Solving The World’s Problems, Two Vipers At A Time
What’s Better Than One Viper?

In the city known for its cyclists, coffee snobs, Silicon Valley and environmentalists, two men dare to be different.

While San Francisco may be home to around 865,000 people, there are only about 470,000 vehicles (cars, trucks and motorcycles combined) registered in the Bay Area. To some that may not seem like an awfully large number of people or cars when compared to the other cities around the world, and it isn’t until you start to take the lifestyle of the city into account.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (92 of 117)

On average, around 430,000 people commute via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) each day, approximately 14,000 people bike to work, and the remainder drive, carpool or ride share. An additional 265,000 people commute into the city for work daily.

While the public transit system in San Francisco isn’t the best in world, it certainly does make life easier for those without access to a car or the copious amount of patience to deal with traffic.

You may be wondering why on earth I’m rambling about facts about public transport and cyclists, but there’s some method to my madness.

Keiron Berndt

Meet Dan and Dale, two madmen who roam the uneven and increasingly sloped streets that is San Francisco in pair of Dodge Viper ACRs. Dan currently is the manager of hardware prototyping at a robotics startup and spent many years at Tesla before moving to his current position. Dan lives and breathes for anything with wheels and an engine (motors too), ranging from his collection of race bikes to his long love of Datsun 510s.

Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters

What started as wrenching on his 510s as a hobby quickly turned into a full-scale fabrication business, and eight years later, after countless projects, sleepless nights, and little motivation to work on his own projects, Dan knew it was time for a change. In 2010 he started work at Tesla as a fabricator and quickly worked his way up the ranks to a management position in research and development. But it didn’t take Dan to miss getting his hands dirty and being involved in the nitty-gritty work.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (49 of 117)

Fast forward to the present day and Dan is currently working with a highly secretive startup that is rumoured to change the world as we know it for the better. Dan believes that if you follow your heart, chase your goals, learn from your mistakes, and are driven by passion, good things are bound to happen.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (57 of 117)

Then there’s Dale, an engineering tech and prototype driver at Tesla. Dale started working for his mom at Wells Fargo Real Estate Group as a clerk, but that didn’t last long. After quitting, Dale found himself sweeping floors and stocking shelves, but he eventually became a BMW suspension technician on the sales team.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (47 of 117)

After a couple years of hard work and dedication both at Ground Control and at the race track, Dale was offered a job at Tesla. Dale currently works in NVH (noise, vibration, and hardness) as the team driver and tests nearly all marketing cars.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (19 of 117)

Along with testing new cars, Dale still races at in the VLN (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring) Series and will be competing at Monza, Spa, and Silverstone later this year.

As you can see, both Dan and Dale also get to experience some of the best fruit Dodge has to offer.

Civil Serpent
Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (85 of 117)

The Dodge Viper ACR has come a long way from its humble yet brash roots. The ACR being a modern American-made supercar, incorporates an incredible amount of technology and countless hours of labour in extensive research and development, and the result is simply astounding. It’s up there on the charts with the most legendary cars of all time, as it damn well should be.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (112 of 117)

The latest iteration was imagined by Ralph Gilles, head of Design at FIAT Chrysler, and Jeff Reece, vehicle development manager for the Viper, and I can only fantasize how their conversations went while creating the ACR.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (75 of 117)

I imagine the guts to be: “Let’s make a hand-built American supercar with the goal of enthusiasts owning it. Oh, it’s not intense enough? How about we give an 8.4-liter V10 (the biggest motor to be in a production car since WWII), and a massive wing too?”

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (90 of 117)

The ACR is and will always be a labour of love and contains a soul that many have yet to experience or capture. Once the man in charge gave the nod, it was off to the wind tunnel where every centimeter of the Viper was sculpted and built for a purpose.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (82 of 117)

Remember that audacious rear wing/ironing board? That combined with some other wizardry give the ACR approximately 1700lbs of downforce. That’s like having a mature Holstein cow strapped to your roof to ensure you have ample grip.

