2010 marks the end of an era. The current generation of the Dodge Viper is set to be retired, and it’s going out with a bang. In order to maintain interest in the model as it is readied for retirement, Dodge has unleashed detail on two special, and exclusive, limited models of the car that feature some welcome mechanical upgrades, as well as plenty of flash. And of course, the 8.4-liter V10 engine that has made the Viper so iconic.
The full production run of 2010 Viper SRT10 models will only consist of 500 vehicles, but those 500 have the potential to be wildly different from one another. In fact, with all the cosmetic options (paint, interior trim, etc.), there are over 7,600 different variations of the 2010 Viper. One of those paint options is exclusive to the ACR (American Club Racer) model, which is a tribute to the model’s record-setting lap time at Laguna Seca and is decked out in a Black Clear Coat/Red Clear Coat design, which is the opposite of the original Viper ACR from years back. There’s also a Voodoo edition of this model that has the Black Clear Coat that is highlighted by a silver graphite strip that is edged in red. There will only be 10 models produced with this particular color scheme, and they’re sure to be sought after because the combination is pretty striking.
But while these cosmetic updates are great eye candy, the most exciting change is in the transmission. The gear ratios on the lower end have always been set up for acceleration on the Viper, helping it blast from 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds. However, on fifth gear, the ratio was more set up for highway efficiency rather than acceleration. But let’s be honest, if you’re going to buy a Viper, then highway fuel economy isn’t exactly your number one priority. That’s why Dodge has changed the gear of fifth from a 0.74 ration to a 0.80 ratio. Don’t worry about the technical bits, just remember this one fact: that slight change in ratios allows the Viper to go from 0-to-200 mph 14 seconds faster than it could before. The inspiration for this change came after Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology team spent a bit of time in Germany at the Nurburgring. The Viper set a lap record at the time, but after a bit of number crunching the team determined that altering the gear ratio would have resulted in an even quicker time.
As mentioned above, that transmission is channeling the power of an 8.4-liter V10 that outputs 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. That engine allows the Viper to run a standing quarter mile in the mid-11 second range, and can do a 0-to-100-to-0 mph run in 11 seconds flat. Top speed is marked at 202 mph. The ACR model has a top speed of 184 mph. The lower top speed than the street model is a result of mechanical restrictions placed on the engine in order to qualify for certain racing standards. To make up for that slight reduction in speed, the ACR gets a much more advanced suspension system that allows it to cut through corners. And, in order to make sure that the car actually stays on the ground when taking corners at such extreme speeds, the ACR features a “fanged” splitter in the front and a carbon fiber wing in the rear that has a seven-position stanchion. This all adds up to 1,000 pounds of downforce generated at 150 mph.
Considering the ill fortunes of Chrysler in recent months, the unveiling of the latest Viper represents a rare bright point to stir excitement among auto fans. We’ll have to wait a while to see exactly how Dodge’s performance future will pan out, and whether that future will be fiscally viable, but in the mean time, the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 should tide us over nicely.