By on July 11, 2009

This week’s YSE (Your Shitty Economy) Car of the Week: the 1997 Dodge Viper GTS. The recently reprieved snake is the epitome of unrefined excess. From the moment you turn the key, you know the folks in the NVH department were banned from the building. Starter button? Ha! Enter “Viper interior” on Google and the word “upgrades” appears automatically. And no wonder. For north of $80,000, Viper buyers are immersed in a sea of plastic fantastic—minus the fantastic. Even so, the cabin’s simplicity reflects the Viper’s sole purpose: to smoke enough rubber to make Corvette drivers limp with envy. With its V10 engine, harsh ride, gas-gulping fuel economy (10 mpg), hot exhaust and luke-warm A/C, the Viper is about as much of a daily driver as a cement mixer (to which the idling engine offers more than a passing aural similarity). Something for the weekend? In this economy, this 450hp, brake-challenged (upgrade that!), V-10 powered monster is yours for only $29,000.

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51 Comments on “YSE Car of the Week: 1997 Dodge Viper GTS...”


  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Holding on to 36% of its original value over more than ten years is pretty impressive, I would have thought a Viper would depreciate more.

    While you have to be wary of how previous owners drove used cars in general, with performance vehicles like this, it is almost garaunteed that it was flogged and abused, so that makes me question the value proposition of a 12 year old Dodge for nearly $30K.

    By the time you put away $10 – $20 thousand for future repairs and upkeep you are in the territory of buying a brand new Corvette or GT500, which, while maybe losing a few percentage points in all out performance, will have more panache than a 12 year old car, and a lot less headaches.

  • avatar
    commando1

    Vipers will be the car to watch in the future.
    Their huge depreciation matched only by Daiwoo (sp? they died before I learned how to spell it) will make them a bargain for cheap thrills.
    I know Corvette owners who have one just to use and abuse and then go home to Zaino their C6.
    This the rented mule you can beat on with no regrets. Plus you can modify them all you want and get no disapproving looks from any purists.
    I want a coupe to thrash the %^$# out of. Then after it’s trash, stuff the V10 into a Wrangler. Yee-haaaaaaaaa!!!

  • avatar
    IGB

    Why the hate on these cars?

    A massive engine in a great looking coupe with a cheap interior built for one thing only. I have to wipe the drool from my chin every time I see one.

    I’ve driven a couple of newer coupes and they’re not bad at all. They have phenomenal power. They handle surprisingly well. In terms of comfort, getting back into my S2000…not so different. Mileage? Do we measure that in a car like this? Why do we become Prius owners when we measure these super cars?

    I love what the Viper stands for. It’s a great package, put together by car guys for car guys. There are plenty of reasons to hate Chrysler and company, but this isn’t one of them.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    One of the magazines, I think Car and Driver, did a used car review of the first generation Viper a couple years ago, and there were a number of significant reliability issues.

    The car was significantly refresed for 1996, so some of those may have been fixed.

  • avatar
    Viceroy_Fizzlebottom

    Used Vipers are getting to the price range where a momentary lapse of reason leaves you driving away with one.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    I had the misfortune of driving one of these while I worked in a shop during college. I was surprised at how poorly the thing handled.

    It felt like it wandered all over the road. It seems like the suspension was not up to the task of taming all the power and the huge rubber on the car.

    Huge power, terrible ride quality and handling, poor build quality, odd sounding exhaust from one side of the car due to only hearing 5 of the cylinders – on balance – a tire smoking machine and not much more.

    There are better ways to spend $30,000. You can buy a new Challenger with a hemi (not the SRT model though) for similar coin – and I think it looks better than the Viper.

    -ted

    P.S. – I believe the 97 model also was subject to a steering and frame recall. I just saw a viper at my local dodge dealer being cut up by a guy with an air griding wheel. He said the frames crack under certain “high-load” conditions and the frame needs to be strengthened to prevent frame failure.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Of course, the Viper’s V10 and 6 speed manual can be had for under $20,000, in a much newer vehicle, if you don’t mind a pickup truck:

    http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/searchresults.jsp?num_records=25&search_lang=en&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&search_type=both&distance=0&address=60606&marketZipError=false&style_flag=1&make=DODGE&model=RAMSRT10&make2=&start_year=2000&end_year=2010&min_price=10&max_price=20000&seller_type=b&transmission=&engine=&drive=&doors=&fuel=&max_mileage=&color=&keywordsrep=&keywordsfyc=&keywords_display=&sort_type=priceASC&body_code=0&certified=&advanced=y&highlightFirstMakeModel=&showZipError=n&default_sort=priceASC&awsp=false&systime=&rdm=1247328582248

  • avatar
    rmwill

    The Viper haters love VW’s

    I have never seen a hairdresser driving a Viper, but a have seen a Viper driving a hairdresser :)

    If you think the Viper doesent handle, you need some driving school track time.

  • avatar
    venator

    no_slushbox, not the same engine.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    NulloModo :

    No Vette or Mustang has anywhere near the “panache” of any Viper, with the exception of maybe a classic C1 or C2. And this is coming from a C6 owner. The Viper is just on another level

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    thetopdog – I would agree if we were talking current model to current model, but 12 year old Viper to current Vette or GT500, the new ones win hands down.

    A 1997 Viper is like a previous gen M5, SL AMG, or original ZR-1. You appreciate that the owner has some taste and owns a rarefied piece of hardware, but you still think ‘he must have gotten a nice deal on that second hand’. I’d say only a very few vehicles hold their status over more than a decade, and most of those would be from exotic manufacturers like Ferrari, Lotus, Aston Martin, or Lamborghini.