The ACR packs 650hp with 600 lb-ft of torque, which gives it a top speed of 175mph (281km/h). The gigantic wing and aero bits are enough drag for the Viper to lose around 25mph (40km/h) on the top end.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (10 of 117)

Then there’s the tires, 295/25R19 in the front, and 355/30R19 in the back. These are specifically manufactured by Kumho for the Viper.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (18 of 117)

While the ACR maybe stiff to drive, you need to be hypersensitive to everything that’s on the ACR while using it on the street due to the low splitter and strakes. One thing that Dan would change on his Viper would be a front lift system just to make driving it a little less stressful. Dale would like to see more tire options as it’s tough to balance a good suspension balance with just two tire choices.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (27 of 117)

I think Dan summed it up perfectly, the Dodge Viper ACR is “Heroically American”.

Laguna Queen
Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (21 of 117)

With those insane figures in mind, the following shouldn’t be a surprise to you. The ACR or affectionately known as the Laguna Queen due to its standing production car lap record of 1:28.65, which dethroned the Porsche 918 by 1.4 seconds (1:29.89). That’s not a typo; a Dodge indeed defeated the almighty name that is Porsche.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (14 of 117)

A car that cost US$115,390 walked all over a hypercar that would set you back US$845,000 (if you could get your hands on one that it). It’s also worth mentioning that the ACR also set and smashed another 12 records at other race track and holds more production records than any other car.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (32 of 117)

Both Dan and Dale talk volumes about how capable and humbling the car is on the track. The driving dynamic of the ACR thanks to the extra downforce means that the car obliterates any limit that you’re used to on the track. Dan did heed a warning that under 60mph (96km/h) the tail can be a tad “flappy”, but the faster you go, the happier the car becomes and sturdier it feels.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (78 of 117)

Dan’s Viper is a special GTC 1/1 build which includes a Harmon Kardon audio system, Lava Orange paint (from factory), interior carbon fiber package, and the ACR-E package making it a rare breed of snake. And Dan does admit that his colour choice in cars may have been slightly influenced by KTM.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (79 of 117)

The ’46’ on Dan’s wing is a tribute to two of his heroes, John Morton and Pete Brock, who against all odds, won the 1971 and 1972 Trans Am Championships in the BRE Datsun 510.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (73 of 117)

Dale’s Viper isn’t as limited as Dan’s, but a white ACR is almost as rare. Dale had always dreamed of owning a white Viper with no stripes, and it had to be naturally aspirated.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (64 of 117)

Then there’s the Viper community. Whether it’s Viper track days, dedicated Viper clubs, and Viper meets, everyone knows you by name. Even the general managers of Dodge dealerships know you by name and personally greet you. It’s a breathing, heart beating, and loyal community that Dan and Dale are extremely proud to be a part of it.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (31 of 117)

After spending the afternoon with Dan, Dale, and the two ACRs, life seems to make more sense. It’s simple: the world needs more Vipers.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (26 of 117)

Long and stressful work week? Viper. Nervous about a first date? Pick her up in a Viper. Need an excuse for people to talk to you about your car? Viper. And the list goes on… At this point, you’re probably thinking I’m off my rocker or gone completely mad, but I have my reasons.

During my time with the cars, the sheer number of people who broke their necks staring, or stopped to talk about the cars, take selfies, or even family photos was astonishing. I’ve never witnessed anything like it. I’ve shot a lot of crazy cars in many public places, but none ever attracted a crowd like this.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (50 of 117)

And Dan and Dale are the first to agree on that. Dan’s had many people hanging out of car windows videoing and taking photos as he’s driving down the freeway, and he’s even had people follow him into parking lots to talk about the car and take pictures with it.

