Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, the former production home of the iconic Dodge Viper, will get a second life as an internal meeting and display space that will showcase the FCA US concept and historic vehicle collection. Remaining Viper memorabilia from the former plant is being auctioned off to benefit the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Renamed Conner Center, the facility will have space to exhibit 85 of the nearly 400 concept and historic vehicles that will now be stored onsite under one roof. Previously, the extensive collection was housed in several locations.
“With a storied history of its own, the Conner Avenue facility is an ideal location to showcase the vehicles that have sustained the Company for more than 92 years. We are proud of our history and have been working diligently in the daily care and restoration of these important vehicles,” said Brandt Rosenbusch, Manager, Historical Services.
Approximately 77,000 of the plant’s nearly 400,000 square-feet of floor space will be dedicated to displaying vehicles like the 1902 Rambler, the oldest in the collection, to one of the most significant, the 1924 Chrysler Touring. Conner’s administrative offices will be converted into nearly 22,000 square-feet of meeting space that can accommodate gatherings of various sizes. It is expected that the facility, built in 1966, could also open its doors to the public in the future. The building should be available for use by internal groups and departments in the second quarter of 2018.
When production of the Dodge Viper came to an end on Aug. 31, 2017, the decommissioning of the plant began. As the assembly line was dismantled, office furniture removed and rooms cleaned out in preparation to repurpose the facility, hundreds of pieces of Viper memorabilia, as well as a few items related to the Plymouth Prowler, were identified and are now being auctioned off to benefit the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
“We found things like signed sketches, photos and posters, not to mention all of the items that were part of the operations of the plant. We know there are lots of Viper – and a few Prowler – owners, fans and even employees around the world who will want to own a piece of automotive history,” said Mike Tonietto, former Conner Avenue Assembly Plant Manager and auction coordinator.
After the Company’s Historical Services group selected the items that would be kept for display or archival purposes, more than 1,800 items remained – including eight signed hoods; more than 500 pieces of art, prints, signage and posters; and an assortment of Viper merchandise from key chains to apparel to coffee mugs – that are available for auction. The auction goes live March 21 and will run through April 13.