Zero-mile Viper V-10 needs new home

Bring a Trailer

You are looking at a unique opportunity: A zero-mile, first-gen Viper V-10 crate engine is up for sale. The engine, built as a factory replacement, was ordered by mistake in 1996. As the story goes, a dealership employee ordered a bottle of red touch-up paint but, as they transcribed the part number, miswrote a single digit. Instead of a bottle of paint, the dealer received a $10,000 Viper engine—and no Viper.

The dealership sold the engine to a customer, who had plans to swap the V-10 into a first-gen Dodge Dakota pickup. Once that plan fizzled, the powerplant made its way back to a dealership employee, who displayed it in their garage. The current owner, a long-time Viper fan, purchased the V-10 from that employee in 2021, with the idea of turning the engine into a coffee table or desk. Evidently, those plans were never realized.

Listed for sale on Bring a Trailer, the engine comes complete from the twin throttle bodies down to the oil pan with the factory accessory drive, which includes an alternator, A/C compressor, and power-steering pump. With its cast exhaust manifolds, starter, oil filter housing, clutch, and even engine mounts, the engine looks ready to drop into a first-gen Viper.

This 27-year-old engine is in a strange position—is it a collectible or a ready-to-use powerplant? The first-generation Viper V-10 was a game-changer. Dodge combined modern lightweight aluminum castings with a proven, simple pushrod design to create a hot-rodded small-block V-10 with 8.0 liters of displacement that could churn out 400 hp, an impressive output for the time. However, by 1996, when this engine was ordered, Dodge was already building a 450-hp version of the V-10, and bigger, more powerful iterations were in the pipeline. While it’s strange to say that a Viper V-10 was ever practical, the engine would have been a novel way to get a potent powerplant in a mid-’90s build. Today, however, 400-hp is a junkyard V-8 swap away: It’s tough to see this engine as a great swap candidate for most projects, because Viper V-10 parts are nowhere near as common as V-8 parts; Dodge didn’t make that many Vipers.

While 400 hp is not as impressive as it was when the Viper debuted in 1996, this engine wasn’t meant to be a coffee table or a desk. We’d love to see the V-10 bring life back to a first-gen Viper that’s been driven hard. Barring that—and perhaps because we’ve just seen Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny—the engine belongs in a museum where it can be put on display as a testament to Mopar’s ingenuity. We just hope the next owner won’t set their drink on it.




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    If one of your options is to give it to me, please get me dimensions quickly so I can alter the frame length and/or the firewall location on the Model A before the engine arrives. 😛

    Yeah I’m of a mind that I’d like to see that in something that is not a Viper and that you’d never expect to be sporting a V10. I have a funny feeling thought that it would turn your A into a corkscrew

    TG- I’d almost be tempted to drop that Viper engine in my 68 Javelin and replace the 343…almost.

    I have a srt-10 engine and auto transmission sitting in my eBay shopping cart for installation in my 1955 imperial…. That motor is the perfect absurd engine for an absurd(ly awesome) car.

    Sure like to drop that into my Challenger. 20 years ago I would have done it, but too old and poor to do it now.

    If I got it for free I would use it as a down payment on a 2023 Z06. That flat plane crank engine is a monster in an admirable package.

    Place it where it always should have gone, in a Plymouth Prowler. Yes it’s been done before, but I think if Chrysler had been smart, Prowler would have been a V10 with a manual 6 speed.

    Although I think the Prowler idea posted by Buzz is absolutely perfect, perhaps a a Shelby Cobra kit car from Factory Five would be a great recipient.

    It will have to be totally gone through. Not knowing how it was stored can turn a potentially perfectly good engine into scrap metal if started. Plus gaskets and seals will have to be replaced. Still a great option for someone with a Viper who wants a spare engine. It will fit in some cars/trucks without too many modifications for swaps. Local dealer near me has a lot of classic cars in his collection and he has a late 40’s Mercury with a Ford V10 in it on the showroom floor at his Ford dealership. Fits well and looks like it belongs. (it is a $100,000 car)

    In a 1996 Dodge Indy Ram. That truck should have been equipped with that engine as part of that package. Considering it was the “Official Truck” of the 96 500 and the 96 GTS Viper was the Pace Car.

    As a Comp Cams sales rep here in California, I remember calling on Keith Harvey who owned PAW or Performance Automotive Warehouse, a huge Summit like warehouse here in California. Huge office and he had a desk of 2 inch thick Plexiglas, 4 X 8 and a (his personal love) a blown Chrysler Hemi on either side to hold it up. Wish I had a photo of it. (He also sponsored the PAW Shirley Muldowney dragster for many years.)

    I’ve shopped there and it was a nice showroom with Dragsters hanging from the ceiling,beautifully detailed engines on stands and if my memory serves me correctly an Edlebrock owned muscle car.

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