  • avatar
    tauronmaikar

    I will buy one when it drops to $290

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    NulloModo :

    I would argue that a Viper is an exotic. It has always looked modern, and I would be willing to bet that 9/10 people that saw a 97 Viper would have no idea if it was 12 years old, or 1 year old. The previous Gen M5, SL and C4 ZR1 just look old, the Viper’s styling has always been ahead of its time. Plus the new ones don’t look all that different from the older ones

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Wow…. So much mis-information here I don’t know where to start. So let me at least begin with ‘The Truth’. 1997 Dodge Viper MPG/EPA – 13 city/21 Highway. For an underrated 450HP/490Torque motor of ANY size (Really around 500HP/550Torque according to many dyno tests), that mileage is pretty impressive. And I can confirm these figures are accurate. Please enlighten me of another car from this era that could do the same MPG at near those HP/Torque levels… Lambo, not even close. Aston, not even close. Ferrari, not even close. But like another poster said, debating gas mileage in these type of cars is moronic at best. Although I wanted to be sure ‘The Truth’ was told…

    I will need at least another couple hours to dispel all the over mis-information in some of the responses… Oh, screw it… Let people believe what they want….

    BTW – Comparing ANYTHING that Dodge/Chrysler makes to the Viper is laughable… These cars are track weapons IN THE RIGHT HANDS. With only a slightly modified suspension/frame, here are this generations Viper’s racing victories over the years:

    2001 FIA GT Championship – GT1 Drivers, won by Christophe Bouchut & Jean-Philippe Belloc
    2001 FIA GT Championship – GT1 Teams, won by Larbre Competition
    2001 FFSA GT Championship – won by D. Dupuy & F. Fiat
    2001 24 hours of Nurburgring – Overall victory, won by Peter Zakowski, M. Bartels & P. Lamy
    2001 Spa 24 Hours – won by C. Bouchut, J.P. Belloc & M. Duez
    2001 1000km of Fuji Endurance Race
    2001 Belcar Championship – won by Team GLPK
    2001 Swedish GTR Championship – won by Team OKA Racing
    2000 FFSA GT Championship – won by D. Dupuy & F. Fiat
    2000 Grand-Am – GT2 Class Champion
    2000 24 Hours of Daytona – Overall victory
    2000 American Le Mans Series – Class Champion, Team Oreca
    2000 24 Hours of Le Mans – GTS Class 1st and 2nd place, won by team Oreca
    1999 FIA GT Championship – Drivers, won by Olivier Beretta & Karl Wendlinger
    1999 FIA GT Championship – Teams, won by Viper Team Oreca
    1999 24 Hours of Le Mans – GTS Class 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes, won by Team Oreca
    1999 American Le Mans Series – Class Champion, Team Oreca
    1999 VLN German Championship Series – Won every race of season (10/10), Team Zakspeed
    1999 24 hours of Nurburgring – Overall victory, won by Peter Zakowski, H.J. Tiemann, K. Ludwig & M. Duez
    1998 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Drivers, won by Olivier Beretta & Pedro Lamy
    1998 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Teams, won by Viper Team Oreca
    1998 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 Class 1st and 2nd , won by Team Oreca, First series production based American car to win at Le Mans
    1997 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Drivers, won by Justin Bell
    1997 FIA GT Championship – GT2 Teams, won by Viper Team Oreca

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    For some reason, there are a lot of ‘Haters’ when it comes to the Viper. Especially since it shut all the Euro-snobs up with a record setting 7:22 at the ‘Ring. AFTER 4 MEASLY LAPS!!! And that’s fine by me…. I’d like to pick up a second as these cars are going to be worth a fortune in 15+ years… Limited production, huge motor, dominating performance… Kind of reminds me of the 60’s Shelby Cobra/Daytona Coupe, which was its inspiration.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    venator:

    Up until 2003 Dodge did use a heavy duty V10 in the 2500 and 3500 Rams, and it was not the same engine that the Viper had. This is probably what is confusing you.

    However, the Dodge Ram SRT-10, which came out in 2004, used the exact same engine as the Viper.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Ram_SRT-10

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    onerareviper :

    There are a lot of Viper haters. I think the Viper intimidates some people, people who don’t think they would be able to handle the performance and/or wouldn’t want to live with the compromises a Viper requires. Some people are just mad that the Viper is faster and cheaper than their favorite supercar. Some just lack testosterone ;) Of course, some of these guys aren’t performance car enthusiasts either

    I’m a Vette driver, but I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Viper, it is an incredible car, it performs its mission (to go fast and look good doing it) better than anything else in its price range, and the world is a better place because the Viper is in it

  • avatar

    I drove the Viper a few years after it came out. I’m no stranger to high performance cars, but it was too much for me to handle. In other words, it scared the shit out of me.

    Respect to those who can tame this beast.

    As to whether or not ChryCo should build it, I say no. But then my position on halo cars is no secret to our regular readers. And now that it’s MY money in THEIR bank account, I say anything that doesn’t can’t make them mountains of money should be terminated NOW.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Hmmm
    Maybe its me…
    But when the car came out in 93 – 94.. it h ad to be the best damn car for the money.

    I believe then it was about 50-60g…

    And for that ya get a V10, a grey interior, side exhaust and hot sills.. no top and the ability to smoke tires.. FOR THE HELL OF IT.

    I think its an awesome car.. because its BASIC!!!!!

    This is a rip roaring mothaflecker of a car.

    No radio needed.
    No push button start needed.
    No top needed.
    Ya didnt need a nav system.
    Ya didnt need wipers
    Shit… this is a basic fundamentally fantastic car.
    I think its the only one where I can say being basic and grey plastic fantastic is a good thing.

    Im also insulted.. that the germans tamed the hood.. and turned it into the shit that it is now. It used to be a 10g hood.. with compound curves. It used to look like nothing else on the road. Red / black or Yellow with black plastic trim pieces.

    Im offended that the fuckin germans took this car.. AND WUSSED IT UP.

