Goodbye, Dodge Viper.

I know it has been a while.. Well that is an understatement, it’s been over 2 months or so, but I have tried to contain my feelings and gather my thoughts on what has been swirling around on all the Automotive Magazine and general Enthusiast pages on social media for a little over a week now. I have thought about it, slept on it for a few days, looked at the current as well as upcoming products within our beloved Chrysler. I just can’t seem to shake that heart sick feeling. With life, college, football, car parts, it has kept me somewhat distracted.  But none the less, it’s like those girly Facebook posts you see about what you think about before bed is where your heart is at….. Well it appears mine is in Detroit at the Conner Assembly Plant. Which doesn’t shock anyone. It appears we are set to lose our Venomous Supercar after the 2017 model year. Soul shattering, I know.

                Walking around bragging about the Hellcat, and RAM trucks being able to pull nearly 30,000 pounds is the good things about bleeding Mopar blue. I’ll be the first to admit, it’s not always easy to be a true passionate of the Maverick Auto group Chrysler is. It’s been a long time coming to be back at the top. We survived the Dreaded Daimler days, been through a bankruptcy, but alas, here we are. Most powerful Muscle Car ever produced, best in class towing for RAM heavy Duty, Most Award SUV line up ever, etc. All this is well and great, but the one piece of machinery that really sets FCA apart we are losing. Sure we have Alpha and Maserati, and currently even own Ferrari, but something Dodge 110%. Straight through and through MOPAR. A car, hand-made, hand-painted by hard working Americans, built in the Motor City, powered buy a big cubic-inch, naturally aspirated, V10. A no-frills, thinly veiled Race Car with 3 pedals on the floor and a shifter that goes straight down to a 6-speed Tremec transmission, no stupid transaxle like others (Vette). A car that sells on sex appeal and the principle of having the skill and patients to tame the creature. Miss treat it, and you’ll find yourself spun, or in the wall. It’s not something for the yuppies that want to bang around the city showing off, it’s a 100% bread Racing Car with UNMISTAKEABLE Motorsport DNA. One must be a true Enthusiast, a true lover of the Automobile art, someone that loves seeing man and Machine preform poetry, slinging the car into curves, grabbing gears, hitting those apexes perfectly, and braking late into the brake zones. It’s a person, gentlemen or lady that really appreciates the vison people like Ralph Gilles, Enzo Ferrari, Yutaka Katayama, Carroll Shelby, Alfieri Maserati, and countless other live and breathe. It’s a beautiful thing with a big engine, manual gearbox, rear drive, and a 2 door coupe, WITH MINIMAL to no computer aid. A person like myself should NOT be able to hop in modern super cars like Porsches, McLarens, Ferraris, etc. and be able to cut competitive laps. The Race Track is supposed to be a place where Xbox Forza pros like me, can’t begin to think of the intricacies that go behind racing one of the Automobiles like we seeing racing today. The Viper, hate it, or love it, is the last of a dying breed. A car that requires a learning curve, and a mutual respect.  The last of the true driver’s cars.

      

Now I have scratched the surface of what it will be like to lose the car and a general automotive enthusiast, now my feelings are a Mopar Fanatic. It is nothing short of a damn pitiful shame. This was the car that made us relevant at Supercar corals, and track side chit-chat at Le Mans or Sebring. It’s the car that put a middle finger in the air to the cars that cost triple as much and could drive around them on any racing circuit any day. There are countless videos on YouTube that show a mighty ACR Viper overtaking Stradale Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even those big-winged GT3-RS 911s. It is a very emotional thing seeing a Mopar shirt among the wealthy sports car crowds raising hell as the Vipers wipe the floor with the overrated Competition. Honestly, it’s what I live for, and soon to be, what I used to live for.

 Sergio wants Dodge as a true niche, performance car brand. That’s great, I want the same. Dodge is a badass brand that invokes passion and excitement for mashing the go-fast pedal and hitting shift points. With no fast Dart on the horizon, Jeep retaining the SRT GC and it will be getting Hellcat’ed soon, Viper leaving; what does that leave Dodge? 2 engines and 2 cars? Hell, they are even talking of killing off the V8 close to 2017 too. Then were is Dodge? You know where………. The same place our beloved SRT is. The history books.

It may sound like I’m turning on my brand, or bashing FCA, but understand the words of a grieving ride-or-die fan, not some fanboy. I love Chrysler. Ill support FCA if all they make is tiny little crossovers and economy cars. I’ll make the best of it, and be a beacon of reminiscence to the good days of the V8s and V10s. But please understand my heart break, and the loss of a legend, happening right before our very eyes.

  

I have a good friend, Mr. Sage, as passionate a fan of Mopar as I, and any for that matter. His dream is to be able to factory order a Hellcat, just the way he wants, with his name on the window sticker, to put up and keep forever, receiving better treatment than his kids most likely. I have the same dream, but mine is to order a Viper tailor made for a middle class, dreamer at heart, kid from deep in the coal country. The problem is we are 21. Struggling college kids, a fair amount of time away from that kind of Financial Freedom. It seems like the expiration date will beat us by many years.

Other than Viper, there are practically no cars a man can work his whole life, save up enough money to buy, new, a true super car that can steal looks from any car made and make a glistening Ferrari or Lamborghini 2nd in attention and photographs. I have seen this first hand as a 430 Ferrari and Stryker Orange T/A Viper sit side by side in Gatlinburg Tennessee. People couldn’t break their attention from the Orange Serpent.  Gents, isn’t that the true American Dream? Slaving by the sweat of your brow to save up and really cash in on that true dream? Who says the dreams has to be a house or retirement? For us it’s cars.


When Viper rides off in the sunset it will be a loss for Chrysler, America, true motorsport Enthusiast, and the average-Joes all around the world. But what will kill this icon I hear you dying to know? A Union of Auto Workers contract that leaves out the Conner Assembly plant. So pitiful and unfulfilling for a death of a legend it doesn’t deserve to be talked about.


Let me be the first to say, we lost SRT so we should have saw this coming. The brand, being basically formed around the launch in 2013 of the Viper, was a sure sign of what’s to become of America’s true Super Car. Now we can only speculate what will happen to Dodge and the V8s when Viper leaves. And to all you aficionados that thrive at the altar of the V8, beware… Just like a river that starts to see its monster trophy fish disappear; the automotive world isn’t any different. We are seeing the V12s and V10s vanish, the V8s will follow… and for what you ask? Well.. the thing most of you praise. The turbo.

Long live the days of no computer input, turbos, and emission laws… One doesn’t know what they have until it is lost.

It really seems like Dodge is the only brand in the word that hates it only real Halo car. Any time things get dashy, first thing to receive or be threatened the hammer.. Viper. I honestly don’t believe the car can cheat death twice. I remember crying in Food city at big stone reading Car and Driver back in 2009 claiming the Viper was to be discontinued. Too soon for those feelings to be coming back….

 

Again sorry for the hiatus in blogging. Life has its ways of taking all the time. Come see me in the Service Department, as I am currently writing Service for my Dealership learning the trade “across the street” as we call it. Have any comments or want to discuss it further, or in the words of my fames General Manager “how did I arrive at that” questions? You know where to find me.

-@AstidySRT

 

P.S. I capitalize for dramatic affect and to add emphasis. I abide by the lean laws of poetry, which is very few rules. In no way do I call myself and artist like true poets, I just like my own style. So my unsincerest apologies grammar police…. But to all my English Teacher and Professors, I am quite sorry for the letdown.

; ;