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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    I had a really nice 1937 Packard club sedan with a tired engine, I was going to swap in a Dodge V10 but a buddy of mine bought it and is going to rebuild the original engine.

    Imagine a v10 swapped “K” car or Caravan! It would be a hellacious sleeper if done right. Lol I want to put the whole Nissan 370z drivetrain in my 93 Mercury Villager GS. Both project would need a lot of modifications to work. How bad of an ego hit would you take if you think you’re fast and you get left at a light by a “K” car or a minivan!!😂😂

    Just curious to me that the part number for a complete assembly would be cast into the block.

    Just curious to me that the part number for a complete assembly would be cast into the block. Is that the only way to buy a block from Dodge?

    Find another! A friend of mine has a 1968 Z28 crate engine he purchased from Yenko when he thought the original engine in his car was beyond repair. It’s still sitting unused in his garage about 1 mile down the road from where Yenko Chevy was located

    Hard to imagine not having put that in something for all those years. If he is ever looking to free up some space and hear it run, I could help him out. I owned a 67 Z/28 and a 70 Z/28 in the late 70’s. The LT1 was strong, but that 302 was so much more fun to drive.

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