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Dodge Viper

Dodge Viper Published: 3rd Aug 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Dodge Viper
Dodge Viper
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Dodge Viper

IN BRIEF

It started out as a dream car, a styling exercise to do a reborn Cobra. Then suddenly Chrysler announced they were going to build the Dodge Viper. They combined an eight-litre 400bhp petrol V10 engine designed for a truck with a wildly sculptured fibreglass body and a bespoke chassis with no electronic driver aids. The Viper got faster and more powerful with every new generation and proved that nothing succeeds like excess.

TIMELINES

1991 Viper RT/10 launched with 400bhp, Lamborghini-designed V10 engine.

1995 The Phase II Viper arrives, exhausts exit at the rear. GTS coupé now available.

1996 The GTS gets airbags, electric windows and air conditioning. Engine now puts out 450bhp. Body stripes now an option.

1997 The RT/10 model gets the GTS 450bhp engine.

2001 Anti-lock brakes introduced.

2002 Third generation SRT-10 unveiled, redesigned body, improved chassis and 506ci (8.3-litre) 500bhp V10.

2005 510bhp SRT-10 Coupé goes on sale, styled much like previous GTS model it uses previous car’s heavier chassis.

2008 The fourth generation Viper has speed-sensing limited slip differential to cope with its 600bhp V10, reaches 60mph in 3.6 seconds and 100mph in 7.6 secs.

2010 Production ends, until fifth generation Viper unveiled in 2012.

DRIVING

As might be expected the Viper can be a handful, especially for unskilled drivers. There’s hefty torque in every gear and very little to stop it going sideways – take extreme care in the rain. These are quick cars and owners will explain you need to respect the power. Keep in mind that even driving sensibly the Viper gets around 14 miles to a gallon and only takes expensive super unleaded. The suspension makes for a firm ride on anything but the smoothest of surfaces.

BEST MODELS

The second and third generation Vipers were sold in Europe. On a practical note, the GTS offers more boot space although as most Vipers in the UK are convertibles you may find it hard to unearth a coupé.

The 2000 Viper no longer had forged pistons, some find this the least desirable model year since it also lacks the ABS of the 2001-2002 cars.

Dodge built 360 ‘Final Edition’ Vipers (326 coupés and 34 ACR editions) in 2002 to commemorate the final year. These are painted red with white stripes.

VALUES

The cheapest Vipers that we could find in the UK were a 1992 RT/10 for £21,500 and a 1994 convertible for £30,000, which when you consider its rarity isn’t bad value at all. We also spotted a 2002 RT/10 for £34,000, a 2002 GTS asking £47,500 and a 2008 SRT/10 offered for £69,000.

BUYING ADVICE

Decent tyres are absolutely vital of course so check their condition – prices start at £165, rising to £270 each for Michelins – don’t fit cheap ones and watch welded rims on early cars as they can crack.

Interiors wear on Vipers that get regular use, check seat condition – especially the driver’s on the outer edge, door panels also pick up scuffs. Side mounted exhausts, wheel rims and door corners can all be damaged by kerbs.

The one-piece bonnet is large and prone to damage (track day mishaps?) – check carefully because it’s around £3000 and up to replace. Bushes wear plus gearboxes and rear axles can get problematic if abused. RT/10 engines can pop head gaskets, too and the original plastic power steering pulley may need replacing while there was a recall on steering brackets. VIN can be verified at http://www.theviperregistry.org/vin.php.



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