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.