Back in late 2015, rumors began to swirling that said the Viper was about to be killed off after 2017, and sure enough, a few months later those rumors became fact. Originally thought to be canceled because of poor sales and profitability, an insider eventually told that the Viper was being killed off because Dodge was unable to fit it with side curtain airbags. Unwilling to change its design, the Viper could no longer meet safety standards and its death warrant was signed. More recently, a dealer out of NC placed an order for 135 examples of the Viper (included several custom models) which was allegedly most of the remaining models. Now just a week has gone by, and Dodge has put a stop on Viper orders as it tries to regroup and determine just how many it can build before production officially comes to a halt.
For a dead car rolling, the Viper has soldiered on pretty well, with numerous special-edition models, and all of those 25th Anniversary models. And, while this most recent news sounds like the next step in the proverbial execution of an amazing machine, an e-mail sent from a Dodge spokeswoman to could indicate otherwise. Apparently, the order books will be reopened once Dodge can put down an official figure of how many it can really build.
And, for the record, that dealer out of NC wasn’t lying – it really did order 135 examples, according to Fiat Chrysler. However, whether or not that order really did account for most of the remaining cars has yet to be seen. Given Dodge’s sudden move to temporarily close the order books, it could be possible, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Not Going Down Without a Fight
Dodge Viper SRT
Despite its execution hanging over its head, the Viper continues to draw interest from enthusiasts all around the United States
At the end of the day, I highly doubt that Dodge expected to receive so many orders for the Viper so quickly. Sales really weren’t the best, and a model like the Viper in a highly competitive market doesn’t generally turn too great of a profit anyway. But, when Dodge decided the Viper wasn’t worth redesigning to accommodate side curtain airbags, it also decided to kill off an American Icon that, despite poor sales, is lusted for by many. I have a feeling that once word got out that one dealer had placed such a large order, other dealers and enthusiasts attempted to do the same and Dodge is suddenly overwhelmed with interest.
Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late to give the Viper a stay of execution, but hopefully, Dodge will increase production to at least meet final demand for one of the greatest American cars ever built. We still hold out some hope for the Viper anyway, as back in January, CEO of FCA – Sergio Marchionne – hinted that there is a “possibility” that the Viper could make another comeback. That’s far from a confirmation that we’ll see a successor in the future, but this recent influx in interest could ultimately lead to the Vipers Resurrection in the coming years. We certainly hope so, anyway. What do you thing about all of this? Is it a mistake for Dodge to drop the Viper? Should one dealer be able to take on a large majority of the remaining models to be built? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.
Gallery Dodge Viper SRT