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Vipers are coming to the Bay Harbor Car and Boat Festival

Posted Feb, 2024.

We are thrilled to announce that the highly anticipated Bay Harbor Car & Boat Festival will feature an exclusive showcase of Dodge Vipers! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for car enthusiasts and fans of the iconic Viper to witness these amazing vehicles up close and personal.

History of the Dodge Viper 1992-2017

by Ken Nowak

With Cobra DNA donated by Carroll Shelby himself, the aluminum V-10 powered Dodge Viper is a raw, capable, brutally powerful, and 100% American sports car. Viper was envisioned not as a luxury GT or exotic marvel, but more as a Cobra for the ’90s.  No ABS or Traction Control.  No power seats.  RTM molded bodywork and a strictly business interior served only as a delivery system for the massive V-10 power.

Even a convertible top was an afterthought until the 2003 redesign. 

Five Generations of Viper were produced between 1992 and 2017 for a total of 31,948 units.  Every Viper is built with a 6-speed, double overdrive manual transmission. ABS and a few drivers assist features were added over the years, but true to its Cobra heritage, no automatic transmissions were ever produced.  Viper naturally aspirated horsepower ranges from 400 in 1992 to 650 for the 2016 model.  The car was never supercharged.  Viper will go from road course to drag strip, win an autocross, tour a twisty canyon road, and then spend a weekend in the Poconos without so much as changing the tire pressure. 

Moving Viper from concept show car to production sports car inside of a conservative and slow-moving corporation required a unique and talented group of people. "Team Viper" as they became known, was a gaggle of hotrodders, motorcyclists, Pro-Rallyists, SCCA racers, and NHRA drag racers.  They were building economy K-cars and Horizons by day, and building formidable racing cars by night.  Team Shelby was a noteworthy group of engineers, mechanics, and drivers who won back-to-back National Endurance Cup Championships in Dodge Shelby Chargers.

In 1989, most of Team Shelby found their way onto Team Viper.  Their experience winning 24 hr endurance road races paid dividends during Viper development when they put hand-built prototypes on the track for simulated endurance races.  Real race courses, real racing speeds with real pit stops and driver changes identified design issues and expedited changes within days instead of months.  Once a number of successful 24 hour races had been completed without failure, Team Viper would hand off to the Chrysler Proving Grounds for Certification.  This endurance racing approach to Viper development may have contributed to three class wins at the Le Mans 24 hours and an overall win at the Daytona Rolex 24. 

2024 marks the 35th Anniversary of Team Viper.  The man who built the Team and inspired these competitive and creative engineers to shake a fire breathing Viper out of a 4-cylinder K-Car company is Roy Sjoberg.  Roy and many of the original Team Viper engineers are looking forward to telling our stories and showing our Vipers to the Bay Harbor Car & Boat Festival.  

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