Dale’s experienced all of the above, as well as people almost getting into accidents while trying to get a picture.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (103 of 117)

It wasn’t just the happy faces as people posed for their pictures, but the sheer happiness many of them displayed as if the snakes charmed them. Even a young child approached asking if it was a Lamborghini (Ferruccio is rolling in his grave after that statement). That’s how bold of a statement the Viper makes.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (110 of 117)

Dan and Dale don’t mind the attention even though they’re not the attention-seeking types; they feel they have a legacy to uphold and to be caretakers of such powerful relics is an honour many don’t get to experience.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (108 of 117)

Quite simply, if there were more Vipers on the street, the world would be a happier place.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (104 of 117)

You don’t go to the rodeo to watch riders try and tame bulls, and Isle of Man TT riders don’t wrestle their bikes down narrow roads because they want the awards. They live for the rush of touching death, and the Viper give you a small taste of that.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (96 of 117)

The Dodge Viper ACR isn’t a snake to be charmed or a girl to be flirted with but a tool that allows you to get as close to the edge as you can, and it’s simply brilliant.

Bradley's Mellow Yellow - Keiron Berndt (115 of 117)

I’m happy to see such beasts roaming free in such a city and I can’t wait to see how other cities compare. Where to look next, maybe NYC?

Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt
Keiron Berndt Photography

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54 comments

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1

I'm really curious to see just how much longer the Viper can hold onto all of its lap records.. With the likes of cars such as: the Mclaren Senna and 991.2 GT2 RS, along with the "LT Version" of the 720S and Mercedes-AMG Project One; I just don't see the Viper being able to hang onto all its records for much longer, particularly its lap-time at Laguna Seca..

2

Why are you including the Project ONE here? Keep in mind this is a 80-120k car. Maybe the Porsche but just that.

3
Mark Joseph I. Argoso

The Senna and Project ONE are past supercar. The GT2RS is its direct competition. That tier is where the real elbowing happens.

Author4

The competition is one of my favorite parts. Without it, there wouldn't be any drive to innovate.

5

Nice job blocking the disabled spots.

6

Does it count if traction control is disabled?

7

Yah I awlays see disabled people fighting for parking spots at closed museums......

Author8

It was 18:00 and the museum closed at 17:15...

9

2 guys from Tesla with the biggest ICE engine available on market, this is a very bold statement laser printed on the forehead.
I can't think of any car to compete with the viper, taking price in consideration, it's a real queen not only for Laguna.

10

They realised that 8.2 L of fun and pedigree are better then beeing a "savior"

11

NVH = Noise, Vibration, and Harshness. ( not hardness...). Otherwise great article Keiron, keep up the good work.

12

Being in the bay I can not help but wonder if these cars have come through the auction I work at. We have had a good amount in the passed year. Couple of them sold as lemons for super cheap. Well relatively cheap...

13

How cheap are we talking? I'm assuming older gens right?

14

I know we had one lemon sell for 24 or 34k, can not remember of that was an ACR, but if your a Chrysler dealer you can get one around 40-50k floor price is usually 60k, but I dont think one has sold here for that yet.

15

Thats a steal!

Author16

Woof! That's a bargain! More fun per ton!

17

I'm. Glad came for the last pic. Dope roller thru our tunnel.

18

That pic is just plain rad! The exhaust turbines above add such a cool wind tunnel effect! I love driving through the Treasure Island tunnel. I can't wait til my car is ready to blow some eardrums on the way to the city!!

Author19

Thanks, Ricko!

20

San Jose is definitely the next place you should look. Car culture is basically booming there, with such shows like Wekfest originating in the area. Also they aren't afraid to drive their supercars downtown, where it's dense. Not to mention, there are also older cars like lowriders and the classics cruising around. Custom cars and exotics here are still vibrant here despite being an area where cars are frowned upon.

Author21

Thanks for the tip Terry! If you have any cars that come to mind, hit me up on Instagram, @keiron_berndt!

22

AWESOME ARTICLE! I loved it! especially since its about Vipers in the Bay Area!

Author23

So rad to see! Thanks for the feedback!

24

Awesome pair of cars, but the ACR looks particularly stunning in white. Great set of shots!