    It doesnt need.. CONVENIENCE FEATURES.
    It doesnt need cup holders.
    It doesnt need mufflers
    It doesnt need A AUTOMATIC.
    It doesnt even need windows or wipers.

    This is a car.. to beat the shit out of a Vette with.

    Basic
    POWERFUL
    Unique to look at.

    Its a EAT SHIT and DIE car.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Especially since it shut all the Euro-snobs up with a record setting 7:22 at the ‘Ring. AFTER 4 MEASLY LAPS!!! And that’s fine by me….

    Really? Fine by you, but you seem so precious about it.

    I guess that special edition ACR Viper didn’t look too good when the Radical SR8 came and did a sub-7 lap. Oh well.

    A car that goes fast in straight lines or “races” on ovals isn’t impressive, but you can near guarantee that it IS from America. Dumb brawn.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    I think the Viper intimidates some people, people who don’t think they would be able to handle the performance and/or wouldn’t want to live with the compromises a Viper requires. Some people are just mad that the Viper is faster and cheaper than their favorite supercar.

    “Handle the performance”? How is unruly primitive engineering standard a feature?

    These cars are track weapons IN THE RIGHT HANDS. With only a slightly modified suspension/frame, here are this generations Viper’s racing victories over the years:

    “Slightly modified”? The viper gts-r are full race build cars. So a special built viper goes maybe 1% faster than a special built other car because some european dudes were good at taking advantage of its basic characteristics.

    As to the ACR: the secret in going fast around a track without strict rules is a lot of power and a lot of tire. The trick to making it into a production car is to get rubes to buy into that brand of overkill. It’s not exactly a coincidence the viper seems essentially a tuner car since chrysler never spent the effort to fully develop it. Compare that with the Nissan GT-R, it’s like a $20 hamburger vs. a proper 3 course meal.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Ok, to be fair, fun cars are supposed to be fun. So if people like this, then whatever, but there’s no more to the viper than meets the eye. It’s the 2×4 with a nail in it of melee weapons.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Again, people are failing to understand the point of the car. Comparing it to a Radical SR8? Please! A Viper isn’t practical, but a Radical SR8 makes a Viper look like a Honda Odyssey in comparison. If a GTR is a “proper 3 course meal” why is it slower than an ACR? What’s so “proper” about being slow?

    When i say people can’t “handle the performance” I mean they can’t drive a 600hp+ RWD car with limited electronic nannies without killing themselves. Which is fine, but it’s not “primitive” just because the car doesn’t drive itself. “Primitive” or not, the performance speaks for itself

  • avatar
    agenthex

    If a GTR is a “proper 3 course meal” why is it slower than an ACR?

    Perhaps it’s not as calorie rich (and really only slightly), but it’s a better product.

    When i say people can’t “handle the performance” I mean they can’t drive a 600hp+ RWD car with limited electronic nannies without killing themselves.

    So are you claiming Vipers are all bought by superior drivers or pretentious wannabes who like to think they are?

    Look, these types of production cars, like lambo/ferrari on the high end, and corvettes on the low end, are mostly purchased to show off and project an image, even if only to oneself. If the viper gets you off, that’s fine, but living vicariously through a car seems a bit overboard.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    PeteMoron,

    Are you serious, or just pulling my chain? Trying to compare ANY production car to a Radical SR8 is ludicrous! If I have to explain why, well then my responses to your posts are an utter waste of time. I know it’s hard for you to read, but no matter how much it hurts, the Viper ACR holds the PRODUCTION record at the ‘Ring.

    You are obviously either A.) a troll trying to yank my chain B.) a Euro-snob that is jealous of the record setting laps on your precious track.

    Anyway, American can’t handle, right? They can only go in a straight line or oval, right? Yet the uber-track that all Euro cars are measured, the ‘Ring, is conquered by performance oriented American Iron. Hmmmm…. Interesting…. You can’t have it both ways…

    Let me introduce a few other American friends I’m sure you feel are inferior to the European competition – The 4-door sub 8 minute ‘Ring record holder Cadillac CTS-V, The $20,000 (Yes, $20,000!!!) 8:22 ‘Ring time of the Cobalt SS, and the 7:26 Corvette ZR1. Your opinion of American cars is OUTDATED. If you want to purchase an American car that handles, you can. If you want an air cushioned ride on a cloud of cotton that feels no pothole, you can buy that as well. But to lump all American products into straight line junk shows your lack of ‘The Truth’.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    agenthex,

    So are you claiming Vipers are all bought by superior drivers or pretentious wannabes who like to think they are?

    Come on man, how many Viper owners do you know? Probably not many… On the other hand, I’ve got to know hundreds over the past 8 years. Yes, there are a few that like to wax and take pictures. Just like any other make. But there are far more that love to drive the car, and develop there driving skills where ‘the driver’ is the only limitation. A car that will point out a flaw in technique, but reward you in spades when you master that technique. A Viper WILL make you a better driver, if you listen to what it’s telling you. Nothing is filtered. And that is EXACTLY what the so-called ‘typical’ Viper owner demands… And loves about the car. This is the EXACT reason most Viper owners look at the GTR as robotic and boring. Does this mean the GTR is a ‘POS’ car? Of course not, but it is not one they crave. Just as you don’t crave the Viper, and prefer the silicon assistance. That’s AOK! Both are great cars IMHO that achieve greatness in very different ways.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    The FIA Production car definition is 25, so the Donkervoort D8 GT for which they’ve made more the 80 qualifies and it’s lap time was ~7m14s.

    Which way do you want it?

    The early Vipers are jokes, as the 1997 example is. They appeal to the same people that think Harley Davidsons (Massey Davidson, Harley Ferguson) are worthy motorbikes. Dumb brawn.

    The ACR is a fine evolution but wow!, how hard did they have to try to get there?

    I’ll have a Turbo 911 thanks or a GT-R. Seems many more people agree given the woeful Viper sales. Or perhaps they just wanna go round corners as well.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    The Viper goes around corners. Independent short-long-arm suspension with coil-over-shocks on all four corners will do that.

