffest sports car chassis ever built.
The engine is cradled by two massive rectangular-tube frame rails, which turn out at the front bulkhead and continue on down the sides. Positioned between the front bulkhead and the back of the cockpit is a central backbone of smaller rectangular tubes. This is attached at the back to a cage or box which encompasses the rear suspension, a 19-gallon fuel tank, a spare tire, the battery and the trunk.
The fully independent front and rear suspensions feature unequal-length upper and lower "A" arms and coil-over springs made of lightweight, yet strong micro-grain alloy steel. High-performance gas-filled shocks minimize aeration.

The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system features positive on-center feel and a fast 16.7:1 steering ratio for quick and responsive maneuvering. Lock to lock is accomplished in a mere 2.4 turns. Viper's turning circle is 40.5 feet and its maximum turning angle is 28 degrees.

Viper's high performance brake system features four-piston front calipers with huge 13" x 1.26" vented rotors up front and 13" x.86 vented rotors at the rear. This system was specially designed to help meet the stated test-track goal of 0-100-0 mph in less than 15 seconds.

Truly massive high performance Michelin Pilot Sport tires created for the Viper are instrumental in translating the car's abundant horsepower and torque to more linear terms. These directional tires, 275/35ZR18 front and 335/30ZR18 rear, are a major factor in Viper's 1g lateral acceleration capability.

The tires are mounted on forged aluminum wheels with Viper logo centers (BBS forged aluminum wheels with chrome Viper Head center caps for the GT2 and ACR models).

Finally, Viper's cooling system consists of a lightweight copper-core radiator and an electronically controlled dual-speed electric fan. A front-mounted engine air-to-oil cooler is also standard.

Assembly & Testing 
Each Dodge Viper is hand-assembled at a special Detroit, Michigan facility on Conner Avenue by carefully chosen, skilled UAW workers with over 300 hours of training each.

Each Viper is made up of approximately 50 component modules which are shipped to the Viper facility from locations throughout North America. Stamping, casting, painting and welding take place off-site. Composite body panels arrive already painted. Complete instrument panels are supplied with the gauges tested and set in place. Engines are assembled and tested at a Chrysler engine plant.

The Conner Avenue Assembly Plant has adjacent work stations. Adjustments are made at each work station by individual craftspersons acting as their own inspectors, eliminating traditional repair stations and inspectors. Problems are immediately dealt with, even if they require a discussion with the on-site Team Viper engineer. All procedures are verified by assembly team members, with working team leaders coordinating efforts through craft managers.

The Viper assembly process is as unique as the car itself, even extending to testing procedures. For example, as is the case with race cars, wheel alignment includes adjustment of "bump steer." A special machine is used to align all four wheels off their wheel hubs. In this way, the wheels are moved up and down in their suspension travel and alignment is set in three different positions.

Every Viper is also "roll tested," which involves running the car at speed, in place, on special rollers right at the assembly center while the car is a "hot rolling chassis" minus all body panels. It is driven through all six speeds of its transmissions, up to 90 mph, in order to validate the proper functioning of all systems under actual driving conditions

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Dodge Viper history

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