Dodge resurrecting fastest street-legal Viper

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Dodge is resurrecting the Viper ACR, its "fastest street-legal Viper track car ever," for the 2016 model year.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles mainstream performance brand unveiled the supercar Friday at its Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit, where the car is built.

Dodge CEO and President Tim Kuniskis did not release exact performance specifications but said the car is taking everything Viper owners love "to the next level" — from all-new 19-inch tires specifically for the car to enhanced aerodynamics and suspension.

"We have to reinforce this truly is a halo," Kuniskis said following comments about the brand's 707-horsepower Hellcat Challenger and Charger models taking attention away from the Viper supercar. "You're buying a legend."

The car will be available in the third quarter of this year. Officials did not announce pricing for the ACR. Current Vipers start at about $85,000.

For the new Viper ACR, officials said the development team focused its efforts on three areas: aerodynamics; chassis and tires to maximize grip and handling; and lap times.

No changes were made to the Viper's hand-built 8.4-liter V-10 engine rated at 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque — the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.

Dodge first introduced the ACR for the 1999 model year. It was last produced for the 2010 model year. The company also produced non-street legal versions specifically for racing called the ACR-X.

Kuniskis said the brand will not make a non-street legal version because it already offers the Viper GTS-R race car.

The resurrection of the ACR comes at a pivotal time for Viper, which the company has been evolving after lower than expected sales in recent years.

The company first repositioned the Viper by knocking about $15,000 from its starting price of $100,000. Then, in January, the company also announced an overhaul of the Viper ordering process, with an all-new "1 of 1" customization program in which customers have the option to customize their car to their liking.

With 8,000 exterior color options, 24,000 custom stripes, 10 wheel options, 16 interior trims and six aerodynamic packages, there are more than 25 million build combinations. Dodge will not allow any two cars to be built the same under the new program.

The ACR also will be part of the customization program, which currently starts at about $95,000 for the GT model.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504