Viper’s Classic Real Blinkers

Lee Iaccoca Rejects Magazine’s Award; No Cupholders.

A transient clip from the YouTube account Four Eyes has unveiled a handful of not-so-obvious facts concerning the primary iteration of the Dodge Viper, such as the fact that the headlights on this iconic American supercar, which actually included turn signal liquid (not just a humorous Volkswagen item) were procured without cost to them following a lack of interest from BMW. This data was presented by Roy Sjoberg, who holds the honor of being the chief engineer for the initially released version of the Viper.

Sjoberg claims that General Electric had crafted headlights specifically for BMW’s Z1 model, but the German automaker decided upon a more angular version instead. Consequently, as GE had already developed the lights and its related tools, they needed to find an alternative customer. It appears that Chrysler became the beneficiary of these, ultimately paying only the price of the components.

The strange American V10 supercar that bit euro's finest

Sjoberg affirms that this maneuver was financially beneficial for the team at Viper. GE had highly invested and wanted to recoup a portion of their costs by offering the headlights to a vehicle manufacturer, thus providing Chrysler with a savings of three and a half million dollars in design and engineering costs. Assembling the bodywork around the headlights of the first and second generation challenger was necessary, but the finished product was quite attractive.

But what’s up with the literal blinker fluid? According to Sjoberg, this is actually a spirit level that was used in the assembly line to make sure the headlights were properly aligned. He asked for the bubble to be removed, but when he was informed that it would cost $1.50 per headlight, Sjoberg replied, “No way – leave the bubble on.”

When the Viper was released, fuel efficiency was heavily debated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Without BMW’s decision to omit the headlights, it is likely that the EPA would not have allowed the Viper to be manufactured, or that its price would have been substantially higher.

In the video, a remarkable fact is unveiled to us; the explanation of why the founding Viper version lacked a cup holder. It’s quite strange that Chrysler had formerly developed and utilized cupholders when they released the minivan in 1983, although this amenity was not included with the first Viper.

As Sjoberg recalls, Lee Iaccoca “hated Road & Track ’cause they were the ones that gave Chrysler the world-renowned cupholder award. Not for anything else. Not for engines, not for chassis, not for, y’know, styling… just for the cupholder.” This was the reason why the first Viper didn’t have a cupholder, as Iaccoca wanted more significant awards than just one for a good cupholder.

The Dodge Viper is an iconic car that will never be replicated, a huge loss for car enthusiasts. While the Mopar brand has released the powerful 1,025-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 as a special edition, we can’t help but wish one more Viper had been produced. Although it was unable to include side curtain airbags, which ultimately led to its demise, there is still hope that another Viper may be seen in the future. As Tim Kuniskis, current CEO of Dodge, stated in 2020, he cannot be sure if another Viper will be produced. However, Ralph Gilles, the design boss at Stellantis, expressed his desire to see the Viper return “in his lifetime”. Here’s hoping that this dream becomes a reality.

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