Ordered by and built specifically for renowned Chrysler designer John Herlitz. Poster colors, 4,200 miles, well documented single family ownership, accompanied by Robert Hubbach painting.
1996 Dodge Viper GTS
VIN – 1B3ER69E9TV200008
Exterior Color – Viper GTS Blue with White Stripes
Interior Color – Black leather
Engine – 8.0 Liter V10
Transmission – 6-Speed manual
Mileage –4,252 miles
Current Owner – Acquired from Father’s Estate
Miles Under Current Ownership – approximately 500 miles
Highlights of this Viper
- Purchased new by Chrysler Senior VP of Design, John Herlitz
- Single family ownership since purchased
- Just 4,200 original miles with excellent finishes
Conceived as a 1988 Chrysler Advanced Studios concept car and shown at the 1989 North American International Auto Show, the Dodge Viper was green-lighted to production after raved reviews from automotive press and performance enthusiasts eager to see Chrysler regain the Muscle Car glory days. A specialized team of development designers and engineers were assembled as “Team Viper” to bring the V10 powered roadster to production in 1992.
In 1996, concurrent with the SRII series redesign, the Viper GTS debuted. The unique design recalled the Italian “double bubble” roof and other themes reminiscent of the Peter Brock designed Shelby Daytona Coupe. More than just a reskinned Viper roadster, the all-new GTS was a formidable performance car with significant improvements to the platform and more horsepower than the earlier roadster. GT amenities included power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, and airbags. The introductory year production concluded with just 1,166 total produced for 1996 Viper GTS.
History of this Viper
This Viper GTS was purchased brand new by legendary automobile designer and Chrysler’s Senior VP of Design, John Herlitz. Known for his design work on the Barracuda SX show car, second generation Barracuda, 1970/71 ‘Cuda, and 1971 Road Runner, Herlitz was a consummate professional, spending his entire corporate career in service to the industry he enjoyed so much – designing American Automobiles. Herlitz’ designs were revolutionary not only for his considerable efforts in the Muscle Car category, but for influencing all of Chrysler’s designs to blend clean, more typically European surfacing with American power and muscle – a trend other manufacturers would follow.
Herlitz, a passionate performance enthusiast, purchased this car in 1996 before his retirement from Chrysler in 2000. Though the order was processed and sold through Crestwood Dodge, Herlitz decided to take delivery at the Conner Avenue Assembly Facility in Detroit, specifically after watching this Viper being assembled and subsequently take personal delivery of the car after completion (photos of Herlitz at Conner Assembly are included with the car). Listed below are just a few of the numerous features included in the Viper GTS
- Tubular Space Frame with Center Spine Structure
- Stainless Steel Dual Rear Exhaust
- Composite Body Panels with Fiber Reinforced Skin
- Double Acting Gas Shocks with Rebound Adjustment
- Rear Wheel Drive with Limited Slip Differential
- Power Assist Rack and Pinion Steering
- Energy Absorbing Tilt Steering Column
- Aero Polyellipsoid Halogen Headlamps
The early VIN assigned to this Viper indicates it to be one of the first of the 1,166 examples built in the inaugural year. Under Herlitz’ ownership, regular services were performed on the car including recall campaigns replacing the airbag control module, reinforcement for the differential bracket, and rear oxygen sensor wiring replacement. Oil and filter services were regularly performed including gear oil and manual transmission service. Though Herlitz enjoyed the car, miles accrued at a nominal rate, while keeping it safely stored and used only on dry days. In 2003 a new air conditioning evaporator was installed, and in 2008 an oil and filter change performed along with a brake fluid flush, clutch fluid exchange, a new battery, and a minor tune up performed. In 2008, Herlitz passed away and his son took ownership of the car. At the time of transfer, the car was moved from Michigan to California, then indicating 3,863 miles. Regular services continued including oil and filter changes as well as a 2017 installation of four new Michelin Pilot sport tires, fluid flushes, a new drive belt, new serpentine belt, wheel reconditioning, and professional detailing. In August 2023, a new high-capacity battery was installed, oil and filter changed, brake fluid flushed, coolant system serviced, and professional detailing performed including clay barring for painted surfaces. In preparation for sale, the driver’s side power window switch was repaired.
