The Dodge Viper story began in 1988 when Chrysler boss Bob Lutz and Carroll Shelby got the idea to produce a muscle car that married unmistakably American design with modern-day technology. The pair used the Shelby Cobra as inspiration, borrowing its formula of a simple, lightweight two-seat car with a big engine and bringing it to a whole new level.
The following year, the Dodge Viper was introduced to the American public for the fist time at the 1989 North American International Auto show in Detroit. Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca drove the car out from behind a curtain with Shelby in the passenger seat and was later joined on stage by Lutz. For auto enthusiasts, it was a bit of a star-studded event.
You can relive the press conference thanks to King Rose Archives, which posted a full video of the 1989 unveiling to its YouTube page. The red Viper seen in the video, which we’ve embedded above, can today be viewed at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. Iacocca also lays claim to the first production Viper ever made, which rolled off the New Mack Avenue assembly line in 1991.