Maurice “Viperholic” Liang

Founding President
Viper Owners Association (VOA)
Viper Club of America (VCA)
NorCal Viper Club

Maurice Liang has lived, breathed, owned, and documented Vipers for over thirty years. He’s the quintessential Viperholic – heck, he was the first person to coin the phrase – having lived the Viper experience from beginning to end as an owner. Among his many contributions to the Viper world are founding the Northern California Viper Club, founding both national Viper clubs (the Viper Owners Association and the Viper Club of America,) publishing Snake Eyes magazine for 20 years, publishing Viper Quarterly magazine for 10 years, and authoring/publishing four books about Viper.

Liang has been a car enthusiast since he was a child. Like many, he played with Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Corgi Toys, and Dinky Toys. As he grew older, he began building model kits – hundreds of them. By the time Liang was old enough to drive, though, the muscle car era had ended and the dark cloud of government regulations for emissions and safety had choked the life out of performance cars for the next two decades. Perhaps that’s why the siren of the Viper called out so strongly to him when it debuted on the cover of the April 1989 issue of Road and Track magazine. Here was a car that combined the torque and acceleration of the classic 1970 Dodge Challengers he owned with the European sports car handling of his Porsche – all rolled up in a voluptuous body that was sex on wheels. With no roof or side windows, it was so impractical that only true car enthusiasts would own one – no poseurs here. As he wrote in his book, 25 Years of Viper Hisssstory, “There are three times in my life when I remember the exact moment I fell in love: Once, when I looked into my girlfriend’s eyes at the start/finish line at Laguna Seca. Once, when I first met my cat and she hopped onto the bed and curled up in my arms. And once, when I first saw the Viper RT/10 concept car on the cover of the April 1989 issue of Road and Track magazine. Between the mailbox and the front door, I fell in love. As I came through the front door, I announced to my (future) wife that if they built this car, I would buy it.” Like many, he wrote to Chrysler president Bob Lutz, begging him to put the Viper into production. Liang waited with baited breath, collecting and reading everything he could find about Vipers. His collection of Viper memorabilia (or Viperabilia as he calls it) is second-to-none. Three years later, in 1992, when the Viper debuted and Dodge opened the order books, he placed his order for an RT/10. It took an excruciatingly long 16 months for Dodge to build his Viper, but it was worth the wait.

His Viper arrived in mid-1993. In early 1994, he sent out invitations to Viper owners through local San Francisco Bay Area Dodge dealers, inviting them to a party at the Blackhawk museum in Danville, CA. Fourteen Vipers showed up for that first gathering on May 22, 1994. It was the largest gathering of Vipers outside the factory up to that point. Attendees hit it off and agreed they’d enjoy meeting every so often, so Liang started the Northern California Viper Club, where he served as president for 20 years. Over the years, Liang created many “firsts” for the club, such as visiting Chrysler’s Arizona Proving Grounds where club members were able to “test” a Viper on the skid pad, visits to the Viper plant in Detroit, romantic weekend getaways, and club dinners with the Viper race team. That same year, he attended the first Viper Owners Invitational (VOI) hosted by Dodge in Detroit. Having already established a relationship with Dodge marketing, Liang invited Viper marketing manager Ron Smith to visit Northern California for two weeks to scout out locations for the second VOI. After spending two weeks together, Smith agreed to host the next VOI in Monterey, California. He also accepted Liang’s proposal to kick off a national Viper club which could act as a conduit between the factory and the owners.