    It’s the same suspension design that F1 cars use, other than inboard shocks to keep the shocks out of the wind on open wheel F1 cars.

    If a European cottage manufacturer made something like the Viper, except for twice the money, no coponent reliability testing, and no warranty, the critics would love it.

  • avatar
    h82w8

    Driving a wild animal of a car like the Viper, one should expect to have all of one’s senses assaulted in a “it hurts so good” kind of way. Vipers dish out a masochistic sensual assault in spades, except for one — sound.

    You have to be a Divco milk truck nut to actually like the thin, industrially un-sonorous “farting in a coffee can” brrraaap the big Dodge V10 emits. But I could easily live with this particular shortcoming given the prices used Vipers go for these days.

    Whether or not the Viper lives, its single-purpose, raw-edge design ethos unchanged since birth, and bona fide world-wide racing pedigree have earned it a prominent spot in the ranks of all-time real-deal, bad-ass “kill-you-if-you-fuck-it-up” cars. Right up there with the original Shelby AC Cobra, in my view. Except for the pitiful exhaust note.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    agenthex :

    Viper owners may not be superior drivers, but most of them are drivers that at the very least hope to refine their driving skills to the point where they can ‘tame the beast’ instead of the beast killing them. When I bought my Vette, I had never driven anything close to a 400hp RWD car, but I wanted to step up to the challenge, and now i can drive that thing in rain, sleet and even snow (it’s my only car and I live in Boston) without issue. There are a lot of guys out there that want a car like a Viper or Vette to show off (and really, what’s wrong with that?) but there are a lot out there that want a the best-performing car they can get for their money, and the Viper and Vette both fit the description.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    But there are far more that love to drive the car, and develop there driving skills where ‘the driver’ is the only limitation. A car that will point out a flaw in technique, but reward you in spades when you master that technique. A Viper WILL make you a better driver, if you listen to what it’s telling you. Nothing is filtered.

    In a daily car miata or similar will make you a better driver because you can actually push the limit without traveling at go-directly-to-jail illegal (and let’s face it, practically impossible) speeds.

    What I’ve said before about hwy racing as the only place it’ll shine is absolutely true.

    In a track car, driving something with poor characteristics at the limit, especially when it’s overpowered, will only encourage worse technique.

    It’s a discrete brake-turn-throttle kind of vehicle. Pretending to be macho about it doesn’t change the inherently dull characteristics of the drive. Yes you heard that right. Only wannabe racers are impressed with such poor dynamics.

    The Viper goes around corners. Independent short-long-arm suspension with coil-over-shocks on all four corners will do that.

    It’s the same suspension design that F1 cars use, other than inboard shocks to keep the shocks out of the wind on open wheel F1 cars.

    OMG, just like an F1 car. Lulz.

    There are a lot of guys out there that want a car like a Viper or Vette to show off (and really, what’s wrong with that?) but there are a lot out there that want a the best-performing car they can get for their money,

    Neither are really “best performing” at anything except very limited situations. If anything, a track like the ring is perfect for their type of performance, only there’s only a few of those in the world.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    agenthex:

    OMG, just like an F1 car. Lulz.

    Am I wrong? Does the Viper not use an SLA suspension setup? Do F1 cars not use an SLA suspension setup? I said the same design, not “just like”. Work on the reading comprehension.

    The Viper does not have a live rear axle (which is, I’ve heard, “just like” an ox cart), the feature that makes some people think that American cars cannot turn. The Viper has the same suspension design as an F1 car, a Ferrari, a Corvette, an Lotus Elise or a Miata.

    A lot of accomplished drivers, including TTAC’s Jack Baruth, are very fond of the Viper. I’ve never driven one. Have you?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Am I wrong? Does the Viper not use an SLA suspension setup? Do F1 cars not use an SLA suspension setup? I said the same design, not “just like”. Work on the reading comprehension.

    Yes, it must be that Honda racing technology trickling down into their F1 replica for the streets, the almighty Civic. Those ricers aren’t kidding when they think they’ve got a race car in their hands; and it’s not just any race car, but F1!!!

    The viper is one of more potent expressions of automotive male enhancement. Ok, we get it, you’re a hardass. In many ways Vipers are sort of the American pre-audi lambo, except lambo owners just accept what comes with the territory and don’t have this inferiority complex about the unruly manners of their car.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    A lot of accomplished drivers, including TTAC’s Jack Baruth, are very fond of the Viper. I’ve never driven one. Have you?

    I’ve driven and been in some fast cars, some better in corners than other, and really don’t see the benefit of tricky handling close to the limit. Advertising crude handling as somehow a feature is kind of idiotic.

    The same thing annoys me about porsche and the GT-R. The nissan gets bashed for being too clinical. Well clinical means fast; so fast that porsche and their base of euro fanbois have to resort to lying and faking competitor’s times to save face.

    It would be pretty hilarous if porsche would soon have to market the 911 in the same way that the viper is now:

    The GT2!
    1. More power!
    2. Bigger tires!
    3. Worse handling!

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    agenthex,

    I’ve read many of you post, and you continually put down people that own Viper/Lambo/Corvette etc…

    My personality has not changed in the past 10 years for the most part, yet I have owned everything from a 88HP Hyundai to a 500HP Viper. And 10+ cars in between. To be honest, you sound like someone that is jealous of people ‘whom YOU perceive’ have more… A car does not make the man.

    Here’s the bottom line no matter how you try to spin it, since we are talking about PERFORMANCE cars…. On the track or any measure of performance, the Viper ACR DESTROYS the GTR. Yes, DESTROYS. Other than the lap Nissan put together after MONTHS of testing at the ‘Ring, no independent testing has shown these cars to be even close. Other than maybe one or two 0-60 times where the GTR has the benefit of AWD and the famous ‘It’s there but don’t dare use it’ launch control. Disable the ‘$20,000 to repair tranny’ launch control, and even 0-60 is no match for the Viper. Why do these facts bother you sooooo much?

