The last Dodge Viper snaked its way off the assembly line at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit months ago, never to return. But the facility, rather than being mothballed, is set to get a new lease on life as the home of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ historic-car collection. It could open to the public later this year, effectively replacing the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, which closed in 2016.
The Conner Avenue plant was the home of the Viper starting in 1995, after production moved from Chrysler’s New Mack assembly facility. After a brief hiatus in 2010, it came back onstream with the debut of the third-generation car for 2012. It also built the Plymouth (later Chrysler) Prowler. The building dates to 1966 and originally turned out Champion spark plugs. It’s said that when the plumbing needs to be cleared out after heavy rains, the process often turns up vintage spark plugs.
FCA has nearly 400 historic vehicles in its collection and will be able to display 85 at a time at the Conner Avenue facility, which will be renamed the Conner Center. The transition process has turned up a wealth of Viper memorabilia, including posters, photographs, and signed Viper hoods. Much of the bounty is being auctioned off for charity; check out the online auction here. Get your piece of Viper history while you still can.