It All Started With a Poster and a Dream

The smell of exhaust. The roar of an engine. The shine of glossy paint. The scuff marks moving tires make. All of us in the car community can relate to these senses, but our obsession with cars likely started with hanging the first car poster on the wall in our room. We might not have realized that simple act was one of the first initiations into the car community, but there we were with our thumbtack or tape, manifesting our goals, decorating our walls with the cars of our dreams. If you ended up with that car from the poster parked in your garage, I’d call it a dream come true. If you ended up with 63 of them in your garage, I’d call you Mike Moyer.

Growing up, Mike’s father was a Mopar® guy. Back then, there weren’t any high-performance cars in their garage, but his dad’s love for HEMI® engine-powered vehicles served as the crucial first step to building the second biggest Dodge Viper collection in the world.

When the Dodge Viper was announced in 1989, Mike’s posters were hung, and his dream ride locked in. Though officially released in 1992, it took him five years to save enough money to buy his first Viper. And so it began, the second largest Viper collection started with a 1993 Dodge Viper. Mike soon realized one Viper was certainly not enough and began saving to purchase the next addition to the collection, a bright yellow Viper with black stripes. The Vipers became more of a personal collection for him rather than an investment for the future. In all the years he has been collecting Vipers, he’s only put one up for sale.

Naturally, one of the biggest challenges for car collectors is figuring out where to store them. Because these are not ordinary cars, they just can’t be left outside. But this task of finding enough space to accommodate high-value, collectible cars wasn’t as much of an issue for Mike as it might have been for others. It’s not because he lives in a mansion with a mega-garage, but rather, the success of Mike’s personal storage business helped him keep his cars in a space well-suited to keep them safe. With this growing personal business that spanned locations, there was never a shortage of spaces to store the cars.

When Mike got connected with Havik Performance in 2014, his collection had already grown to 6 Vipers. Working with a professional shop like Havik Performance gave Mike the comfort of expanding his collection to a whole new level. No joke! In less than a decade, his collection grew by 57 Dodge Vipers!

As the collection rapidly expanded, Mike realized he didn’t want his Vipers scattered about at different places and storage centers. Having cars scattered about proved to make the upkeep and required maintenance too difficult. So, in 2016, Mike built his first 5,000-sq.-ft. garage to consolidate the collection to one location. As soon as the building was finished, it was filled and plans for a second building were quickly underway.

While Mike’s second building was under construction, his collection began to take a turn. Originally, the goal was to have one Viper from each year of production and with a little determination and hard work, that goal was realized. So, a new mission was born, he wanted to start completing collections within collections. He now searches for cars that will complete a run. For example, he has one of every 2010 Final Edition, one of every VooDoo, and he is currently working on acquiring all the Stryker colors – he currently has two out of the four. In addition to his goal of completing collections within his collection, Mike is also after true 1 of 1s and the rarest Vipers of all. A few of the noteworthy 1 of 1s in Mike’s collection are The Defender from the TV show Viper, The McLaren Viper (a $750,000 build), The Frozen Grape and the VCA raffle car.

The most impressive quality of Mike’s collection is that it is a Dodge Viper-only collection AND none of them were purchased from a dealership. Every single Viper was purchased second-hand but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t close to new. Many of them were purchased with very low miles and one, a silver GEN V, only has 4 original miles and still in the wrapper from the factory. When it comes to purchasing Vipers, Mike follows a basic strategy. He works with the understanding that he doesn’t need these cars, a mindset that grants him patience and the ability to wait around for a good deal. Some of Mike’s deals were pending for months or years before closing.

So, what does Mike do with 63 Vipers? He drives them! While some might not get driven often, because of low mileage or other special qualities, for the most part, Mike drives every single one of his cars.

Recently, Mike opened his collection to the public for the first time. The event was a huge success with over 800 people in attendance, including me!

As Mike continues to grow his collection, he realizes he needs to build a third garage. Mike’s goal is to have the biggest Dodge Viper collection in the world – not just in quantity, but in quality, most of all. Mike says it’s been a lot of fun collecting over the years and after the love he receives from his wife, who has always supported his passion, and his family, his Viper collection is his most cherished asset. The Brotherhood of Muscle runs deep in Mike Moyer. And to think, it all began with a single wish to one day own the car from the poster hanging on the wall.

Photo credit: Josh Cole