    Also, you mention the Viper is tricky at the limit… This is soooo ‘old-hat’ and really describes the way older models were ‘sometimes’ described. Not to mention even in these 7-17 years old models, a mere tire swap corrected this issue. I suggest you read up on the latest reviews of the Gen IV. Most (if not all) reviewers that have been licensed racers have said ‘how balanced’ (near perfect 50/50 weight distribution) and ‘PREDICATABLE‘ the Viper is…. Again, it seems you don’t want to acknowledge these facts due to some ‘insecurity’ issue. Not to mention you’re stating things ‘as they are fact’, yet you’ve never even driven a Viper. Why? You seem to have a ‘bone-to-pick’ with anyone that owns a car ‘you feel’ is not to your mystical standard.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    h82w8,

    Vipers dish out a masochistic sensual assault in spades, except for one — sound.

    I agree 100%. The OEM exhaust note is not very good. But, it can go from dud-to-stud by swapping to a Corsa exhaust. It’s $2,000 an owner should not have to spend, but at least it’s correctable. And you gain another 20HP with the swap. Not sure why Dodge can’t get it right from the factory, although the latest generation (Gen IV) is much better than the previous. I’d still get a Corsa, though, as they sound great with this setup.

    Here’s an example of a stock Gen II with a Corsa exhaust. I don’t dig the ‘racing thru traffic’, but it is the best example I could find to sample a Corsa exhaust.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    I haven’t driven a Viper either – I’d rather stick pins in my eyes. It’s my opinion.

    I’ve followed a few on track, yes the SRT10 included, driven by drivers I respect, and they look like an understeer handful.

    When I’m home in Australia and at my local track, it’s child’s play to sneak inside the SRT10 driver when he is; i) surprised by the understeer destroyed fronts, OR ii) his faded brakes. It’s also the subject of much hilarity when they oversteer themselves 180 degrees off track OR, destroy the rears. As you say, older Vipers, even worse (or should that be more hilarious?).

    The driver’s seem to enjoy it – good luck to them. It’s possible that only they understand why they do it, but I suspect they’re raving mad.

    You expect that somehow myself or Agenthex “should” enjoy the rawness or the “masculinity” or whatever other carp excuse you like. Personally, if I want to frighten myself, I take my rally car out between the trees on gravel.

    Otherwise, I prefer to enjoy a balanced but precise track machine; Caterham, M3, MX-5/Miata, 911 GT3, Mini, WRX or just about anything without a push-rod lump up front. If I could get my hands on a GT-R, I wouldn’t hesitate.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Seriously, that is lame and shows your immaturity. Judging someone’s personality by the car they drive (unless for entertainment purposes ‘ala Clarkson), is pretty pathetic and childish.

    If you read the comments, I specifically criticized the design goals of the car. Unfortunately, it seems their owners seem to live through their possessions such that they think it’s a personal thing.

    On the track or any measure of performance, the Viper ACR DESTROYS the GTR.

    It’s marginally faster and it really should be much better given massive power and tire advantages. Also note we’re still comparing the top performance versions of other cars against the normal GT-R, there’s a v-spec or whatever coming soon.

    As for the ring time, road and track did a test of a dozen high performance cars where they brought in a guy who actually knows how to drive awd cars (steve millen) and completely confirmed the Gt-r’s performance. It “lost” to the lambo lp560 and ACR in aggregate across 4 different circuits, by less than 0.3% in times to the lambo, and 0.15% to the ACR. The porche gt2 was 0.5% behind the gt-r. However, the ACR had a suspension engineer on hand to readjust the viper to each type of track. Make of that what you will.

    Nissan also re-tested the 2010 gt-r on the ring and bettered their previous time, so they should be waiting for an apology from porsche and their ilk.

    It’s there but don’t dare use it’ launch control. Disable the ‘$20,000 to repair tranny’ launch control, and even 0-60 is no match for the Viper. Why do these facts bother you sooooo much?

    The facts shouldn’t bother anyone. Hard launches are hell on drivetrains and AWD ones especially so. It’s not exactly a secret it should be used sparingly after the manufacturer makes you sign a statement acknowledging so.

    Most (if not all) reviewers that have been licensed racers have said ‘how balanced’ (near perfect 50/50 weight distribution) and ‘PREDICATABLE‘ the Viper is…

    Take up your beef with actual racers like Baruth who are all pretty clear about how the car works at the limit. Note the ACR is NOT the standard viper. It’s specifically a track oriented car, it’s barely street legal.

    Your statements make it pretty clear you don’t actually drive your car in anger, which make it all the more hilarious.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    From Car & Driver Lightning Lap (4.2 miles road course – VIR) – Review from Professional race car driver:

    The Viper is just the opposite. Its ease of use doesn’t come from prominent understeer (speaking about GTR) but rather from a neutral, progressive, perfectly balanced chassis enhanced by aerodynamic downforce. It’s a pussycat, which is a strange thing to say about a car with 600 horsepower. But it’s content to dance gently around the limit, letting the driver comfortably use every bit of the car’s stunning speed. Where the GT-R simply goes out and does the job, the Viper gives the driver the perfect tools to do the job manually. Its friendliness is nothing short of amazing.

    Lap Times – Notice the GTR’s time…

    http://www.caranddriver.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/original/application/29f64c2ec07fa8aef3548a5d3c4cd280.pdf

    ** Shall I post more reviews from professionals? I’ve got a few more describing the base Viper + Viper ACR in ‘basically’ the same way… Nawww, let’s just ‘agree to disagree’ so I can stop wasting my time trying to convince the unconvincable. Im thru, so the readers can decide (if there are any). Or better yet attend a Viperdays (a Viper racing series dedicated to owners) event and speak with people who really know ‘the truth’ about the Viper. Skip Barber (famous professional race driver + world famous racing school/trainer ) is one of them…. Heck, you might even see yours truly….

