Runge is a Minnesota company that churns out unique cars using the same techniques as coachbuilders from the first half of the last century. We’re talking individual body panels all hammered and rolled into shape by hand.
Runge’s latest creation is the Veleno, which is built on the donor chassis of a 2004 Dodge Viper SRT10 roadster. The car was built by Runge founder Christopher Runge and his son, and took around 5,000 hours to complete. The car was commissioned by an unnamed customer.
It’s featured in the latest episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” with Runge on hand to explain all the details. He was last on the show in 2018 with one of the cars from his Porsche-inspired Frankfurt Flyer series. The Veleno looks like it was inspired by Italian sports cars of the 1960s.
As Runge explains in the episode, he originally tried to modernize his techniques by using digital scans of the Viper chassis to help a designer in the U.K. create the final shape for the Veleno, using Runge’s original sketches. However, when that failed, Runge decided to do it the old way, by making an aluminum tube buck to shape the car for later metal working. He says he then pounded the body panels from sheets of aluminum on a tree stump then finished them on an English wheel.
The aluminum Runge uses is actually lighter than the original fiberglass body of the Viper by about 250 pounds. The company also created its own wheels and headlight lenses.
The interior is also fully custom and made from aluminum and brown leather. Runge used black walnut for the steering wheel and shift knob. This is also likely the only Viper with a gated shifter. A leather parcel shelf sits in the back.
The V-10 powertrain is mostly stock, though Runge dressed up the engine by polishing the intake and valve covers and adding stainless-steel headers. The company also added a high-flow exhaust system, a modification that typically increases horsepower.
Runge’s car isn’t the only Viper-based car called Veleno, which in Italian means “poison” or a “venom.” Swiss car customizer Rinspeed in 1993 built a custom Viper also called the Veleno, though Rinspeed’s car kept most of the donor Viper’s body.
As usual, Leno takes the car for a drive to end the video. He notes that he sits lower than in a regular Viper, and Runge confirms that he had to take about three inches out of the seats to make the headroom work. Leno also says the car drives well enough to take a long trip, which we’re not sure we’d do in a Viper of that era.
Click on the video above to delve deeper into the incredible handwork of this one-off car.
- Apocalypse Super Truck goes medieval with 850 hp for $159,999
- 2024 Lexus LC gains bigger screen, more colors
- Musk: Tesla Roadster production “hopefully” starts in 2024
- 2024 Nissan GT-R sees prices rise, now starts at $122,885
- Modern AC Cobra GT Roadster debuts with over 650 hp