Market Snapshot

Performance Still King as New Viper, Saleen Mustangs, Debut

  Hennessey Performance made simple modifications to the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X, including headers, exhaust and air intake combined with Michelin PS2 street tires.

Super-tuned versions of popular enthusiast cars, including the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X and the new SMS460 and SMS460X Ford Saleen Mustangs, are still potentially strong sellers despite the current economic state.

The first 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X rolled off the assembly line at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit March 29, 2010. Built for road racing enthusiasts, the Dodge Viper ACR-X combines the best performance attributes of the record-setting, street-legal Dodge Viper ACR (American Club Racer) and the safety equipment of championship-winning Viper Competition Coupe, according to Dodge.

The 2010 Viper SRT10 ACR-X offers Viper enthusiasts a proven, dedicated track car that can still be driven on the street, according to John Hennessey of Hennessey Performance. “Dodge has taken technology from the Viper Competition Coupe and the Viper ACR street car and applied it to what may prove to be the best-performing factory Viper ever built. All performance enthusiasts benefit when manufacturers raise the bar as Ralph Gillies and the SRT team have just done with the ACR-X,” he says.

The SMS 460 Mustang offers a 4.6-liter V8 engine putting out 470 horsepower and 427 ft-lb of torque, while the more powerful SMS 460X Mustang exerts 655 horsepower and 600 ft-lb from the enlarged 5.0-liter V8. Both use the new SMS 296 Supercharger for horsepower and torque gains. Transmission options are a 5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual on the 460 or a 6-speed SMST manual on the 460X. The SMS 460 Mustang accelerates from 0 to 60 in under 4.5 seconds, while the 460X manages the same in just four seconds.

The SRT-developed 8.4-liter V-10 engine that powers the Viper ACR-X is equipped with factory headers and a low-restriction exhaust system that produces 640 horsepower (40 more than production model) and 605 lb.-ft. of torque (45 more than production model). Following the initial build at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, each engine is shipped to a dynamometer lab where it is verified for proper outputs and electronically sealed before being sent back to the plant for final installation.

The suspension on the Viper ACR-X also is tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track usage, while the overall vehicle weight is lightened by a full 160 pounds (versus the standard production Viper) to take on even the most challenging road course. Additional aerodynamic upgrades improve downforce, while enhancing stability and significantly improving grip in high-speed cornering.

Hennessey's Venom 1000 Twin Turbo upgrade produces 1,038 rear-wheel horsepower on 93-octane fuel on just 12 psi of boost.  

Hennessey Performance had the opportunity to test one of the first production Viper ACRs a few years ago in the One Lap of America race where they made simple modifications including headers, exhaust and air intake combined with Michelin PS2 street tires. SRT development engineer, Chris Winkler, drove Hennessey’s mildly tuned ACR to win 12 out of 14 road course events. Hennessey believes the Viper ACR-X has much in common with his One Lap ACR from 2008.

Hennessey Performance plans to offer its Venom 1000 Twin Turbo upgrade, which produces 1,038 rear-wheel horsepower on 93-octane fuel on just 12 psi of boost. The company also will offer owners upgraded suspension systems, different wheels, racing items such as a diff cooler, transmission cooler, cylinder head upgrades and stroker motors.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X is $110,000.