This is one of an estimated 14 Viper Defenders that were built for the 1990s TV Series “Viper” starring James McCaffrey, Dorian Harewood, and Joe Nipote. It’s now being offered for sale out of Henderson, Nevada and it’s built on a Dodge Viper platform.
Unlike many prop cars built for Hollywood, the Viper Defender was actually designed at Chrysler by stylist Steve Ferrerio in 1993. It’s styling was clearly influenced by the Dodge Viper which had debuted just two years earlier in 1991.
Fast Facts – The Viper Defender
- The Viper Defender was designed at Chrysler as a futuristic version of the the Dodge Viper production car. It was described as an urban assault vehicle and it featured many built in functions, not dissimilar to KITT from Knight Rider.
- The TV series “Viper” initially aired on NBC for a single season in 1994, it was then picked up for a further three seasons, and it’s now often shown in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel and the USA Network.
- The car was designed by Chrysler stylist Steve Ferrerio and then built by Unique Movie Cars in Las Vegas, Nevada for use in the show. It’s believed that 14 were built.
- The example you see here is built on a stretched 1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 chassis, it has a fiberglass body, and it’s powered by a 360 cubic inch Chrysler small-block V8 sending power back through a 727 automatic transmission and from there to the rear wheels.
The “Viper” TV Series
“Viper” is an action-packed crime and science fiction television series from the 1990s that follows the story of the Viper Team, an elite crime-fighting unit. The show is set in the fictional Metro City, California where crime is rampant and law enforcement struggles to maintain any semblance of control.
The series centers around the high-tech, armored vehicle known as the “Viper Defender,” which is a Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster modified with advanced weaponry and sophisticated defense mechanisms. The Viper is utilized by the Viper Team to combat crime and bring justice to the city.
Together, the Viper Team faces numerous criminals, corrupt corporations, and other threats to the city. Throughout its four-season run, the show blended car chases, explosive action, and engaging character development, making “Viper” a cult classic for fans of the genre.
The Viper Defender
It’s clear that the Viper Defender was influenced by the earlier KITT from the 1980s TV series Knight Rider. Both cars were based on period production sports cars, KITT on the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and the Viper Defender on the Dodge Viper RT/10.
Interestingly the Defender was built on a production Viper chassis but the original V10 engine was removed and replaced with a 360 cubic inch Chrysler small-block V8 sending power back through a 727 automatic transmission to the rear wheels.
Of the 14 cars built for the series some were more complete than others, as some cars were used for interior shots and some for exterior driving shots. The example you see here appears to have been one of the few built to serve both purposes, with a fully detailed interior and exterior.
The interior of the car has seating for two, it’s all finished in blue/gray upholstery and black carpeting, and the center console/dashboard section includes the three color monitors that were used in the show to depict satellite navigation, onboard diagnostics, weapon systems, radar, etc.
The interior of the car is completely fitted out, with blue/gray upholstery throughout, black carpeting, and that triple color monitor set up in the center of the dashboard that was used to display things like satellite navigation, onboard diagnostics, and weapons systems during the show.
Although this car is fully equipped and drivable it’s not legal for road use, this is something that may be worth researching for any potential bidders as it may be possible to get the car registered in some regions as a kit car or low volume production vehicle – though this would require further research.