Author25

Thanks, Steve! Right??

26
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Few days ago I was just watching the documentary about the 2 Viper ACRs that lapped the Nurburgring last year, and today I see another pair of the same car on here. The white one here just deepened my lust for an ACR.

Author27

Get one! Or two!

28

I'm sure the world would be a better place. There'd sure as hell be a lot less idiots if we all owned Vipers.

29

Ammmm...or maybe we would all be dead =))))

30

Thinking that was the point... Manual only, v10, no seats for anything more than a single passenger, let the idiots weed themselves out when they dump the clutch in first with 3 people crammed into the passenger seat because "Murica Bro"

31

not to forget the amount of fuel saved by buying domestic and not having cars shipped across the world on fuel guzzling tankers

32

You might want to brush up on your knowledge of fractional crude oil distillation. And the uses of the various distillates.

33

My ultimate dream as an European teenager is to own and daily(not for just a few years) one of these beasts. Planning on moving to America/Canada to start my career in car designing and to achieve my dream of owning a Viper! Good job Keiron, that last picture is KILLER!

Author34

Thanks for the kind words! I'm not an "American" car guy, but the Viper rustles my jimmies.

35

Dan and Dale sound like the two guys who would say Shake and Bake to each other.

36

pictures are NSFW

37

Some kids dream of Lambos, Porsche, and the like, I dream of Vipers. I loose my shit when I see one in the wild. *checks savings account and current market prices* ugh...not yet lol

Author38

Right???? If only... Just think of all the fun!

39

Feel you on that one... had one drive past work yesterday and it was GLORIOUS

Author40

The sound is something else!

41

Dan Gallmeister is my hero!

42

Surprised I haven't seen either one of these. My commute goes along the path of this photoshoot, twice a day, every day. I drive into the city to, ironically, save money. From Marin to my office, it's a minimum of $10 each way on public transit.

43

This article made my day! Good job!!

Author44

Glad I could help!

45
Speed Huntress

I am more shocked by the guy riding a kite powered long-board on the street in the 3rd photo! I assume there are no power-lines, obstacles or requirements to stop.

Author46

He has a deathwish for sure! The wind was gusting, but he was next to the beach, so he was clear of powerlines and poles.

47
Cam Gullickson

Awesome write up! Really sums up why the Viper is so cool. The photos were great as well. Even though i work at a Dodge dealership I tend to love 90’s-00’s JDM cars only (Hell, my motorcycle is an 02’ Honda F4i). With the exception of the new Challenger and the Viper. This article just reinforces my love for the Viper. Too bad we haven’t got any at our dealership :(
Although I did spot some paperwork that someone ordered a Go Mango Demon :)

Author48

Thanks, Cam! That Mango colour is the bomb!

49
Chris Kreschollek

Longboarding in SF is still mighty grand although I'd rather be going down a hill.

50

I can t believe how much better these look than the previous versions!!!!
2 guys living the dream!!!
Imagine how much better they'd be if they used some late 20th / 21st entry engine tech and got more than 77hp/l lol

51

The Viper is one of the Petrol Gods favored disciples, and there's really no better bang for buck on the high dollar side.

52

This has to be one of the prettiest photosets in some time on the site, and that's not to say there is any lack of amazing photos. SF makes for a stunning backdrop too.

53
Jonas Bringslimark

Drop dead gorgeous, both the cars and the photos! Great article, Keiron.
Been obsessing about Viper's since about 1998 when I got the game "Viper Racing" for my computer at the age of 7.

54

It was mentioned that these guys are fans of Pete Brock, John Morton and, of course, BRE. Pete will be our Guest Speaker at the Blackhawk Museum on April 7th at 10:30 am. His subject this time will be "BRE's Japanese Auto Race History". Additionally, this coincides with the "Z Gathering" of Z-cars and other Datun/Nissan vehicles of interest. Come early to see the cars and get a seat for the talk...should be a popular one!

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