Former Viper Plant Will House FCA US Car Collection

FCA announced two new initiatives to honor the Dodge Viper, and all that it has done to change the course of American car history. First will be that they are making use of the old Viper plant by turning it into a meeting and display space. Second, they will be putting more than 1,800 Viper items up for auction through April 13th. Learn more in the official release from FCA below.

Former Viper Plant to Become New Home of FCA US Car Collection; Company Launches Viper Memorabilia Auction to Benefit United Way

  • 51-year-old Detroit plant to be converted to meeting and display space
  • Move puts Company’s nearly 400 concept and historic vehicle collection under one roof
  • Facility to be renamed Conner Center
  • Space anticipated to be available in second quarter 2018 for internal use initially
  • Auction of Viper memorabilia to benefit United Way for Southeastern Michigan
  • More than 1,800 Viper items – including signed hoods, prints and posters – will be up for bid
  • Online auction opens March 21; runs through April 13
  • Full list of items and bidding available at https://auction.unitedwaysem.org/
FCA US LLC will honor the legacy of the Dodge Viper as part of two initiatives announced.

First, the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, the former production home of the iconic Dodge Viper, will get a second life as an internal meeting and display space that will showcase the Company’s concept and historic vehicle collection. Second, the Company is kicking off an auction of Viper memorabilia to benefit the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Conner Center: Home of the FCA US Vehicle Collection
Renamed Conner Center, the former manufacturing facility, tucked in a Detroit neighborhood just south of the famed 8 Mile Road, will have space to exhibit 85 of the nearly 400 concept and historic vehicles that will now be stored onsite under one roof. Previously, the Company’s extensive collection was housed in several locations.

“With a storied history of its own, the Conner Avenue facility is an ideal location to showcase the vehicles that have sustained the Company for more than 92 years,” said Brandt Rosenbusch, Manager, Historical Services. “We are proud of our history and have been working diligently in the daily care and restoration of these important vehicles. This move will allow us to house all of our collection under one roof and have the space to share that history with our employees.”

Approximately 77,000 of the plant’s nearly 400,000 square-feet of floor space will be dedicated to displaying vehicles like the 1902 Rambler, the oldest in the collection, to one of the most significant, the 1924 Chrysler Touring. Conner’s administrative offices will be converted into nearly 22,000 square-feet of meeting space that can accommodate gatherings of various sizes. It is expected that the facility, built in 1966, could also open its doors to the public in the future. The building should be available for use by internal groups and departments in the second quarter of 2018.

United Way to Benefit from Viper Memorabilia Auction
Production of the Dodge Viper came to an end on Aug. 31, 2017, and with that, the decommissioning of the plant began. As the assembly line was dismantled, office furniture removed and rooms cleaned out in preparation to repurpose the facility into meeting and display space, hundreds of pieces of Viper memorabilia, as well as a few items related to the Plymouth Prowler, were identified and salvaged. The decision was made to auction these items off to benefit the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“We found things like signed sketches, photos and posters, not to mention all of the items that were part of the operations of the plant,” said Mike Tonietto, former Conner Avenue Assembly Plant Manager and auction coordinator. “As more and more items were discovered, the question became what do we do with them. Rather than store them somewhere where they would never be seen or, worse yet, disposed of, we decided to auction them off.

“We know there are lots of Viper – and a few Prowler – owners, fans and even employees around the world who will want to own a piece of automotive history,” said Tonietto. “This is a great way to share some one-of-a-kind pieces involving these iconic vehicles while at the same time supporting an organization that does so much good in the community.”

After the Company’s Historical Services group selected the items that would be kept for display or archival purposes, more than 1,800 items remained – including eight signed hoods; more than 500 pieces of art, prints, signage and posters; and an assortment of Viper merchandise from key chains to apparel to coffee mugs – that will be available for auction.

One of the many available pieces of art is a sketch of the Viper GTS with portraits of the three former Chrysler executives responsible for its development – Bob Lutz, President and CEO; Tom Gale, Vice President – Product Design and International Operations; and Francois Castaing, Vice President – Vehicle Engineering and General Manager of Powertrain Operations. The limited edition print – number 14 of 300 – features the signatures of the three executives along with an authentic blue Viper GTS emblem.

The auction goes live on March 21 and will run through April 13. A full list of items with descriptions and bidding instructions are available at https://auction.unitedwaysem.org/.

All items are being auctioned in “as is” condition. Some items have minimum starting bids, while others have a “Buy it Now” option. Larger items will need to be picked up directly from the Conner facility by April 30, 2018. Smaller items will be shipped directly to the highest bidder. The auction is open to qualified bidders outside of the U.S., but winning non-U.S. bidders will be responsible for shipping as well as customs taxes and duty on any purchases.

About FCA US LLC
FCA US LLC is a North American automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It designs, manufactures, and sells or distributes vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands, as well as the SRT performance designation. The Company also distributes Mopar and Alfa Romeo parts and accessories. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler Corp., established in 1925 by industry visionary Walter P. Chrysler and Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (F.I.A.T.), founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli. FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA).

FCA, the eighth-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FCAU” and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol “FCA.”

About the author

Elizabeth Puckett

Elizabeth is a seasoned writer and hardcore gearhead. She was born with motor oil in her blood and a passion for everything that goes fast.
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