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Review from Professional race car driver:

    Lol, you need to stop making stuff up to defend an inanimate object. The lightning lap drivers were the Car and Driver staff (ie journalists).

    They likely were not used to driving awd cars at the limit.

    If you google around a bit, you can find steve millen’s impressions, someone who knows what he’s talking about.

    Also note that the ACR is not the standard viper. It’s basically unusable on the street.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    1.) No, you’re right about 2009. My bad. I believe in past years they did use professional racers, if memory serves. That being said, the editors who actually test drive and comment like Csaba Csere, Patrick Bedard, Tony Swan and others have a great deal of professional driving experience under their belts. I’ve watched many of them at independent events racing different cars. Some have EXTENSIVE racing experience. For example, here’s Patrick Bedard Bio: (born August 20, 1941, LaPorte City, Iowa),[1] is an American automobile racing driver and journalist. He drove for Jaguar Cars in endurance racing and driving in the Indianapolis 500 in 1983 and 1984 finishing 30th both times, the 2nd time retiring through a colossal accident where his car flipped several times. Bedard then retired from motor racing but has continued to write for Car and Driver magazine where he has been employed since March 1968. In the 70’s, Car and Driver challenged its readers to series of Showroom Stock races. In Showroon Stock Challenge lll, in 1974, Bedard drove a 1973 Chevrolet Vega GT against 31 other well driven Showroom Stocks and finished first.

    After nearly 42 years of constant employment with Car and Driver, Bedard announced he was leaving the magazine in his regular column in the August 2009 issue.

    Oh yeah, and Tony Swan ONLY drove a Nissan GTR in the One Lap of America in 2008. Only about 3,000 miles of driving across the United States and about 10 track days. I believe Nissan gave him the car to test, as it was the first in the States. I’ll let him know he shouldn’t be driving AWD cars, as he can’t handle them – LOL. Maybe I should call Nissan and let them know they made a big mistake trusting him with a car he couldn’t handle…

    Actually, I spoke with him at Beaverun Raceway during the event. He liked the car, but said “it pushes like a pig in slow corners.” He wrote a full review about the car in Car & Driver plus his experience at the OLA.

    2.) The Viper ACR is no less streetable than the base Viper. Merely has softer ‘street legal’ tires, lighter rims (option on base Viper), 2 piece rotors, some aero treatment (option on base Viper), and a adjustable suspension. Matter of fact, after talking to some owners you can make the car even ‘more’ streetable than the base Viper by adjusting the shocks. I find it funny how some people think this car is soooo different than a base Viper, or some how not streetable. They are almost identical, minus what I posted above. Everything else is the same. The driving experience is VERY similar. The ACR adds downforce at higher speeds, which is probably the biggest difference. And you can get these pieces as an option on the base Viper.

    3.) LOL!!! From all the reviews I’ve read, what’s great about the GTR is you can get in the car and drive fast. An every-person supercar, according to Nissan. A car that makes an average driver look great! If you drive it too hard, it will correct your mistakes (to a degree). And that’s cool, because that is the cars purpose. A nearly 4,000 pound techno-marvel. I find it hard to believe these ‘journalist’ would have a harder time with the GTR than the rear drive ‘uncontrollable/poorly engineered’ Viper. Doesn’t that go against everything you’re trying to say (ie – GTR = proper car with great engineering)? (ie – Viper = not controllable at the limit)? It would seem to me thru your posts a GTR would be far easier for an amateur to post quick lap times vs. the uncontrollable/poorly engineered Viper? Hmmmm… You can’t have it both ways…

    4.) ‘Inanimate object’ is only used to describe the sterile driving experience of a GTR or Toyota Camry. The Viper and a few other cars are ‘alive’ and a hoot to drive. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it. Even Jeremy Clarkson who can bash American iron, got hooked ‘off camera’. Yes, of any car he could select at his wedding, he drove off in a Viper.

    5.) I know I said I was thru in my last post, but this is too easy. If you’re going to bash a car, one you’ve never driven, I suggest you come with some hardcore facts. Heck, if you want some ‘true’ negatives just ask. No car is perfect. Yes, the A/C ‘barely’ keeps you cool in the car. Yes, the car does follow imperfections in the road (due to superwide tires. Scary at first, but get used to it.) Yes, the panel gaps are not up to Porsche standard. Yes, the interior is very basic and not up to Audi standards (although the seat are great IMHO). Yes, the side pipes/side sills do get extremely hot (I bought high flow cars which fix the problem = wallet -$400). Yes, the OEM exhaust note is average at best (correctable with Corsa = wallet -$2,000). Under hard breaking the car can dart a bit (Again, get used to it, but scary at first). 4’th and 5’th gears are too long, and not spaced properly, and 6th is an overdrive (would much prefer true 6-speed like ZR1). Heal/Toe is very hard with stock pedals (fixed = wallet -50). There you go…. Ammo you can use that would be hard to dispute, even for the most hardcore Viper diehard.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    I find it hard to believe these ‘journalist’ would have a harder time with the GTR than the rear drive ‘uncontrollable/poorly engineered’ Viper…..

    The point Agenthex (I believe) was trying to make regards the GT-R is that an experienced AWD’er like a Steve Millen, Ari Vatanen, Colin McRae (RIP), Walter Röhrl or Juha Kankkunen would extract the best GT-R time.

    Case in point;

    “it (GT-R) pushes like a pig in slow corners”

    Any AWD experience in that statement do you think?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    For example, here’s Patrick Bedard Bio: (born August 20, 1941, LaPorte City, Iowa),[1] is an American automobile racing driver and journalist.

