The Dodge Viper is undoubtedly one of the crowning achievements when it comes to speed machines. It is the first modern US supercar, and its colossal 8.4-liter V10 was the biggest engine available on a production car for some time. Ever since its debut in 1991, the Viper has been one of the most uncompromising and hardcore choices of supercars.
That’s why the community of gearheads was greatly saddened when Dodge announced in 2015 that the Viper would be discontinued in 2017. But the roaring fierce reptile didn’t die quietly. With the ACR special edition launched in 2016, the Viper was remembered not only as a monster with brute force but an extremely capable track killer that would be admired forever.
First, let’s take a closer look at the ACR.
What’s A Dodge Viper ACR?
You can’t name a special-edition supercar without a cool acronym. For this race-bred Viper, it was named ‘ACR,’ for American Club Racer. The ACR name first appeared in 1999 as an additional package on the 2nd-gen, Phase SR II Viper GTS. It came back in the 2008 4th-gen Phase ZB II model as an ultra-hardcore variant. And for the final act, the 2016 revival with the 5th and last generation Phrase VX I Viper.
The ACR has been the most extreme Viper, which at the first place is already a brutally ferocious car even in ‘standard’ spec. With the phrase VX I Viper’s frequent appearance in sports car racing, the ACR did possess that motorsport physique. Mind you, unlike many special supercar variants, the ACR was not a road car with track-focused mods. On the contrary, it was a racer with number plates and indicators. That’s how extreme it was.
What’s Different In The Dodge Viper ACR?
Even untrained eyes can easily spot the crazy aerodynamic parts all over the Viper ACR. The ‘Extreme Aero Package’ option was the hero item for bringing out the most extreme performance from this most extreme variant of an already extreme supercar.
The list of all-carbon motorsport-grade parts included a huge detachable front splitter extension, an adjustable dual-element rear spoiler, two dive planes at each front corner, six removable diffuser strakes, removable brake ducts, and removable hood louvers.
All these wings and vents and strakes together generated 2,000 lb (907 kg) of downforce at corners, which was 500 lb (227 kg) more than that of a standard Viper. Such immense downforce also brought massive drag, in a way that the top speed of the Viper ACR was reduced at 177 mph (285 km/h) instead of 191 mph (307 km/h).
This meant the ACR would be slower than a standard Viper at the end of a drag strip, but the Viper ACR was never built to be taken to any of those. The insane aero bits were added to attack corners. With the tremendous downforce pressing the car towards the ground, the tailor-made Kumho Ecsta V720 tires could tightly grip the track surface like a frightened toddler grabbing its mother’s hands. Thurs, improving cornering speed and handling.
So top speed was not a priority, as the extreme aero would help the Dodge Viper ACR make that up in a track with turns. How about a track with 160 turns? The Dodge Viper ACR did make a few attempts to set a lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The result was 7:01.3, which brought the ACR 5th position for street-legal cars when such lap time was achieved in 2017.
What’s Powering The Dodge Viper ACR?
The drivetrain remained unchanged in the Dodge Viper ACR. So like the standard Viper, you would spot an 8.4-liter V10 engine with 645 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.
There were, however, other ACR-specific parts besides the aero package. The Brembo brakes, for example, were custom-built with carbon-ceramic. The braking system was composed of 15-inch discs with 6-piston calipers for the front wheels and 14-inch discs with 4-piston calipers for the rear.
As mentioned before, the Kumho tires were also tailor-made. The ACR also packed Bilstein suspensions with manually adjustable height and damping, which were both lighter and stiffer than those you would find in a standard Viper.
Should I Buy A Dodge Viper ACR?
Back in 2017, Dodge would sell you a Viper ACR for $121,990. This made it a ‘budget’ alternative for some other extreme, hardcore supercars like a $187,500 Porsche 911 GT3 RS or a $274,390 Lamborghini Huracán Performanté.
The extremeness of the ACR, however, is also reflected by its market value over the years. Being a now-extinct American hero, the prices of Vipers are destined to go all the way up. This 2017 Viper ACR example from Chicago Motor Cars has a price tag of $209,800. With that, you’ll get the Extreme Aero Package and a chassis with the number #00001. There are also some cheaper options, such as This $189,000 2016 Viper ACRbut it isn’t equipped with the signature aero bits.
Do keep in mind that the Viper ACR is a race car made road legal. Although it’s still equipped with some amenities like air-con or carpeting, it’s still a hard-to-tame beast, far from anything suitable for daily shopping or highway cruising. But that’s the trade-off of owning such a special, track-focused supercar. Plus, if you can afford one, you’d probably already have many other vehicles to commute in.
In a world of electrification, any revival of the Viper’s gigantic engine seems impossible. With Fiat Chrysler’s merger with PSA, let’s hope the Viper will get a chance of reborn, with it a Tesla Roadster-rival electric missile or a 918-style hybrid monster.
NEXT: Here’s What Everyone Forgot About The Dodge Viper