Dodge Viper Plant To Become Historical Vehicle Museum

Courtesy: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Courtesy: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images /

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to house 400 historic vehicles at the old Viper plant on Conner Avenue, with 85 on display in a new museum.

After 25 years, the Dodge Viper discontinued production last August, partially because it no longer complied with current safety regulations. As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles cleans up the assembly plant, it is auctioning off hundreds of mass-produced models and one-of-a-kind memorabilia to benefit the local United Way foundation.

The automaker just announced that the 51-year-old Dodge Viper plant will be renamed the Conner Center. FCA will utilize 77,000 square feet of the 400,000-square-foot site to display over 400 historic vehicles and concepts owned by the company. The floor space will show off vehicles like the 1924 Chrysler Touring and the 1902 Rambler. Only about  85 cars will be on display at a time; the rest will be in storage. Basically, this will work on a rotation.

It will convert an additional 22,000 square feet of offices into a meeting and events space. The new site, however, will not be open to the public. Although, FCA did say that it isn’t opposed to the possibility of that happening. The company might unveil new vehicles there sometime in the future.

An old tweet from last August that still gets some of us a little teary-eyed:

In a statement, Brandt Rosenbusch, FCA U.S.’s manager of historical services further explained the plan of action.

"“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. 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.”"

This decision was made as a means of preserving Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ footprint in Detroit and maintain a site of automotive history.

After all, the Viper is one of the company’s most famous vehicles, even if its run was cut short. This is the second time that the brand will have such a space preserved. The Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills was converted into office space after closing permanently just two years ago, in 2016.

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According to Detroit News, Mike Tonietto, former Connor Avenue Assembly Plant manager, said:

"“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.“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.”"

FCA will be auctioning 1,800 pieces, which includes eight signed hoods, 500 pieces of art, and other Viper merchandise from the Viper store.  You can get everything from apparel to mugs, keychains and the likes. The auction is already live online at and will run through April 13, 2018.  All proceeds will go to benefiting the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Check it out and own your little piece of Dodge Viper history while you still can.

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Check out the video below featuring manufacturing footage of the Dodge Viper from the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.

What are your thoughts about FCA’s plan to turn the old plant into a meeting space and museum? Would you add this to the list of places you wish to visit, should it go public? We definitely would be excited to be in the same room as some of these spectacular vehicles. It is always nice to be so close to a part of history – especially one you are enthusiastic about.