The 1992 Dodge Viper you’re seeing here is not only an iconic sports car. In fact, it was owned by Lee Iacocca, a man who is best known for three things: Being the father of the Mustang (and serving as president of the Ford Motor Company from 1970 to 1978); for saving Chrysler in the 1980s; and for fathering the Dodge Viper – a relatively powerful sports car with a gargantuan 8.0-liter V10 engine.
And since it’s a special Viper, it sold at auction for $285,000
Lee Iacocca’s 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 is the essence of a pure American sports car. It’s essentially a cabin with a long hood and two rear seats along with a monstrous engine in the front. The vehicle has none of the most basic cabin necessities you find in a modern car, and this includes not having door handles and door locks.
But you have to understand the Viper is not about comfort or amenities. It’s all about the motor. Yes, the Dodge Viper RT/10 is a seriously quick car. It has an 8.3-liter overhead valve V10 producing 400-horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque – numbers that were deemed ludicrous back then.
And without a traction control safety net and airbags, the Dodge Viper demands more than just audacity to tame around a racetrack.
Bonham’s initial estimate for Lee Iacocca’s Dodge Viper was between $100,000 and $125,000, which is still a lot of money for a 1992 Viper RT/10. But since it’s the first Viper to roll out the New Mack Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan (with VIN# 00001) owned no less by Lee Iaccoca himself, it sold for a mind-blowing $285,000.
It’s as pristine as the day it was made
In our opinion, paying $285,000 for the very first Dodge Viper is worth every penny, considering the vehicle remained in Iacocca’s possession until his death in 2019. The odometer reads just 6,220 original miles while the seats have little to no indication of wear.
We imagine this car is the type that was pampered and kept in storage for most of its life, not to forget it’s the very first Dodge Viper R/T that Lee Iacocca commissioned himself. And with that, we reckon this car is worth every penny.
But it’s not the most expensive Viper ever sold
If you think $285k is huge money for a 28-year old sports car, think again. Although it barely eclipsed the $300,000 mark for the first production 2013 Viper (sold at auction with proceeds going to charity), the most expensive Viper sold was in 2018 for $1 million.
However, instead of being the first, it was the very last Viper in the production run, which makes it essentially a unicorn in Viper folklore. The lucky buyer not only got one, but two cars; the very last Viper came with the very last Dodge Demon ever built.
The Dodge Viper marks the beginning (and the end) of analog sports cars
This 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 is as good and flavorful as a cup of genuinely brewed coffee. Besides having the immense shove of a powerful V10 motor, the Viper has a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. And with no traction control to remind you if you’re going too hard, the Dodge Viper is like a wild and hungry animal that’s coaxing you to make the slightest mistake.
Lee Iacocca succumbed to complications of Parkinson’s disease on July 2, 2019. He died at his home in Bel Air, California where his Dodge Viper was lovingly nurtured all these years. The man may be gone, but his name is forever etched in the hearts and minds of sports car aficionados worldwide.