Condition and Ownership
Today this Viper GTS presents in excellent condition with beautiful blue metallic paint and broad dual central white body stripes that are glossy and smooth throughout. The finish is rich and lustrous, appearing essentially unmarked on all upper body surfaces. The passenger side front lower air dam corner has a small chip which has not been touched up with matching color paint and the underside edge of the air dam has some driveway scrapes which are visible from the underside of the car. The composite body panels are smooth, properly aligned, and the paint and stripes are consistent with factory original finishes. The door jams, inner surfaces, and the front and rear bumpers are in excellent condition, with no small stone chips evident on the front fascia. The factory aluminum 6-bolt wheels are in excellent condition. Michelin Pilot Sport P275/40 ZR17 front and P335/35 ZR17 rear tires are mounted, dated 2017. Lenses, glass, and lighting are all in excellent condition throughout. The emblems, script lettering, and exterior details are beautifully finished and in excellent condition consistent with the low miles.
The black leather interior offers sporting details and very nice surfaces in all areas especially considering 27 years have lapsed under single family ownership. The premium leather high back bucket seating surfaces, center console, contoured interior door panels, and dashboard are in excellent condition showing only minor areas of use. The driver’s side seat bolster, normally found to have stitching wear, is in excellent condition. The leather seats are beautifully contoured offering excellent lumbar and side support perfect for spirited driving. The dashboard and white dial instrumentation operate properly as do all systems, air conditioning, and premium sound system including the CD player. The condition of the carpeting, headliner, and rear storage hatch area are essentially in like-new condition.
Under the hood, the powerful and specially developed V10 engine is clean and unmodified from new, highlighted by purposeful red finished alloy castings displaying distinct insignias along with key factory stock features and the factory correct air induction system. The underside shows no visual evidence of structural compromise and all suspension mounting points as well as key frame members are in excellent condition. Correct stock factory features include the original exhaust heat shielding, correct factory exhaust, factory mid tunnel tray, and correct factory hardware. The preserved condition of the chassis is further supported by the documentation and ownership history that has accompanied this Viper GTS since new.
This Viper lights off instantly with a wonderful exhaust note rumbling past the rocker panel channeled exhaust. The throttle response is precise and commanding, delivering a huge power packed torque punch from the capable V10 engine offering a wonderfully progressive acceleration curve. The exhaust note is spot on for American power delivering impressive driving manners that even moderately skilled performance drivers can enjoy. The combination of the 6-speed manual transmission and gobs of V10 horsepower is great not only for freeway jaunts to higher speeds but also welcomed when carving mountain roads. Everything you might expect from a dynamic performance car comes together very well in this superbly preserved example.
A landmark design by any standard offering unquestionably high levels of performance, this Viper GTS is the first in a legacy of premium Viper performance cars offered in a range of iterations since first launched. This remarkably well-maintained, low mile example is ready to delight the next owner with unrepeatable ownership history, show-ready cosmetics, and fantastic performance from one of the very best examples of the first Viper GTS.
A portion of the proceeds achieved from the sale of this car will be donated to the University of Michigan Lupus Research Fund
Included with This Car
This Viper is accompanied by a car cover and Viper branded car cover bag, the original window sticker, Viper service manual, owner’s manuals and leather case, a Viper GTS sales brochure, a battery tender, Viper branded Mopar finish and interior detailing kit and case, two keys and key fobs, a copy of Viper magazine, and a signed 1995 hand painted rendering by Viper designer Robert Hubbach depicting two Vipers at speed.
Also included are eight photographic color prints of this Viper being produced at Chrysler at various stages of assembly. Photos depict John Herlitz with the completed car along with photos of Viper production team members with the car at final assembly.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608