Viper assembly plant to become museum

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 22, 2018

With Dodge Viper production no longer taking place at the car's Conner Avenue Assembly home, Dodge parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has chose to transform the Detroit, Michigan plant into a heritage center.

Around 77,000 of the building's 400,000 square-feet of floor space will be used to display vehicles such as the 1902 Rambler, the oldest in the FCA collection, and the 1924 Chrysler Touring, which the company considered to be among the most significant in his history.

The former production site of the Dodge Viper sportscar, which was officially discontinued past year, will begin housing heritage Chrysler Corporation vehicles in the future, according to the Detroit Free Press. "This move will allow us to house all of our collection under one roof and have the space to share that history with our employees".

Rather than risk the items disappearing into storage, or possibly the garbage dump, FCA has chose to auction them off to help raise funds for charity, in this case United Way of Southeastern Michigan. It is to open for internal use in the second quarter. "We are proud of our history and have been working diligently in the daily care and restoration of these important vehicles". There are also a few items relating to the Plymouth Prowler (later Chrysler Prowler) that was also briefly made at the plant. Proceeds will go to the Southeastern United Way of MI.

Regarding the Viper memorabilia auction, former plant manager Mike Tonietto noted that after production ended, "We found things like signed sketches, photos and posters, not to mention all of the items that were part of the operations of the plant". Rather than store them somewhere where they would never be seen or, worse yet, disposed of, we chose to auction them off.

"We know there are lots of Viper - and a few Prowler - owners, fans and even employees around the world who will want to own a piece of automotive history", said Tonietto. "This is a great way to share some one-of-a-kind pieces involving these iconic vehicles while at the same time supporting an organization that does so much good in the community". There are 1,800 items in all. One of the items is a limited edition print of a sketch of the Viper GTS bearing the signatures and photos of the three former Chrysler executives responsible for its development: former President Bob Lutz, former head of design Tom Gale and former head of vehicle engineering Francois Castaing. The online auction opens March 21 and runs through April 13.

All items are being auctioned in "as is" condition.

All of the items are being sold "as is", and larger items will have to be picked up in person by the auction victor, FCA US said. The auction is open to qualified bidders outside of the US, but winning non-U.S. bidders will be responsible for shipping as well as customs taxes and duty on any purchases.

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