After 25 on-and-off years of being America’s last true sports car, the Viper will be retired on August 31, 2017

And so it is, the end of the Dodge Viper now has an official date. For years, rumors and speculation surrounding the Viper’s fate has been one of the most talked-about items in the auto industry and while we’ve known for quite a while now that Dodge was in fact sending the Viper to retirement, we didn’t receive an official date until Fiat Chrysler Automobiles design chief and former SRT CEO Ralph Gilles finally made the announcement at the Chicago Auto Show. The Dodge Viper, after a polarizing run in the industry spanning 25 years, will no longer be built on August 31, 2017.

Check your calendars, ladies and gentlemen. That’s a little over six months away until we officially say goodbye to the iconic sports car. For those who need a refresher, the Viper burst into American automotive consciousness in 1992 before becoming an unwitting victim of Chrysler’s bankruptcy that led to the car taking a temporary hiatus. It came back in 2013, but it was never the same as slow sales and evolving consumer preferences turned the Viper into an expendable model.

FCA ultimately decided in 2015 to retire the Viper this year and with Gilles’ comments in Chicago, the cast for the brash and brutish sports car’s tombstone is now being created.

It’s a sad end for the model many believed to be America’s last true sports car. For a time, the Viper was a force of sports car personality that epitomized the rawness and unbridled thrill of sports car driving. It was never the best-looking sports car, nor was it the fastest and most powerful. But it did have all three qualities in spades and unlike most of today’s refined and tech-driven performance car’s the Viper’s reputation for being difficult to tame spoke to the thrill of actually being able to drive the sports car up to its full potential.

It’s been a great run for the Dodge Viper and the car will undoubtedly be missed by the industry. But like everything else, every story has an opening and closing chapter, and the Viper’s closing chapter will come to a conclusion on August 31.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Sad to see you go, old friend

To be fair, I understand why FCA is retiring the Dodge Viper, difficult as it is to see. The auto industry, above all else, is still a money-making business and if there’s a model that’s not making the company any money and costs a lot of time and money to build, it doesn’t make sense to keep on keepin’ on with it. A lot of models have suffered through the same fate and even some actual automakers. When the money isn’t there anymore, it becomes expendable.

That said, I’m still bummed to see the Viper go, even though it’s largely for sentimental reasons. Say what you will about all of its faults, and it had a lot, but the Viper still represented something about America that only one other car – the Chevrolet Corvette – has. It was a pure sports car in every sense of the word. From the way it looked to the naturally aspirated V-10s it used, all the way to how challenging it was to drive, the Viper lived up to its name and reputation. Still, it all goes back to the first paragraph. The Viper, despite its status, never became the moneymaker that FCA hoped it would be when it returned in 2013 after a three-year absence. That made it easier for FCA to cut its losses on the model and move on from it.

The Viper, despite its status, never became the moneymaker that FCA hoped it would be when it returned in 2013 after a three-year absence. That made it easier for FCA to cut its losses on the model and move on from it.

It is ironic though that when FCA announced its plan to end production of the Viper a few years ago, demand suddenly shot through the roof to the point that Dodge was forced to pause ordering for the 2017 model year Viper because people were fighting over what could end up being a collector’s car in the future. Heck, there was even one North California dealership who ordered 135 Viper models in an attempt to get its hands on as many of them as possible. That same dealership, Gerry Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Salisbury, California, even has plans to turn all 135 models into unique special editions to ensure that the Viper would “go out in style.”

That’s not even counting the limited edition models that Dodge made last year, of which four distinct versions were created. These include the 100-unit Dodge Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR, the 31-unit Viper VooDoo II Edition ACR, the 25-unit Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC, and the 33-unit Viper Dealer Edition ACR.

Just goes to show that even in the last stage of its life, the Viper still has a lot of bite left.

Read our full review on the Dodge Viper SRT here.

Read our full review on the Dodge Viper ACR here.

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