    Why don’t you actually read that article instead of making stuff up again about who was driving in their test.

    The Viper ACR is no less streetable than the base Viper. Merely has softer ’street legal’ tires, lighter rims (option on base Viper), 2 piece rotors, some aero treatment (option on base Viper), and a adjustable suspension.

    Again, read the road and track articles. Not all reviews/opinions are created equal. Hell, millen even has good things to say about the ACR before comparing to the GT-R. The ACR comes with 80 threadwear rated tires to get its grip (and even more extreme front sways and tire size), and before you go on all about how the tires can be changed, you can put coilovers in any other car. The car comes with what it comes with.

    A nearly 4,000 pound techno-marvel. I find it hard to believe these ‘journalist’ would have a harder time with the GTR than the rear drive ‘uncontrollable/poorly engineered’ Viper.

    You should ask Baruth about how great of drivers journalists are. In general, awd cars are not driven the same way as as rwd, especially something like the GT-R which is known to be able maintain a lot of momentum in the corners through entry and exit. As described already, with a big-tire big-engine pig of a car like the viper, the brake-turn-throttle actions are more discrete and perhaps easier to figure out for the guys at car and driver. From their impressions, they probably weren’t driving at the limit of those cars anyway. For example, the “understeer” comment for the gt-r shows they were likely trying to rotate the cars on entry which does not work best with awd.

    Describing handling feel can be a bit tricky. For example, making the front end grip better (sways) can feel like less understeer simply due to less tendency to wash out fronts in normal circumstances, but leads to more understeer bias in general at the limit.

    If you’re going to bash a car, one you’ve never driven, I suggest you come with some hardcore facts.

    If you would recall, my criticism was that the car makes the wrong compromises in trying to be a hardcore racer for the streets (lol). I’m well aware that viper owners would admit to the comfort compromises of the cars, but the more difficult part is to show that compromises didn’t gain them the theoretical advantage they thought they had in performance in comparison to newer technology.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    more difficult part is to show that compromises didn’t gain them the theoretical advantage they thought they had in performance in comparison to newer technology.

    It’s not theoretical, it’s fact. The ACR smokes everything at the track with equal drivers. This is from real world experience, not magazines. Just like the Z06 smoked everything for a year or two, many people had a hard time acknowledging this fact. The reality is, I can’t think of one production car under $400,000 that can touch the ACR on track. Nothing from Lambo, Ferrari, Porsche, Nissan, Aston, or GM. For under $100,000, I’d say that is pretty impressive. Even if you have to make a few compromises, which trust me, are far exaggerated in the mags. Although not a great daily driver, the Viper is fine on the street for nice-weather use. It’s a Cadillac compared to the Lotus Elise, which I’ve driven.

    Other than the ZR1 or 997TT AWD, none of the other uber-performance cars are daily drivers IMHO. Have you driven a GTR? It’s far from a comfortable ride, the back seats are useless, and the tires are not exactly long-life (140 treadwear if memory serves). Not to mention from speaking with Tony Swan, the highest performing tire offered with the GTR are terrifying in the rain. And he was speaking about regular street driving. Of course you could slap all weather on the car, but your performance would drop drastically. Trust me, those tires on the GTR are mini-slick ‘street legals’, just like the Viper ACR’s. I’ve seen them, touch them, etc… Gumballs. Neither are going to last 10,000 miles, if you’re lucky. I guess my point is, driving the ACR on the street is no ‘harder’ than most of the other uber-performance rides. They all make compromises… This is why the ZR1 is really in a class by itself, if you’re looking for a car that can do everything (minus snow use).

    BTW – The ACR weighs in at 3,337 pounds with a massive 8.4L motor. Near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The GTR 3,836 pounds with a 3.8L TT motor. Which was the pig again?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The ACR smokes everything at the track with equal drivers.

    Where “smokes” is define as beat by a statistically insignificant bit because it’s marginally less street legal? (remember aero kit that you have to stow away on the road)? BTW it loses to the LP560 given equal driver. In addition, it’s pretty funny you mention equal driver because the lightning lap you brought is not even same guy for all the cars.

    They all make compromises…

    Apparently some make much more than others. Accusing the Gt-r of being poorer in increment conditions is pretty funny if you’re going to compare it to anything else.


    Even if you have to make a few compromises, which trust me, are far exaggerated in the mags.

    I’ve been in the GT-R and the standard Viper. That makes for a pretty easy decision which is better in normal use.

    As I’ve said from the beginning, if the the viper is your thing, whatever, but it’s a seriously compromised street car for the practically no benefit on the track. There is no reason for it (prolly why it barely sells), because if you just want dumb raucous power, the hopped up pony cars do it for less.

    Buying a street car for track use is kind of idiotic anyway, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    I can’t think of one production car under $400,000 that can touch the ACR on track.

    I can, I gave it to you before, the Donkervoort D8 GT, but it’s from Euro-snob land so I guess that doesn’t count in your book.

    The ACR weighs in at 3,337 pounds with a massive 8.4L motor. Near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The GTR 3,836 pounds with a 3.8L TT motor.

    …and the point being that you’d think that would add up to an enormous advantage, but it doesn’t. Many of the cars mentioned here, including the GT-R are fractions of a % behind the ACR and ahead of the “regular” Vipers, including at your “one track answers all questions” circuit of The ‘Ring.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The truth about fast cars is that tune for street and track use are often opposing.

    The GT-R (and its rally siblings) are special in the sense that awd, esp w/ active diffs, tends towards solving a lot of problems with the compromises like tire size, over/understeer bias, etc.

    Therefore, if you really want the crazy fast street machine because you enjoy time in the local prison or morgue, they are the ones to go for. That they do fine on a track is an extra bonus. The fact that the fastest of these in stock trim can equal a specially track tuned vehicle (eg. twice the spring stiffness of standard; non-street-legal aero) on home ground is pretty damn incredible.

