POSTED: Friday, July 9, 2010 - 8:43pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 9, 2010 - 9:27pm
The auto industry is going through a lot of changes, and some favorite models are disappearing.
But a local woman snagged the last example of an iconic sports car.
When you want something like the last Dodge Viper to roll off the line, it helps if you and your husband have the largest Viper collection on the planet.
And it helps if you’re invited to the company president’s birthday.
And that’s where it happened for one of our neighbors in Arp.
Wayne and D’ann Rauh have a very nice home in the country outside of Arp. But it’s what’s behind the house that isn’t immediately apparent. It’s the largest collection of Dodge Vipers anywhere…50 in all.
The Rauh’s, who are retired from the oil business love the car…I mean really love it.
Introduced in 1992 with equipment from the Chrysler parts bin, and an engine that started life powering pickup trucks all wrapped in a body that’s curvier than Pamela Anderson, it was an instant hit.
And the Rauh’s can’t get enough of them.
“I know they look alike to most people,” D’ann observed, “but there are different details, colors, equipment…they really are all different.”
So when they were invited to Dodge President Ralph Gilles birthday in Detroit, D’ann just asked…could she buy the last Viper to roll off the line.
“So I just asked Ralph,” she told us, “Hey, can I have the last Viper? And he said…OK.”
And it was built to her personal specifications with unique paint and upholstery, and signed by everyone on the Viper team.
And if this is the end of the line for the Viper, it is a real capstone for their collection…a collection that didn’t start out as one…
‘It was never meant to be a collection,” D’ann says, “We would just find a new make or model or color and or just another one we like so…we’d just get us another one.”
No one knows if there will be a next generation Viper or not. The parent company fiat is keeping its options open.
But it’s safe to say, even if that’s the last, the Rauh’s have enough to keep them going for awhile.