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by Tim Beissmann

The end of an automotive era was reached on Thursday by Chrysler Group in the US with the final Dodge Viper rolling off the Detroit production line.

Employees at the Conner Avenue assembly plant, known as the Snake Pit, gathered at the end of the line as the vehicle was collected by its owners – Viper enthusiasts D’Ann Rauh and her husband, Wayne, from Texas.

Between them they own more than 40 Vipers – which is more than anyone else in the world – but not one of them is like the latest addition to the collection.

The final Viper was personalised for the couple with a gold exterior and twin copper stripes. Airbrushed into the stripes are the layouts of race tracks that have been significant to the Viper over its 19 year history.

Five-spoke black graphite aluminium wheels complete the unique exterior while the interior also features a one-off leather trim.

The Viper was initially built at New Mack Assembly in 1992 before relocating to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Production of the Viper’s V10 engine also moved to the Snake Pit in May 2001.

The first generation Viper RT/10 produced 298kW and 630Nm of torque. It sprinted from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, covered the quarter mile in 13.1secs and had a top speed of 264km/h.

By the fourth- and final-generation, the Phase II Viper SRT-10, power was up to 450kW and torque to 760Nm. Zero-100km/h could be achieved in 3.5 seconds, the quarter mile was over in 10.92secs and the top speed had blown out to 325km/h.

Dodge is yet to confirm whether it plans produce an all-new version of the Viper. If it does decide to bring back the Viper or invent an all-new supercar, a replacement is unlikely to appear before 2012.




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