A unique car has been listed on the popular automotive auction site, BringATrailer.com. This Dodge Viper-based car is said to be one of only 14 examples of the fictional “Defender” designed by Chrysler and built by the seller at Unique Movie Cars in Las Vegas, Nevada for use in the 1994 television series Viper. The car has remained with the seller since the completion of the show’s filming in the late 1990s.
The Viper TV series began filming in Los Angeles in 1993 and originally aired in early 1994 on NBC before continuing under syndication between 1996 and 1999. The series followed a top-secret crime-fighting task force whose primary vehicle was a 1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 that could transform into an armored assault vehicle known as the Defender. The Defender was conceptualized and built in prototype form by a Chrysler team led by designer Steve Ferrerio before the show’s hero and stunt cars were constructed by Unique Movie Cars in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This car was used as a principal car during the filming of the show rather than for stunt work, while also being used for public relations purposes, according to the seller. The fiberglass bodywork is finished in tri-stage silver, and design elements include a “double bubble” fixed roof with simulated porthole windows, a rear spoiler that flips up for fuel-filler access, removable side windows affixed via Velcro, side pods below the doors, fang-style front bumperettes, and dual rear-exit exhaust pipes with rectangular surrounds. This example’s front bumperettes and side pods are static, and the car does not have the functioning gadgets seen in the action sequences of the show.
The car is said to ride on the chassis of a 1993 Viper RT/10 with its wheelbase stretched by several inches. The running gear is carried over from the Viper and includes power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with Viper-branded calipers, four-wheel independent suspension with coil-over shock absorbers, and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Three-spoke 17-inch wheels are finished in silver with simulated rivets and are mounted with Michelin XGT 2 tires measuring 275/40 up front and 335/45 at the rear.
The cabin houses bucket seats trimmed in gray leather along with color-keyed trim over the console, dash, and door panels. Additional features include black carpeting, a gray headliner, black sills with a bright “Defender” script, and a console-mounted array of three simulated monitors displaying static images of the fictional car’s system diagnostics. The car is not equipped with seat belts, an HVAC system, or a radio. The three-spoke steering wheel sits ahead of a 180-mph speedometer and a 7,000-rpm tachometer that flanks a faux central crosshair screen. The 6-digit odometer shows 190 miles.
Power is provided by a 5.9-liter (360 cubic-inch) V8 that is said to have been fitted during the car’s construction in place of the Viper’s original V10. Features include an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor, a bright air cleaner housing, and ribbed Mopar Performance valve covers. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a Chrysler 727 automatic transmission. The sale includes a 1996 Paramount promotional booklet for the Viper TV show as well as a set of cast photos. The car does not have a serial number or a title and is being sold for off-road use only on a bill of sale.
The bidding for the “Defender” is only open until tomorrow, Tuesday, April 4th at 5:44 p.m. EST. Currently, as of the writing of the this article, bidding is up to just shy of $80,000.
Dodge Viper “Defender” TV Principal Photography Car Image Gallery:
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