Runge returns to Jay Leno’s Garage with Dodge Viper-based Veleno

Runge is a Minnesota company that churns out unique cars using the same techniques of coachbuilders of the first half of the past century. We’re talking individual body panels all hammered and rolled into shape by hand, with nothing but a wire-frame buck as a guide.

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.

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, failing that, Runge decided to do it the old way, by making a frame for later metal working.

Runge uses aluminum for its cars, and the metal body is actually lighter than the original fiberglass body of the Viper by about 250 pounds. The company also created its own wheels and the lenses for the headlights, and the interior is also fully custom.

The V-10 powertrain is mostly stock, though Runge dressed up the engine by adding polished elements, including new 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 a 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.

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