The importance of Italian immigrants in building America into one of the greatest countries in the world cannot be overstated. Hundreds of thousands came to Ellis Island with a dream in their hearts and minds…and not much else. Through hard work, perseverence and canny business sense, people of Italian origin thrived here. The many generations who descended from those very people, who now call themselves proud Americans (and some proud Mopar owners too), are a testament to their ancestors’ success and drive.
We believe Sergio Marchionne, president and CEO of Chrysler Corporation, was well aware of this important part of American history when in May 2013 he donated a new SRT Viper GTS to the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF). The SIF is a nationally-recognized, non-profit based in Washington D.C. It is the philanthropic arm of the 109-year-old Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA), the largest Italian American organization in the world, at 500,000 members. It does a host of good work in helping with medical research, disaster relief and many other good causes.
As a one-off model specially designed by SRT CEO Ralph Gilles for the SIF, the Viper carries some custom touches. Its pearl white exterior is the only one produced in that color for the year. It features specially made wheels in a wicked black chrome finish with, of course, meaty steamroller tires. As well, there are hood and leather interior accented in the Italian colors of red, white and green. The Italians may know a thing or two about design and flare, but this Dodge can sit proudly alongside any Lambo or Maserati.
The Viper, which carries a $139,000 book value, was auctioned at no reserve at Barrett-Jackson’s 2014 auction in Scottsdale, so no minimum bid was required. The sale price of $215,000 made the Viper among the top-sellers out of more than 700 cars at BJ’s shin-dig during the classic car world’s biggest auction week. That money will be put to good use in helping others we’re sure. Thanks SRT – now that’s Amore!