Viper Pit on Woodward – It Always Has to Be Snakes
I have a friend and colleague, for the purposes of this post we’ll name him Jack, that races cars and has an active social life with attractive women. It’s not likely that he’d be jealous of a decrepit grandfather like me, but indeed his envy was as green as his old Audi S5 when I recently got to tour the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant where FCA assembles the Viper.
Jack’s also about the most loyal person I know who doesn’t share some chromosomes with me (and more loyal than even some of my relatives), so if I can do him an act of kindness — or better yet, find an angle with which I can needle him — I will. After all, isn’t mockery and humiliation what friends are for? All of my friends make fun of me. Oh, yours don’t? Never mind.
Anyhow, in conjunction with Chrysler’s extensive Woodward Dream Cruise activities (which included thrill rides and drag racing out at the old Pontiac Silverdome), Fiat Chrysler hosted a Motor City Viper Owners Club meet at their corporate display in the shopping center parking lot at 13 Mile Road and Woodward — pretty much ground zero for the Dream Cruise. I was already in the neighborhood to check out Roger Penske’s Indy 500 pace car parade and by the time that was over there were some Vipers heading down Woodward. I figured I’d check out the Viper meet and hopefully get some material for a post here at TTAC and maybe even something with which I could gibe my friend.
Jack’s rather opinionated. Maybe you remember this post that passionately expresses how he’d own the previous Z06 version of the Vette but never a Corvette with an automatic transmission (or convertible top) because, to him, the slushbox Vettes say “soft old man”.
As I watched the MCVO members show up, park their cars where directed, and dismount their reptilian steeds, two things about Vipers occurred to me. The first was that it is apparently de rigueur that if you own a Viper, you must get vanity plates. The other is that it looked like the average Viper owner fit the stereotype of older, bald, tanned, gold-chain-bedecked Corvette owners better than Corvette owners themselves. I think I saw maybe two owners who looked to have a prayer of being younger than Baruth’s 43. More than a few were older than me and I remember John Kennedy getting elected.
The guy on the left was about the youngest Viper guy there (he was representing a Viper tuner), and even he has a touch of grey.
I even joked about the Corvette stereotype to one Viper driver and he agreed. “Well, at least you don’t have the gold chain,” I pointed out. That’s when he laughingly reached into the neck of his shirt to show me that he came complete with 14K.
It was pretty hot that day and I was getting some shade under an umbrella where they were taking applications for credit cards. As a gift for possibly dinging your credit rating, they were giving out metal Viper and Hellcat wall plaques. “Wait,” I thought to myself, “I know someone who really likes Vipers.”
I have more than 60 egg crates filled with automotive press kits and swag I’ve accumulated over the past 15 years, so it’s not like I really needed the wall hanging. I sent Jack a text message.
“You want this Viper wall hanging?”
“Of course I do. That’s badass”
“These Viper owners fit the Vette stereotype better than Vette owners. Seriously, driving a Viper would peg you as one of the “olds” quicker than a Corvette rag top.”
“Yeah, but I don’t care.”
Got to admire a man who will put aside his passions so he can stick to his convictions.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS
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