The SRT Viper -- which will be renamed the Dodge Viper for the 2015 model year -- is only offered as a hardtop coupe, meaning buyers who want a V-10 roar and the wind in their hair must make do with older Vipers. Now, however, Michigan-based prototyping company Prefix has revealed its "Medusa" conversion, which turns any new SRT Viper coupe into a convertible.
Prefix takes a new SRT Viper, removes the roof, replaces it with a manual soft top, and crafts a new decklid to help preserve some of the Viper coupe's lines. Prefix's Eric Zeile says that the SRT Viper was already stiff enough that removing its roof didn't require the company to add any additional chassis bracing. Instead, Prefix could focus on making sure they liked the look and fit-and-finish of the Medusa convertible.
"We think the [Viper] is a beautiful car, and we didn't want to lose any of those design cues," he told Automobile. "Our objective actually was to make it look very factory."
Prefix has plenty of experience with the SRT Viper and older Dodge Vipers. Today, Prefix paints and prepares all the car's body panels before they are shipped to the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, and previously Prefix was responsible for upfitting Dodge Vipers with the wild ACR track package. When Dodge and SRT failed to offer a convertible version of the newest Viper, Prefix saw an opportunity.
"We saw an opportunity with the Viper and the fact that it didn't have a roadster," Zeile said. "We just knew that there were a lot of people that wanted it."
For now, Prefix plans to build 10 copies of its Medusa conversion as a test run; most but not all of the ten cars have already been spoken for. The cost is $35,000 -- on top of the cost of a new SRT Viper -- and the work will take about eight weeks. The company works with a Dodge dealership in Texas to have brand-new SRT Viper coupes shipped to its facility for the Medusa conversion.
If the car proves popular and there is enough customer interest, Prefix could ramp up production to build 50 to 100 copies of the Medusa per year. For now, Prefix isn't working on modifying existing customer cars. If the project takes off, Zeile said Prefix may expand its performance-car business to models other than the SRT Viper.
"We have other things on the horizon," he said. "We're considering a truck that has some pretty major changes to it that we believe the market is interested in."