Chrysler Corp.'s Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit will be serving up a Viper double dip around July 1.
That's when the plant will start simultaneously assembling both the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe and an improved Viper Roadster on the same line.
So far, Chrysler has built only one version at a time on the line. With simultaneous production, Chrysler will be able to build precisely what customers are ordering.
Roadster production has been on a hiatus since June 1996, when the plant began building the GTS Coupe.
The plant currently assembles 13 Vipers a day. That will not change when roadster production resumes.
The anticipated mix of Vipers will be three roadsters and 10 coupes daily, said John Hinckley, plant manager.
'We'll start out like that, but orders will direct us from there,' Hinckley said.
The 1997 roadster will get many of the amenities of the coupe, such as dual airbags, power windows, a host of chassis refinements and a more powerful engine, said Tom Gale, executive vice president of product development. The engine will deliver 450 horsepower, compared with 415 hp for the 1996 roadster.
Building the Viper coupe and roadster together will give Chrysler the flexibility to meet customer demand quickly, said Craig Love, executive engineer on the Plymouth Prowler team. The Prowler also will be assembled at the Conner Avenue plant, but on a separate line.
Major changes on the assembly line won't be necessary, but some assembly workers will need additional training to prepare for the roadster, Love said.
There have been some test runs at the plant. About 20 preproduction Viper roadsters already have been built.