In May 1995, Liang and Illinois club president Steve Ferguson held a kickoff meeting in Detroit. Fourteen Viper enthusiasts from around the country attended. So did Dodge Marketing and Chrysler president Bob Lutz! At the conclusion of the meeting, the group launched the Viper Club of America (VCA) and elected Maurice Liang as president and Steve Ferguson as vice president. Liang continued to blaze new trails, establishing club benefits such as a special finance program through Chrysler Financial with preferred rates for club members who were purchasing the 1996 GTS coupe, club presidents’ meetings to preview the next VOI, and classroom training for new VCA presidents. The NorCal club became the Northern California Region of VCA. Although an electrical engineer by education and a Director of Marketing at Hewlett-Packard by profession, it was his photography and writing hobbies which led him to publish Snake Eyes, the Northern California Viper club’s magazine for 20 years. Snake Eyes led him to publish Viper calendars in both the office-safe “White Edition” and the infamous mancave pinup calendar, dubbed the “Black Edition.” His work has appeared in other publications as well, such as Autoweek, Automotive News, Car and Driver, The Star, and even Dodge’s factory Viper brochures. In 2004, he published his first book, the Viper Buyers Guide, through Motorbooks International. In 2012, when Chrysler made the decision to build the Gen V Viper, then SRT President and CEO Ralph Gilles hired Liang to document the development of the new car for a book. For two years, Liang shadowed the development team as they designed, engineered, tested, and manufactured the new Viper. Thanks to Gilles’ support, Liang was able to take his camera places within Chrysler where no one had ever been able to before or has since. While most “behind the scenes” books are created after the fact, this book documented the development of the car as it happened. Two versions of the book entitled SRT Viper – America’s Supercar Returns were published; a “trade version,” which was sold in book stores, and a leather-bound boxed edition containing additional content, given to first customers of the Gen V Viper.

Liang was always dismayed when he visited the Walter P Chrysler museum and saw the Viper relegated to a dark corner in the basement. Arguably the most iconic car in Chrysler’s history, Liang was determined to elevate its status in the museum. In 2012, Liang spearheaded a project to create the Viper Café exhibit. The café, funded entirely by fellow Viper enthusiasts, featured displays of memorabilia from his private collection as well as various Vipers from Chrysler’s collection. It was used as an actual café during corporate and private events hosted at the museum until the museum itself closed.

In 2013, Liang was unceremoniously kicked out of the club (VCA) he founded for trying to straighten out some questionable practices that were going on within the national club. The club was his baby, and you don’t mess with him when it comes to his baby. So, in 2014, with the help of another Illinois president, Alex Ristanovic, he rallied the support of 34 of the 36 VCA regions and SRT and formed Viper club 2.0 – the Viper Owners Association. It was déjà vu all over again as Liang was elected as president and another Illinois president, Alex Ristanovic, was elected as vice president. Liang orchestrated VOA’s first and second National Viper Events (NVEs) and blazed more trails by becoming the first car club to give away a brand new Viper as a door prize at both events. Tickets were limited to one per attendee, so the odds of winning were pretty good at 1/500, or 1/250 if you came as a couple! Liang has served as editor and publisher of Viper Quarterly, the award-winning club magazine for the Viper Owners Association, since 2014, and continues to do so today.

After Viper production ended in 2017, Liang felt it was time to document the entire history of Viper in one book and self-published the book 25 Years of Viper Hisssstory. Thanks to his decades-long documentation of everything Viper, Liang has amassed the largest and most complete photographic library of Viper, anywhere. This library enabled him to thoroughly document all aspects of the Viper throughout its 25 year life, not only with words, but with photos as well. What differentiates his writing from most is Liang writes from an owner’s perspective, having lived the Viper ownership experience for its entire life. Liang has owned four Vipers; a red ’93 RT/10, a blue/white ’96 GTS, which he still owns, and a Snakeskin Green ’08 SRT-10 coupe. His latest acquisition is an original Defender body from the 1990’s TV show, Viper, which he plans to turn into a street-legal, drivable Defender with working gadgets using a 1994 RT/10 for the donor chassis/powertrain.

In 2024, the NorCal Viper Club celebrated their 30 th anniversary at the Blackhawk museum, where it all began. Simultaneously, the national VOA also celebrated its 10 th anniversary. Liang says, “I am lucky and privileged to have lived the Viper experience firsthand. I’ve had some incredible experiences and met so many interesting people, all because of this spectacular car. I can’t even imagine what my life would have been without Viper. It’s been an amazing ride. Passion will drive you to go beyond the norm, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my Viper experience, it’s follow your passion. It will reward you with experiences beyond your wildest imagination.” Liang lives in Northern California with his three Vipers and many rabbits.