The First-Ever Dodge Viper Was Auctioned off for Triple Its Orignal Value

Lee Iacocca was undoubtedly one of the biggest icons of the automotive industry. He is credited with bringing the Ford Mustang to market in the ’60s and saving the Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy in the ’80s. A legend of his era, he has pick of any vehicle. He chose to take ownership of the first-ever 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 with the VIN of 001. This classic automobile recently went up for auction, receiving triple its original value.

Iacocca introduces the first 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10

Automotive designer Carroll Shelby drove a pre-production Dodge Viper as the pace car in the 75th Indianapolis 500. Excitement spread throughout the industry at the new design concept and powerful V10 engine created by Lamborghini.

At the 1990 Detroit Auto Show, Iacocca, with Shelby by his side, introduced the 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 to the public saying, “It was one of the first V10 powered cars and the historical take on the classic American sports car.”

He joked with Shelby that he was not going to make the mistake of missing out on the first car off the production line again. In 1960, Shelby took ownership of the first Cobra ever built, and Iacocca vowed never to let that happen again. He pointed to the Viper stating, “This one right here is mine!” 

The first Dodge Viper got a hefty price at auction

Only 285 Dodge Viper RT/10 automobiles came off the production line in 1992. Iacocca’s Dodge Viper, number 001, was expected to get about $100,000 at a recent auction held by Bonhams Auction House in Arizona. With less than 6,500 original miles, the first Dodge Viper ever produced was offered without reserve.

The automobile, in pristine condition, is a beast of a car with a 400-hp 8.0-liter V10 engine. Bonhams referred to the vehicle as “The world’s most desirable Dodge Viper.” The shiny red automobile was part of Iacocca’s personal collection. He was reported to be the only owner until the time of his death in 2019.

The automobile looks the same as it did so many years ago on the stage of the Detroit Auto Show. It was maintained meticulously by the Crystal Chrysler dealership in California. Iacocca’s museum-quality Dodge Viper RT/10 brought an astonishing final price of $285,500 at auction. This was almost triple what was expected, but an experienced car collector obviously wanted to own a piece of automotive history.

Car experts undervalued the Dodge Viper

Hagerty, a classic car expert, estimated a Viper in No. 1 Concours condition from that same year to be valued at $88,800. At a Texas dealer, the same year Dodge Viper RT/10 was recently listed for $40,000. The 28-year-old vehicle would be worth $95,000 today if adjusted for inflation. So, the hefty price it received at auction was clearly a result of where the car came from and the incredible story behind it. Hagerty claims “The Dodge Viper is a car that will undoubtedly go down in history as one of Dodge’s greatest creations.”

Other vehicles comparable in price

There is no doubt that $285,500 buys a lot of vehicle. A 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo has an MSRP of $276,550, and a 2020 McLaren 720S goes for a mere $299,000. Interestingly, the high price obtained for the Dodge Viper is not the most expensive Viper to be auctioned off.

The first-ever 2013 Viper got $300,000, which was donated to charity. The last Viper ever produced in 2017 was paired with the last Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Together the duo received a whopping $1 million at auction, with proceeds going to charity.