Saying goodbye to the Viper

For over 25 years, the Dodge Viper has boasted one of the biggest (if not the biggest) production motors to ever be placed in a American made street legal vehicle. The original Viper boasted an 8.0 L V-10 overhead valve motor with an aluminum block and heads and produced a maximum of 400 HP and 465 ft-lbs of torque. The first generation Viper got from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds. Since the introduction of its groundbreaking vehicle Dodge has steadily improved its power and torque output while simultaneously improving its handling and balance. The current generation of the Viper, especially the very highly capable ACR, is a track carving engineering marvel with a specially designed rear wing, adjustable diffusers along the front and rear of the vehicle, and track tuned suspension with adjustable bump and rebound.

Unfortunately Dodge’s parent company FCA announced last year that it cease all production of the Viper at the end of the model year, citing low sales numbers. This fifth generation version has an 8.4 L V-10 engine with a total power output of 600 HP at 6200 RPM and maximum torque output of 640 RPM at 4950 RPM. Both the engine block and engine head are constructed of lightweight, high strength aluminum for improved durability. The 2017 Viper’s intake manifold is not aluminum but it has been redesigned using a lightweight composite that vastly improves its thermal capabilities as well as the flow of the air/fuel mixture headed into the combustion chamber. Engine bore and stroke are 103 mm and 100.6 mm, respectively and the compression ration is 10.2:1.  Intake and exhaust valves are actuated by a single cam variable valve timing system that adjusts the opening of the intake and exhaust valves independently. Fuel is supplied via sequential fuel injection for improved engine response.

Engine lubrication lubrication is accomplished with a wet sump system, as has been the case in previous generations of the car. The Viper uses a specially designed arm within the oil pan that swings under intense turning conditions, breaking and acceleration to ensure that the optimal amount of oil is available to the engine in those situations. The arm has been tested by Dodge engineers and proven in racing conditions. All of this power is sent to the rear wheels via a Tremec TR6060 six speed manual transmission with closer gear ratios and a shifter with a shorter throw than before. This is also the first generation of Viper with stability control. The Viper has always been a car with a lot of raw power and was know to be unruly in terms of handling, even for track tested drivers. Even without the stability control, the considerable improvements and modifications in handling and aerodynamics make for a Viper that is highly responsive, has tremendous acceleration, and is more balanced than in the past. If FCA is doing to the the Viper’s quarter century run then they’ve engineered a vehicle that is worthy of a fond and memorable farewell.


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