    For obscenely stupid fun, you can even take it out on your favorite pretend special stage and make like Colin McRae, and I don’t mean talk with marbles in your mouth.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    1.) If you think the GTR is only ‘fractions’ slower than an ACR on track, I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you…. You’ve been drinking the Nissan cool-aid, bigtime. Oh yeah, what were those non-Nissan driven ‘Ring times again? Hmmm… No ones been able to come close to Nissan’s time, have they? As for the LP560, regardless of what ‘one’ magazine (that is notoriously bias towards American cars) says, they are not even close.

    2.) Also notice how the ACR was 6 seconds faster than a Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Per lap!!! Hmmm… What’s the excuse for that car? It’s not AWD? It’s even got those simple paddle shifter + auto heal/toe downshift those non-skilled ‘journalist’ love. Oh, shucks, must have been different drivers.

    3.) Donkervoort D8 GT??? LOL LOL LOL… Please spare me the 90,000 Euro, Caterham/Lotus 7 wanna-be, 1,400 pound kit car that could NEVER pass any type of real crash testing. Why don’t you bring up the Radical SR8 while your at it? Oh, never mind, I forgot…

    4.) Dodge never intended the Viper to sell more than 2000 units a year. The facility could not even handle that kind of volume. They are hand built at the Conner Assembly plant. No other car is built in this plant. It IS and always WAS a truly limited production car.

    5.) The entire aero kit IS street legal, minus the small front splitter extention (as you know). Two minutes and eight bolts and it’s off. I highly doubt this would affect ‘street’ performance. And I have yet to hear of one ACR owner that’s actually taken it off, as they know policeman/inspection stations have no clue. But anyway, it’s really irrelevant on the street anyway… But let’s look at what is relevant on the street. The GTR’s launch control. But wait, sign off first. Only a $20,000 dollar repair if you dare. Without using the ‘you better not use’ launch control, its 0-60 and 1/4 mile times drop to that of a base Corvette.

    In closing, I dig the GTR (except the LC BS) and Lambo. Great cars, with negatives like any other car. Now the 90G’s Euro Donkeybutt kit car, that’s another story. I could see a case being made for any of these cars (minus the Donkeybutt). It all depends on what the owner wants. But here’s what I know that you guys seem to deny. The ACR will run circles around either on the track. Not even close. Seconds per lap. Seen it first hand, more than once… As more and more test are done on these cars, this will become painfully apparent. Better hold on to that Road & Track issue. The ACR is a FANTASTIC BULLET PROOF track car that will not cost you a fortune to maintain. Tires, inexpensive brake pads, and inexpensive rotors (inexpensive compared to others) is all you need for years and years of weekend track use. It can easily and ‘safely’ be used on the street in decent weather conditions. For someone who likes to do track days on the weekend, doesn’t want to spend a fortune on maintanence, demands a bulletproof car that can take abuse, and likes to ‘street drive’ a few times a week (or cruise a bit), the ACR is an EXCELLENT choice.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    1.) If you think the GTR is only ‘fractions’ slower than an ACR on track, I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you…. You’ve been drinking the Nissan cool-aid, bigtime. Oh yeah, what were those non-Nissan driven ‘Ring times again? Hmmm… No ones been able to come close to Nissan’s time, have they? As for the LP560, regardless of what ‘one’ magazine (that is notoriously bias towards American cars) says, they are not even close.

    It’s a very hard track to drive arrive committed, which is why say, auto sport times are usually significantly slower than then the company official best. Now you’re going to accuse every manufacturer of cheating?

    2.) Also notice how the ACR was 6 seconds faster than a Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Per lap!!! Hmmm… What’s the excuse for that car? It’s not AWD? It’s even got those simple paddle shifter + auto heal/toe downshift those non-skilled ‘journalist’ love. Oh, shucks, must have been different drivers.

    Yes, it’s little known that lightning lap isn’t even same drivers. Not exactly complementary to their methodology now that you’ve finally found out, huh?

    3.) Donkervoort D8 GT??? LOL LOL LOL… Please spare me the 90,000 Euro, Caterham/Lotus 7 wanna-be, 1,400 pound kit car that could NEVER pass any type of real crash testing. Why don’t you bring up the Radical SR8 while your at it? Oh, never mind, I forgot…

    They’re legal in other parts of the world. Perhaps the right question from their perspective is why would anyone want a giant engine and 600hp in a road car?

    Again, why would you want to drive a track car on the street anyway? To show the ladies how hard you are?

    4.) Dodge never intended the Viper to sell more than 2000 units a year.

    Sure, because they’re never going to sell more what they do now. It’s only going down as time and tech pass it by.

    Only a $20,000 dollar repair if you dare. Without using the ‘you better not use’ launch control, its 0-60 and 1/4 mile times drop to that of a base Corvette.

    Now bragging about stoplight racing times, nice.

    The ACR will run circles around either on the track. Not even close. Seconds per lap. Seen it first hand, more than once… As more and more test are done on these cars, this will become painfully apparent.

    Tell you what, I’ve produced pro times, now your turn.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    BTW, a tip for armchair drivers: I wouldn’t brag about how hard you are to drive fast cars without any traction aid on normal roads. Anyone who’s actually done such things knows and has a good laugh at this kind of claim.

    Around real roads like the ring, it’s well known the best drivers often go in less assuming cars to embarrass the posers.

  • avatar
    BlackPrince

    a) Harley Davidsons are AWESOME, Especially the V-Rod, Rocker C, XR1200 and Nightster. Any biker who can’t appreciate them for what they are isn’t a biker imo, and i’m an insane nutter trackday refugee
    b) Vipers are awesome – they have insane visual drama and a great sound
    c) So are GTRs. But they just dont have the visual drama of Vipers but are lots more useable.

    I know this is the internets and you can’t like 2 “opposing” things but TRY ppl!

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