The Strange Feature Of The Original Viper's Headlights You Probably Wouldn't Notice

The original Dodge Viper is a barebones performance car with bonkers performance and a few noticeable quirks. For starters, it has a ridiculously long hood to hide an 8.0-liter V10 underneath. The Viper engineering team delivered a nearly perfect 50/50 front and rear weight distribution despite the V10 weighing over 600 pounds. Because of this, two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fitipaldi, who took part in designing the first-gen Viper, said driving it "is as close as you can get to driving a race car on the street."

In addition, the Viper has no cupholders as per orders from top brass Lee Iaccoca, who back then had an issue with Road & Track magazine about a silly award. However, the Viper is possibly the only production car with a strange feature in the headlights: a small object protruding outward into the housing. Despite what some others may say, these protruding liquid-filled chambers in the first and second-gen Viper's headlights don't contain blinker fluid, nor do they have anything to do with the bulbs in the headlight housings.

What is the yellow liquid-filled bulb inside the Viper's headlights?

Thanks to YouTuber and car enthusiast Four Eyes, we know the truth behind those protruding, liquid-filled bulbs inside the Viper's headlights. In an interview, Viper chief engineer Roy Sjoberg revealed that those yellow bulbs are nothing more than a bubble level, the same tool carpenters and DIYers use when hanging wall portraits.

However, Sjoberg initially wanted to get rid of those bubble levels, explaining, "The bubble is silly. We'll remove it." However, there was a price to pay in doing so, literally. "Manufacturing wanted $1.50 for each headlight to remove the bubble, and I said, 'Screw that. Leave the bubble on.'" Another interesting fact is the Viper's headlights were initially designed for the BMW Z1, an odd sports car with many cool features despite being one of BMW's biggest flops, though they ultimately were never used with that model.

"Those headlights came from BMW, their Z1, which never made it to the United States," added Sjoberg. Industrial giant General Electric (GE), the manufacturer of the Z1's headlights, stuck with the headlight design (and the bubble) after BMW said no and abandoned the design. Dodge benefitted from BMW's decision. "I got the whole headlight system for free, and I got a developed design that we could fit onto the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Viper, and it came with the bubble," said Sjoberg. Chrysler engineers successfully integrated the Bimmer's headlights into the Viper's aggressive yet timeless body shape, and the bubble-level component remained simply to save a bit of money.