Some thought this day would never come. After Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy, it idled production of it’s halo super car, the Viper, back in July of 2010. Now, almost three years later, Viper production has reconvened flying under Chrysler’s Street Racing and Technology division. The very first production 2013 SRT Viper rolled off its Conner Avenue assembly facility production line with an owner already lined up. Scott Thomas, 40, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, purchased Viper No. 001 after placing the winning bid of $300,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Orange County (California) Auction back in June of last year. Both Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and SRT President and CEO Ralph Gilles were in attendance to see the first Viper off.
While Marchionne was there to see Thomas and his family receive the very first Viper, he also stood with the Viper team to dedicate the final assembly line to former Chrysler Group Senior Vice President Dan Knott. Knott passed away last year and to honor his life, a plaque was unveiled with a quote reading “Today, we are a real car company again.” Knott guided Chrysler’s performance arm as vice president of the SRT Product Team and is credited with being one of the chief motivators behind the previous generation Viper. Knott’s quote, as it reads on his plaque, was made on August 22, 2010—the day the current-generation Viper program was approved by Chrysler brass.
Chrysler Group executives have since given the green light for Viper production to resume. The “Snake Pit,” as it’s affectionately known, has spent the past year getting ready to once again assemble the Viper. Conner Avenue was retooled with the latest and greatest assembly machines, but Chrysler still insists the Viper’s handcrafted process remains. In fact, to make sure Viper production still had a sense of craftsmanship, Chrysler hand-picked almost 150 employees to assemble Viper components. This specially selected team builds 12 Vipers a day.
The 2013 SRT Viper returns with more power squeezing out 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque from an 8.4-liter V-10 engine. To get one though, it’ll cost you a cool $99,390 including a $1,995 destination fee. Production of the fifth-generation Viper began back on December 5 of last year with shipments scheduled to begin next month.